Friday 9 September 2011

Sussex Journal...Long.

No sewing in this post unless you count this:

On the way to our Sussex destination we passed through Emsworth for reasons to be explained later, and found the HQ of Jennie Raiment. I'd heard her speak and it was nice to see where she works.

We were on a work related trip for my husband, and stayed in 'another world.' The village of Firle near Lewes. You know how it is. You think you'll stay in a cheapo B&B , say a Premier Inn or Travel start Googling, you find The Ram at Firle..and nothing else will do. So thats where we stayed for two nights.
If you like dogs. 
I do.
Firle has a village church with a John Piper Window
 Very Lovely.
And an older stained glass window... pretty and delicate.
 The Ribbons had prayers on them. The sign said 'Please put a donation in the box. Lots of love, The Vicar'
The vicar is apparently, famous. He presents a TV show called 'Round the world in 80 Faiths'. He was in the bar at the Ram and so was Rory MacGrath who is making a TV programme nearby. 
I mention him because he was in my blog some time ago taking part in Cumberland Wrestling at Ambleside Sports.
The village of Firle is indeed another world. It's the essence of Englishness 
'The pastures of the wilderness run over and the hills are girded with joy. The meadows are clothed with sheep and thick with corn that they shall laugh and sing.'
The church wall in Firle.

The forge..female blacksmith making garden ornaments.

 Even the window cleaner is vintage.
So here is what became our itinerary.
Wednesday Morning: a trip to Lewes. I wanted to go into Bills Cafe, I had seen it on other blogs. We went inside, it was an Aladdins cave of food, but sadly the breakfast at The Ram was so substantial I didn't need a thing for a long time.

 At 1pm we went to Berwick Church.

NOW PAY ATTENTION AND LISTEN TO THIS. Sorry to shout but this is amazing.

Walking up the lane to Berwick church I passed a family. As I passed, the mother said 'Oh I like your brooch'. I said I'd made it. Then as I moved on I decided to turn back and give her a card. She looked at it and said ' Oh my goodness! I know you...Jackie? I used to have a blog'. She said it was called  'Echoes of a dream', and I answered 'Simmy?" ..we had been in touch a lot until she stopped blogging over a year ago.


We jabbered and hugged and jabbered some more, her children and husband were delightful. They invited me to the pub. My husband was in the church by now talking to the vicar so we  tootled off and spent about an hour together. It was her wedding anniversary and they were all having a day out together before the children went back to school.

Now what do you make of that coincidence? I still can't decide.

So..back to Berwick Church: decorated by members of the Bloomsbury Group. I heard a very good description today. 'They lived in squares and loved in triangles.'

Very apt. Heres the pulpit decorated by Vanessa Bell, and added to by the local flower arrangers who had gathered all their material from gardens and hedges. There were rose hips and old man's beard , golden rod and eryngium, hawthorn berries and apples; nothing bought, all grown locally. Perfect for the atmosphere of the church.

The colours of the fruit and flowers were so well matched to the paintings of which there were many.
Two of the lovely roundels seen here of the four seasons,
Christ in Majesty over the arch.
Whatever you think of the technical or artistic skill of the residents of Charleston Farmhouse, or their morality, you can't deny that the church is a wonderful spectacular and special place.

So, talking of Charleston farmhouse, that's where we went next for a guided tour.
Again, so special. Slightly tatty and badly done, quite naive and OTT but delightful in its confidence.
No photographs allowed inside so I'll show the beautiful garden.

 What are these below? (Thank you bloggers:Zinnias)

Just lovely, an artists' garden. So delightful.
Well as if that wasn't enough we tootled off in search of the Long Man of Wilmington.
Here he is.
Then back the long way round via Beachy head, Seaford and Eastbourne.
Back to The Ram for a stupendous meal.

Thursday: another visit to Berwick church, noticing different things this time. 
A simple honest memorial.
 A stand of hollyhocks
 and the altar frontal worked by one of the Charleston group. (the mother of one of them.)

Then an arranged meeting at The Royal Pavilion, Brighton.
I didn't really want to go there but am so pleased that I did. Its completely amzaing. No photographs allowed, but anyhow they wouldn't capture the opulent Chinoiserie . It was so interesting being shown round and we were taken up into the parts where the public can't go.

