Sunday, April 15, 2007
London and Sussex Trip
It was nice to get away for a few days from noise and grime of Cheshire into the relative tranquility and peace of London for two days and then a further two days in the hurly-burly of Sussex.
We stayed with our old chums Jane & Graham in Waterloo first and saw a few old friends who live nearby. We walked miles along the South Bank and saw some interesting exhibitions at the Imperila Wart Museum ( Animals At War ) and in the re-furbished MOMI ( curios models and video by American artist duo whose names escape me for the moment ) and then to the Robots in the bowels of County Hall. This was very disappointing ( only three robots and one wasnt working!) but Archie had great fun on the Segways they had going round a track. Hazel and I had a go too and found it very difficult to control - standing on just two wheels and using your balance to push the strange vehicle forward. Archie made it look very easy and he was whizzing round like he'd rode on them all his life! At 4 grand a throw I dont think he'll be getting one for Xmas!
We also went to see Keith & Dini and the amazing automata dragon Keith had built out of old junk in his back garden. He decided, wisely, not to make the dragon breath flames and burn the kiddies hair but enstall a bubble blowing machine inside the beast's mouth which was less hazardous in the long run.
The next day we walked to the Tate Modern via the Jerwood Gallery ( which was re-hanging - missing out on all those punters on holiday at Easter!) and saw the huge tube-like slides in the Turbine Hall. Archie refused to queue up for 30 minutes to go on one. I can't say that I blame him. It was so crowded we had to leave after a while and find some cooling ice creams at Gabriels Wharf. The South Bank was heaving being Easter and the weather was very sunny and warm.
Also went into the Mediateque place at MOMI where you can sit and watch hours of archive films from the BFI with free headphones. A great resource for lovers of old films. They had a loads to choose from but we watched one about a fly balancing a pebble on his feet and one Public Information Film about how to make a "Good Cup Of Tea" which was very funny.
The next day we go the train to Sussex ( hellish journey!) to see our old chums Roger & Jilly. Roger met us at the station and drove us back to their lovely cottage where we had an al fresco lunch in the garden surrounded by peasants and other feathered friends. Later we went over to see the castle at Bodiam which is run by the National Truss. The moat was filled with huge fish which seemed to be eating all the ducklings! Only one poor little thing left and I didn't reckong on his chances of survival. We three went up onto the battlements to make a feature film whilst Roger and Jilly chastised some children below who were being unkind to some moorhens. Archie managed to capture all this on film and we shall be adding our own soundtrack at a future date no doubt!
The following day we had a lovely ride out to Rye and looked round a fantastic collection of old penny slot machines above the Tourist Office. Roger and Jilly didnt even know it was there. Strangely enough the man inside who was taking video film of the exhibits was the chap who runs the Penny Slot Arcade near us in Cheshire! He's making a DVD of all the penny slot and vintage arcade machines in England and publishing it by the end of the year.
Then up the cobbly streets to the tea shop and all the charity and junk shops etc. Had a great time rummaging in all the the old tat - just like home! Found some nice old french rubber stamps in one place and shared them with Roger and Jilly. Most are animals but some curious images of pipes and snails amongst them.
Then to Dungeness to see the old rotting fishing sheds and weird juxtapositions of Nuclear Power Station and bungalows and holiday chalets! Derek Jarman's old cottage was nearby and we had a look at his famous garden filled with sculpture made from the flotsam and jetsam of the beach. We made our own pile of junk from some rusty bits and took photos of it. Sat and listened to the sea and watched the fishermen winch their boat up onto the beach. We had a cup of tea and slice of cake in the cafe nearby , next to the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch light railway and watched a train as it pulled out of the tiny station . It was all very odd- like being in a Fellini film!
More Trains in the evening when we played a daft board game that Roger & Jilly enjoy where you spend hours joining up track with tiny plastic carriages. Three hours later Jilly writes all the numbers down in a special "Numbers" book and Oh what a surprise - I got the least numbers and lost! Doh!
Anyway, we had a great time and sadly had to get back so Archie could do his homework. The trains were a pain coming home too but not as bad as going. No wonder everyone travels by car!