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 lodge...you start Googling, you find The Ram at Firle..and nothing else will do. So thats where we stayed for two nights.
 Bliss. 
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.

Un-be-lievable!

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)
           Envy!

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.
Bracing!
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.
WOW!
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.
Stunning.
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.



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