Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday morning

 Another scorcher.

Yesterday - I got above myself and decided to cycle to Eastbourne. I left the house at 8.45 and to my delight managed the journey in exactly 1 hour and 10 mins. It's a lovely ride, mostly along the beach - made better by the spectacular weather.

I really like Eastbourne - much to the mockery of many people I know. Whilst Hastings may have a reputation as the Dalston of the South Coast (I'm still not convinced by the 'Shoredich on Sea' moniker) - Eastbourne is much like the bywaters of Kensington and Chelsea. Posher, cleaner, brighter and more moneyed. Large Victorian and Georgian houses, much better maintained, better gardens - public and otherwise, little roads of mews houses that would have been for staff and horses etc - and interestingly - the main seafront road is smaller and narrower - so the buildings are very close to the sea - and it's not the main road, unlike Hastings which can fit 4 lanes in between the beach and the hotels. Hastings has a shabby charm, Eastbourne has a bit of polish. It's also bigger, but seems calmer. It even has an area called 'Little Chelsea'. I realised later that the key difference is the windows - in Hastings, everyone has cheap, replacement PUV windows on the old houses, in Eastbourne - they have made more of an attempt to match the original sash or gone for secondary glazing.

Exactly 1 hour, 10 mins - Pier to Pier
I locked my bike up in the centre of town, which was already packed with people as there seemed to be a pagan festival on, drummers, marchers and a sinister walking Wicker man. First stop was the 'Museum of the Shop' - which is pretty fantastic but really badly run, very amateur with a terrible website. They don't take cards - cash only, but there are a few gems in the small shop. If you get the chance and are interested in graphics, packaging or the social history of Britain - have a
go. It's worth the effort. £6 per ticket might sound pricey, but it's a great place for research.

The Wicker Man, for some reason.
Terrible mannequin in a brilliant museum
One of the many room sets at the Museum of the Shop
After that - The Towner - a wonderful new museum (but with a rubbish shop) and the Peggy Angus show. I really loved it, because she was essentially a designer rather than an artist - which coloured everything she did, including her palette. Really great space for the show - lovely views from the windows, including Queens tennis club and the south down through the windows of the cafe. They also had a show of domestic design including work by Ravillious, Wedgewood and Ascher - that included the most fantastic giant printed fabric panel by Henry Moore.

Giant Henry Moore Wall panel for Ascher Textiles

Shortly after that - a  trip to Camilla's vintage bookshop and a spend of about £9 for a bag of great retro graphics. I bumped into one of my old students and his wife who were visiting their families from Leicester where the wife is a doctor - and had a good catch up. He was eventually one of the best students I ever had and won a number of international awards - despite the first encounter I had with him that started with him telling me 'I can't do this'

One of my finds at camilla's - fantastic typeface that I shall be investigating further
After that - a walk around Eastbourne and then a more adventurous ride home around Sussex, including Cooden ( a dreary hell hole of trimmed lawns, million pound houses and perfect shrubbery - the very atmosphere of genteel retirement sucking the air out of my lungs) - an accidental trip about 10 miles in the wrong direction on an A road at high speed to Hooe, not recommended - I passed a dead fox and momentarily saw it's features merge with my own, and then Bexhill - a posh little seaside town with a great art gallery but an odd population of people waiting to die and people waiting to live. That whole town is about waiting - as I arrived I could see that the streets were lined with thousands of people and no traffic - apparently there was a motorcycle event of some scale expected - but after about 20 mins waiting, during which time I bought a homeless man a can of pop and ate a mars bar - nothing was happening so I gave up. Leaving thousands of people with beers in their hands. Waiting.

People in Bexhill, waiting... presumably for death.

I arrived back in Hastings at about 3.30pm, after about 70 miles of cycling - feeling pretty good. Hastings is now on full carnival week mode and the town and beaches were packed with people, many in some strange costume. Street music, drinking (as usual ) and stalls in the streets. I saw someone I knew and congratulated them on their 4 pieces in the Sussex Open at the Towner I'd seen earlier - and bought an old 1960's galvanised metal bin from a junk shop. I think Hastings has become a town for everyone in London who wants to find somewhere to live where they don't feel the need to apologise for their alcoholism.

By the time I got home I was exhausted - not from all the cycling, it was the last 10 mins trying to cycle up my hill. It kills me every time. I had a quiet night at home - could have gone to the cinema but I was too tired - and my face is a bit red from all the sun. Need to clean the house today - lots of work on tomorrow, might go for another bike ride later - feeling surprisingly fit.

A friend went to see Gillian Anderson in 'Streetcar Named Desire' last night - I had planned to go myself - I love this play - but apparently it wasn't great, although she's an actress herself so I can never believe a word she says.

No comments:

Post a Comment