Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Boss, The BBQ, The Bexhill camping trip, plus 1066 and all that jazz

So, it's been a ridiculously long time since my last post. Blogger's Block? Not a bit of it, just too crazy with work/trying to get work.

During this constant battle for employment, some time was however allocated for blog-worthiness.

Blog-worthy thing 1) Bruce Springsteen concert at the Emirates Stadium (read: Arsenal stadium, sworn enemies of my team Chelsea) in London.

He was fantastic, taking requests from the crowd (Caddy Shack was my favourite) and Eric was a big fan of the drummer, Max Weinberg

and sax player Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band.

Blog-worthy thing 2) Eric's Dad visited us from Montreal. It was a great week during which we got to give him the tour of London as we see it.

He also left us with a fantastic present, a gas barbeque! Meet Bernie, reader!

Eric's been cooking up anything at all on it ever since, including the best burger in London

(don't believe the hype, Gourmet Burger Kitchen got nothing on Eric!)

Blog-worthy thing 3) We took a camping overnight break, to Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea.

This is Hastings. Contrary to popular belief, not actually the venue of the Battle of Hastings, but more on that later.

I love these really tall sheds, actually for storing fishing nets in.

It was the warmest day of the year too. Result!

The campsite we went to was quiet, and excellent. We were the youngest there by at least 30 years, and it was obviously off-season, check out our choice of pitch. We chose a quiet and shady corner-spot, right next to

this sty (love stys. They're so Country) only to be advised by one of our only 2 neighbours AFTER we'd pitched the tent that we were on a public footpath, where people walk their dogs.

Did we move? Nope. We had holidaying to do.

Here's Eric, looking badass a second before he broke the pump for the matress. It took us a while after that.

This is the new addition to our blueness, the coolbox.

Here's our other blueness.

So to Bexhill-on-Sea, so chosen because it has my namesake within it.

This is proper English seaside all the way. You can just see in this picture the little white huts where modest bathers can change if they rent them for the day, or families can set up and take care of their flock of kids/dogs/elderly relatives.

I'm sure there are wonderful things about this place I should go into, like the De la Warr Pavilion but at this point, all we wanted was the beach and our coolbox of cider and Smirnoff Ices.

Now that's British summer.

We swam, then we sat on our blue chairs until I got burnt, the beginning of which are quite visible here.

Back at the campsite, Eric and I annoyed our 2 neighbours by cooking on a cheap throwaway barbeque and producing too much smoke.

But the burgers were so good. Venison is the way to go.

To walk off our double-double burger meal, we took aforementioned path, hopped over aforementioned sty and continued into fields and woods of which we had no knowledge, eventually giving ourselves the heebie-jeebies and coming back just as it started to rain.

Next day was our two-tag outing with the ever-vying-for-our-attention British Heritage and National Trust sites.

Blog-worth thing 4) Battle.

1066, William the Conqueror vs. Harald the English bloke actually happened here, not in Hastings.

This is the quaint town of Battle, home of the Battle Boutique, Battle Beauty salon, Battle Butchers and the award-winning Battle Bangers within.

The Battle Cathedral, which William had put on the site after he'd won it,a penance for all the lives lost and taking 24 years to complete is the entrance to the English Heritage visitor centre, although some parts have fallen into disrepair.

The English Heritage LOVE audio tours, and the Battle visitor centre is no exception. But here it works exceptionally well, as you get to walk around the whole of the battlefield itself, all the while imagining the events while the commentary continues.

At the start, they have a museum which really sets the scene for the battle.
This is Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King. I was happy to see him, because he is credited as being the inspiration for Ballet. He had fantastic calves and used to love parading around showing them off, the copying of which became my profession. Nice.
Also in the museum was this map of England c.1066. If WE thought that's how we looked, I take my hat off to the French for finding us for a fight!
Next, it's on to the Battlefield. It all took place on hill, with the English standing up here and waiting at the top to be attacked (clever idea)
and the French down here, having to run up to start the battle.
It's a great tour, and goes in to detail to great to recite here. I'd recommend you do it, reader!
The tour continues into the cathedral, as well, which contained at one point great reading rooms like these.
Blog-worthy thing 5) Bodiam Castle. A National Trust one this. No audio guide, but plenty of info and a beautiful place.
The basic story is, it's a late medieval building. A well-respected knight applied to the King to 'fortify his house', got permission and instead bought an estate with a lake on, and put a castle in it. It is typical of a Medieval Castle in design, but actually was never attacked, or in danger of being.
Here, you can see where Knight and King relate in the Feudal System of government.
That's not to say it didn't have all the defensive features, like these Murder Holes, where hot oil could be poured down on any intruder.
It was really a dwelling for the knight and his wife.
The towers, seen here from the inside are the guest rooms, all of which contained a toilet, not in use today as they literally just opened out into large holes in the ground and had to be cleaned out by servants.
Only there aren't any servants today, and people walk below.
Sadly, soon after the completion of his castle, the knight went away to fight battles again, and died after a few years,never really appreciating it.
Blog-worthy thing 6) I GOT A JOB! Finally, after my break away, I got a job on the UK Tour of Cabaret. Check for the tour dates.


Denise said...

Great to walk in your own place and appreciate and share! Our setting couldn't be more different, rurul and remote.

Ex-Shammickite said...

Beckster, Beckster... a STY is a nasty that you get in your eye, the thing you camped next to is a STILE!!!
(shakes head in disbelief!)
Nice to see you were enjoying the seaside on a British summer day, hope you didn't get too pink!
I didn't like to look of those Murder Holes. People were so inconsiderate of others back then, weren't they?