Wow, we were certainly blessed with the perfect weather for the first Bank Holiday of May. What a difference the sunshine makes, everyone smiling, shredding the winter layers and genuinally glad to be outside after what seems like a never ending Winter.
Mr M and I decided to stay local and become tourists on our doorstep and I’m glad to say we were not disappointed. We had music events to attend, a bicycle ride with friends on the marsh and the Pagan tradition that is ‘Jack in the green’.
The weekend kicked off with tickets for the soulful Avery Sunshine in St.Marys’ Church, Rye. What started out as the annual Rye Jazz festival at the end of July, has now blossomed into a spin off of micro events throughout the year, great for the town bringing in tourists but for us locals too. The beautiful setting and acoustics in the church, made for a fabulous evening and by the end of the night we were literally dancing in the pews! Can’t wait for it to hit the town again in August and already bagged my Corinne Bailey Rae tickets at the Del La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill.
Sunday dawned warm and sunny and we headed out early to meet friends in Rye for a 40 mile bike ride. Unlucky for some, thirteen of us, headed out onto the quiet Romney Marsh lanes heading towards a favourite cafe not far from Ashford. We cycled through wooded glades bursting with heavily scented bluebells and wild garlic. Climbed the odd hill, which revealed stunning views and had the pleasure of descending a lovely long hill only to climb again to reach our cafe. After out pitstop and topped up with our caffeine fix that comes from good coffee, we headed home. Everyone had a fab time and plans were made for the next, a few of us naughty ones, stopped for a final drink in ‘The Globe‘, Rye and enjoyed sipping ice cold shandy or local cider in the sunshine.
Bank Holiday Monday dawned with the promise of even hotter temperatures still, ‘I know, I was pinching myself, saying this is still the UK!’ We packed essential supplies, water, crisps (purely for the life saving salt content, in the heat), cereal bar (healthy obviously) and don’t faint, more sun lotion, so we could reapply!!
We had checked out the route of the parade and nabbed ourselves a
good spot, half way up a hill, knowing they wouldn’t whizz by, so ample time to take good photos. We were not disappointed, we heard them before we saw them, the drums echoing around us and then the colour and vigour that this part of Sussex is so good at providing. As the procession passed by us, in there swathes of green and leaf, morris dancers with bells and ribbon and amazing costumes from the key players, we were carried away with the excitement and followed the parade to where they assembled at the top of West Hill, Hastings. With the sea in the background and the rooftops of the town below, everyone waited for the slaying of ‘Jack’, a symbolic gesture whereby they release the spirit of summer for another year.
We ate spicy chicken & wild rice from one of the many vendors selling authentic food. Mr. M bought me a pretty band of flowers for the head which many were wearing in keeping with the tradition.
What a weekend? tiring but so lovely to have it all on our doorstep and looking forward to the next long weekend when we can be tourists again and discover what our county of Sussex has to offer, any suggestions welcome.