Next stop: The museum and the 'Radical Bloomsbury' exhibition. Such a great collection showing the best of the art of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell. Enlightening and inspiring.

Then we spent a good half hour looking for an artwork by Stig Evans, who had told us he made a mosaic by the railway station. We didn't find it. When we finally got back to the car we had exceeded the 4 hours for £15 and gone up to £25. Don't think I could afford to live in Brighton!

Now back to Emsworth and Chichester: the reason we went that way was to see the Fida Kahlo exhibition, but on our way down we were too late, so went on our way home and it was well worth it. 
The works of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in a few rooms at Pallant House Gallery.
Especially this one. In reality absolutely beautiful.
And I would love to visit Chichester again.

Well, I ate too much, I saw a lot, I wrote too much.
But I don't want to forget it.
Thats what blogs are for.


Iz said...

How lovely to read about Sussex and be reminded of all the fabulous places that are on my doorstep. And you stayed just at the foot of Firle Beacon, one of our favourite whippet walks!

Kathleen said...

Hi Jackie, The "What is this?" is hydrangeas, at least that's what it looks like. Love the planter torso. I have some hydrangeas in my front yard on either side of the front door. They make lovely dried flowers once spent. Love your colorful pictures. Looks like some inspiration there with those gorgeous stained glass windows. Glad to see you back. I always look for your posts they are so enjoyable.

Ro Bruhn said...

What a lovely trip, such gorgeous houses and gardens. The flowers look like zinnias, they come in a range ofcolours. These are the standard size and they also have a dwarf variety.

Sheeprustler said...

What gorgeous photos and what a lovely account of what sounds like a very special time away. I especially love the quote about the Charleston people - the squares and triangles - very funny!!!

jeanette, mistress of longears said...

Fantastic trip and the best part was meeting and recognizing a cyber friend! The internet has truly enriched all of our lives!

hens teeth said...

Cor blimey Jackie, what an inspirational few days. I want to go now and see for myself.
So glad you had such a special time and as for the bloggy friend co-incidence, WOW.

Yvette said...

nice walk with you...thanks

ArtPropelled said...

I really enjoy these trips with you. How amazing that you should bump into a blogging friend!Thanks for all the interesting snippets Jackie.

Sandies' Patch said...

What a fabulous trip!
Fancy meeting a blogger...the world gets smaller everyday!
Enjoy your weekend,

Sandie xx

menopausalmusing said...

Oh Jackie, what a glorious post from start to finish. So glad you put all this on your blog. Not only has it captured it for you, but we have been able to feast our eyes too. I am with the previous person who suggested Zinnias for the flowers.

My favourite pictures? The stitchery by the mother of one of the Bloomsbury group, the stunning Church Window (brilliant photo!) and the photo showing the window and view from Brighton Pavilion.

Heather said...

Thankyou for sharing your fabulous trip with us Jackie. Firle sounds utterly delightful and the Piper window is glorious. I love the Bloomsbury paintings and floral decorations, especially round the pulpit. The flowers you mentioned in the garden are zinnias and I have some in my garden grown from seed.
Wonderful treat to meet your bloggy friend.
My father and I walked up the Long Man of Wilmington and back along the top to Eastbourne over 60 years ago!

Simmy said...

As i said in my email to you I am still stunned that we bumped into each other. Especially as you live 'up North' and were only down for a few days and we only went to the church on a whim after leaving Lewes.

Life works in mysterious ways as they say. Anyway, meeting you made my day as I love your work and to anyone reading this comment - Jackie is just as nice in person as she is in her blog!

(I can still feel my shock when you gave me your Moo card and I thought OMG I know you!! What a wonderful moment it was ......)


Jill said...

How happy I am to comment after a visit from Simmy who you met on your walk. How wonderful for both of you to bump into each other. What a fabulous trip you had and you have captured it with some beautiful photographs, I love that delicate window with the shells.

Jackie said...

I don't usually comment on my own blog but thank you to Ro,I am grateful for the flower ID; and Jeannette, yes I think it was the best part!
Heather, how delightful to have the memory of the walk with your father. I don't think I could do it!
('Anonymous'..blogger have filtered your spam out but as you're a robot you won't be reading this)
and Simmy..once again...WOW!

Beacee said...

What a fabulous post - and a fantastic trip. Thanks for sharing it with us. x

Marigold Jam said...

