Travel Letter Index

Letter to Doreen from Battle and Rye

After we left you we went to the big Marks and Spencer at Hedge End and bought some more items we had talked about with you. Lunch was a sandwich in a car park and then we went on to Battle Abbey in Battle. The Abbey was set up by William the Conqueror to atone for the slaughter on the battlefield. We took the audio tour along the terrace rather than wander over the battlefield itself which was very muddy. There was strong sunlight, a slight chill and a mist developing over the pasture where sheep were moving purposefully. It was quite atmospheric.

And so this is the scene of the 1066 battle that changed the course of British history. Peaceful isn’t it?



terrace overlooking battlefield

We had a stroll round the town and then set off for Rye. We arrived at
The Mermaid Inn at 3.45 unloaded the car, which took ages, and then set off for a look at the town before the light went completely.

The hotel was very ‘old worldy’, it boasts of having been refurbished in 1420 which makes it about the same age as ‘The Angel’ we stayed at in Lavenham. Our room was large, had a huge four poster bed and a steep uphill climb from the bed to the bathroom. This is the view from our window.


view from room


We had booked a table in the restaurant and were very pleased to find that there was only one other couple in there. We had a superb meal which we think reflected the local nature of this fishing town. We both started with a crab and prawn tian and then for a main course Beryl had monkfish in a mussel sauce and I had salmon and lobster mousse wrapped in spinach and then wrapped in plaice fillets in a sauce of cherry tomatoes and tiny broad beans. Beryl also checked with the waiter that there would be fish for breakfast. We had an excellent night’s sleep and breakfast was the next challenge. Beryl had haddock and a perfectly poached egg and I had eggs Benedict with ham and asparagus.

We had a good look round the town: lots of cobbled streets, courtyards and half timbered buildings. These are just a few of the photographs I took.

water tower street


This last one shows a view of the hotel we stayed in.

mermaid rear entrance

After checking out we went to look at a place that is regarded as one of the dullest and most tedious landscapes in Britain. We found that Dungeness is just that. We didn’t stop for long and then just continued our journey to Felixstowe arriving just after three in the afternoon just in time to meet the girls coming home from school.

The following day we had a very pleasant interlude by going deep into the countryside about twenty miles from Felixstowe to have lunch with a cousin of Beryl’s. They live in a really beautiful cottage in Sudbourne near the Redlesham Forest. We had a substantial home made or locally produced lunch and the chance to swap family history stories as the cousin has done some research into his mother’s side of the family. With the help we are receiving from other relatives we should be able to make good progress in tracing Beryl’s family when we finally get round to it later in the winter.

Next day it was an early start back to Derby. We had been away over a week!