Thursday--and believe me, by this time I was dismayed at how fast my week was flying by--was another day out of London for me, this time South into a part of England I've visited before, just not these particular towns.
I started with a quick train journey to Shenfield (into Essex!) to meet my friend Daryl, who lives out that way. He had kindly offered to drive me to Sussex, so I could avoid the confusion and expense of a lot of train travel. Besides, I'd been rushing around for a few days now, and I was getting tired (and I need[ed] something to rely on).* Sitting in a car for a bit and letting someone else show me where to go sounded heavenly.
Before I knew it, we were driving into Battle, hometown of three-quarters of Keane: Tim, Tom, and Richard.
We parked in a public lot and walked through up the High Street towards Battle Abbey, which was just shy of being open for the day.
|I love these old timbered buildings.|
|Looking back towards the High Street from the Abbey.|
|The "proof that I was there" picture.|
|Old stone walls.|
We had just decided to turn around as we approached an intersection, when I let out a delighted squeal.
"Oh!! Powdermill Lane!!"
I'm going back to a time when we owned this town
Down Powdermill Lane and the battle grounds
We were friends and lovers and clueless clowns.
Powdermill Lane is mentioned in the song Sovereign Light Cafe, which will get a lot of play in this post.
|Cali was excited, too.|
After grabbing the required sign picture, we turned around and headed back towards the Abbey. As we came up a small hill, I let out another squeal.
I wheel my bike off the train
Up the North Trade Road
And look for you in Marley Lane...
So another sign picture was needed.
|Turns out the view beyond the sign was quite lovely, too.|
We wandered back past St. Mary's Church.
The Abbey was open by now, so we went in to have a look around.
Battle Abbey gains its historical importance from the Battle of Hastings in October, 1066--it was this battle that changed the course of English history forever, when William II of Normandy crossed into England to lay claim to the throne of the Anglo-Saxon King Harold. William--known in history books as William the Conqueror--won, and founded a monastery near the sight of the battle.
According to the Abbey's web site, the battle site is the least altered of many in England, and you can see it and read about the Battle of Hastings from the Abbey grounds.
Little remains of the original Norman monastery, but subsequent buildings put there have survived. During my visit I didn't pay a ton of attention to what I was seeing, choosing instead to just play amateur photographer and enjoy the scenery (if not the lighting, sigh).
|Part of an original crypt.|
|It always makes me stop and think when I see flowers blooming at the sight|
of a great battle. Nature takes it all back from us.
|The Abbey was, at one time, used as a country house, so|
there are ice houses and such that can be explored.
|The Walled Garden|
|See? Nature takes it back.|
The battlefield itself is quiet and serene--much like the beaches of Normandy are today. Yet, a lot of bloodshed happened here.
|Isn't the English countryside beautiful?|
|The view from a storage cellar.|
|As we came around back towards the gate house, I snapped a few shots over|
the wall of the High Street.
Near the gift shop, I saw a wonderful door, and stopped to take a picture. Then a thought came to me. See, when this was built, the average height of most people was shorter than today. This door was quite small.
In fact, it was quite Meg-sized. (I'm 5'2", for reference, and yes, this is my current Facebook profile picture, because of course it is.)
We spent a few minutes poking around the gift shop, and then walked back down the High Street towards Daryl's car. I had hemmed and hawed about going to Bexhill, but when I found out it's only a 15-20 minute drive from Battle, I decided I had to visit. She says she has no time...
|Battle really is lovely, with well-maintained historic buildings with a nice variety|
of local shops, restaurants, and pubs.
|In the car, Daryl got out the Jaffa Cakes, because he|
remembered me once mentioning that I love, love, LOVE them.
|Taken from the car as we headed towards Bexhill.|
So it was off towards Bexhill, which I think deserves it's own post.
*Yes, these are Keane lyrics, for the uninitiated.