What a lovely post! I did enjoy seeing all the fabulous places you visited. I'd have loved to have met that vicar - remember seeing him on TV and thinking how delightful he was! I wonder if anyone will ever erect a little stone to my memory saying something like that? I loved it. Coincidences are amazing aren't they - my daughter who is travelling in Australia and needed to see a dentist in the outback was seen by someone who had worked for the surgery she usually goes to when living in Clapham! How's that for coincidence? Glad you met up with Simmy and that you got on so well too.

Fiona said...

Wow. What a wonderful trip.

Emma Thomsen said...

It all sounds like a completely surreal dream, but a very wonderful dream!

Rachel said...

What a great day!

Margaret Applin said...

Wow! Jackie, you inspire me to visit this beautiful area. I know there is history all around us to take part in but when I see pictures of countries like yours, they just call to me.

I didn't have a chance this week to thank you for the brooch and extra heart - they are GORGEOUS!!! Thank you!!!!

lilylovekin said...

A wonderful tour. It certainly is a small world. I love the pulpit and the painted church. You are lucky to be able to visit so much history.

Gigibird said...

You were in my neck of the woods - I wish I had known....if you ever come down here again the Pallant Gallery has the most fantastic restaurant, Field & Fork... plus next time you must visit West Dean and The Weald and Dowm Museum...oh and there is a house in Firle....well next time email mail me and I'll offer up a few secrets.


Amazing trip Jackie , told in your wonderful style! I went to Charleston years ago during a violent thunder storm which left Berwick Church literally in the dark - no power... Having read your blog I desparately want to go back there asap...

artymess said...

wow that was a great journey ...I enjoyed every minute .....I have been to Charleston ......beautiful place and the church........I am excited to read of Frida kahlo exhibition I'm going there straightaway .....I can't believe it's in my neck of the woods .....xx

Elderberry-Rob said...

What a fabulous post - I am only a short drive from Lewes myself - we used to go there quite a lot... the church at Birle is beautiful - very like the one in my home town (Horley). How surprising that you have been so near and yet so far! Betty

Sandie said...

Good evening Jackie
Funny thing is that last Tues, Wed and Thurs I was in Firle. I stayed at The Ram with my husband and dog. A perfect place. I met a really lovely lady and her husband. A v interesting couple.
I also went to see some art. The Johne Piper exibition at the Tate in Eastbourne.
regards Sandie

Sarah Anderson said...

Wow, what an amazing meeting, and a very special one! Love that stained glass window :)

Tami @ Lemon Tree Tales said...

What a lovely trip - gorgeous pictures and such sweet descriptions! It makes me wish that I could go and visit too. I'm so glad that you bumped into Simmy - I miss reading her blog.

Michala Gyetvai (Kayla coo) said...

Thank you for sharing your visits.
I admire the work of John Piper, his stained glass windows are quite breathtaking.
I saw a programme recently about the Bloomsbury group including the Charleston farm house.
I would love to visit and see first hand.
Amazing to meet blog friends, I love how art and stitch bring people together.M x

herhimnbryn said...

Oh wonderful post. We will be in Worthing next year, so I shall save your post and take a detour!

Gina said...

Lovely post Jackie and what a super trip. I love the painted pulpit and one of these days I really will get down to Charleston. Fancy bumping into Simmy too. I used to read Echoes of a Dream

Anonymous said...

What a great post - lots of lovely memories and a spooky coincidence. DH and I had a wonderful holiday in Lewes years ago, and our visit to Charleston was a real highlight.

silverpebble said...

What a fabukous trip you had. Meeting that fellow blogger was amazing - good grief!

Thanks so much for showing those Vanessa Bell paintings and that exquisite, delicate old window. What an ace post this is.

help with dissertation said...

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A time to dance said...

One word - Envy !!!!!

Greedy Nan said...


Heather Woollove said...

Oh, Jackie...more lovely travels!
Sighhh. You really make these places come to life when you write!
Thank you, thank you for the wonderful virtual mini-vacation. I loved it! XXO-

Jacky said...

thanks for taking us with you on your guided tour Jackie, love the Forge

Chrissie said...

Charleston's on my 'things to do this year' list, and now it's right near the top - thanks so much for recording this fantastic trip for us to share!

Anna said...

What an interesting post and a happy co-incidence, thankyou.

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