Piers asked me 3 questions while planning our first date.
History or Drink?
Sight or Sound?
Loud or Quiet?
All of you know me well enough to know my answers!
So the first stop was at Bodiam Castle. It was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight, in order to defend the surrounding area from French invasion. Most of the castle interior was destroyed by parliamentary forces during the English Civil War and has been uninhabited since then.
I found the following online:
Sussex can boast of many a lordly castle, and in its day Bodiam must have been very magnificent. Even in its decay and ruin it is one of the most beautiful in England. It combined the palace of the feudal lord and the fortress of a knight.
The founder, Sir John Dalyngrudge, was a soldier in the wars of Edward III, and spent most of his best years in France, where he had learned the art of making his house comfortable as well as secure. He acquired licence to fortify his castle in 1385 “for resistance against our enemies.” There was need of strong walls, as the French often at that period ravaged the coast of Sussex, burning towns and manor-houses. Clark, the great authority on castles, says that “Bodiam is a complete and typical castle of the end of the fourteenth century, laid out entirely on a new site, and constructed after one design and at one period. It but seldom happens that a great fortress is wholly original, of one, and that a known, date, and so completely free from alterations or additions.”
It was a spectacular setting for a first date.
But Piers wasn’t done with the romantic settings! We then went to Rye, a town so charming that my guide book devotes 2 pages to it! Many of you (the ones that sent me their addresses!) got the history of Rye on the back of a postcard. Basically, it was sacked by the French in the late 1300s and hasn’t changed much since it was rebuilt in the early 15th Century. It was an important port until the harbour began to silt up and it is now 2 miles from the English Channel. The church is 900 years old and claims to have the oldest working clock in the country. I was perturbed by selling of postcards, rosaries, and other paraphernalia in the sanctuary. I kept thinking of Jesus clearing the temple…
The streets are cobbled with large pebbles/small boulders. It was a rather amazing feat, but I survived the day without damaging my pride with a spectacular fall. I know you’re all amazed, but no one is more amazed than me! The Mermaid Inn is Rye’s largest medieval building. In the 150s it was teh headquarters of notorious and bloodthirsty smugglers called the Hawkhurst gang. I had my first Fish & Chips meal in England at a pub in Rye. It was amazing. The fish was so fresh and the company was out of this world!
Next on Piers’s tour was Hastings. Yes, that Hastings. The one where the famous battle happened. Well, actually the battle was were a village named Battle is, but you all know what I mean! We walked along the beach (which is not at all sandy, but made up of stones the size of the ones paving the streets in Rye) and talked. Turns out, as different as we are, we have lots in common.
Piers set the romance bar pretty high on our first date. Amazingly, the rest of the dates have been just as fantastic; even the past weekend that we spent blowing our noses and coughing! Our next adventure is a week in Scotland.
If you want to see more pictures go to the album on Facebook. Can’t figure out how to embed a link, but here’s it is