Drawing on what we learnt from our ‘gap year’, we returned to Rye to continue our exploration of a new-to-us part of the country.
We stayed at the same lovely b and b where we stayed last year, and visited some of the same places: Dungeness, and a number of the extraordinary number of medieval churches on Romney Marsh. We wouldn’t have known about them, had not Tomas (one of the B and B hosts) told us about them; and what a delight they are.
There was a very definite church theme to our whole visit. Not only did we go to most of the Romney Marsh churches, we also visited St Mary’s in Rye (a very large church, with a lovely window by Burne-Jones), and revisited St Thomas’ church in Winchelsea, with its striking series of windows by Dr Strachan.
On the way home, to complete the theme, the icing on the cake was a stop at All Saints Church, Tudely – a small, simple church with the most beautiful series of 12 windows by Marc Chagall. And to complete the loop, there is a Rye connection: the windows were commissioned by the parents of a young woman who drowned in an accident in the sea at Rye. If you have the chance to visit, I can’t recommend it enough. Allow time to enjoy looking at the windows – its a treat to be able to see them at such close quarters – and then sit a while drinking in the colours. I promise you will feel better when you leave than when you arrived.
While we were away I was crocheting another cot blanket/knee rug (to sell for the farm). As I sat on Dungeness Beach, it struck me that the colours of the blanket are also the colours of the beach. I will call it the Dungeness Blanket.
Back at home I revisited my book about Derek Jarman’s garden at Dungeness – the inspiration that took us there in the first place, and that continues to draw us back. Do what you can with what you have – his garden seems to be a true expression of that ethos.