Friday, July 06, 2007

Camping Trip

The only photo taken during our slightly mad, and definitely very wet camping trip, near Robertsbridge, and very near Bodiam Castle, in the beautiful Rother valley. This was just before we drove back, to civilisation, eventually. the Park Farm
campsite is just a couple of large fields on a farm, very basic and the atmosphere is almost like Glastonbury but without the full on entertainment options, meaning many campfires and little parties going right into the night, "rough and ready" as one reviewer noted, haha. but it mostly suited us... On Saturday it rained more or less all day so after a long wander around the ruins of Bodiam Castle, where I spent a really long and somewhat mystical time in some gorgeous bare sheltered medieval rooms in the North West tower looking out into moat and surrounding valley (medieval state of the art security!), it was a long, long day in the pub, including some Italian card games, dinner in the smoke free restaurant, and the occasional stroll out into the mist and the rain. Fancy being stuck in a pub on the very last day smoking was still allowed! It was a nice place though and the window was open, so not toooo bad. We walked back during a dryer spell and partied into the night. Right next to us was the party from hell, teenagers, fires, lots of tents, and most of them arrived late and were gone in the morning. Some maniacs kept driving around in a car, in mad circles, clearly drunk out of their mind, so a bit scary too. We outpartied them though, haha, while it was still raining hard, and we were just about sheltered in a gazebo, with Kentish cider (from the National Trust "off licence"), wodka, Chris playing guitar (impromptu Plus "gig"), etc.

the next day was Sunday July 1st, finally the day of the smoking ban had arrived, and we went back to the pub for lunch. I was very curious how it would turn out, since the night before quite a lot of people were puffing away at the bar. But everything had changed, no ashtrays, "no smoking" sign as you come in, and, yeah!, noone smoked. A much better atmosphere, but then I am biased. In the (great) Ostrich pub right next to Robertsbridge station there were several nicotine addicts sucking on a strange white device, and i think at least one customer walked out, some teenagers were sitting in the garden to smoke, and i don't know how busy it is in there usually, but I'm confident people will get used to it. It's a lovely large and comfortable old pub with lots of atmosphere and a great garden at the back with many tropical plants (which was definitely a bit unusual), also serving Harveys, our favourite Real Ale from Lewes, but I wouldn't have spent as long as we did in there if it was smoking, and that's a simple fact! We let the hourly train go and had another pint! I have been putting my money where my mouth was and have been out quite a bit since then, going to the pub (which i usually avoided), seeing a great Isis/Boris gig at the formerly nice-venue-but-oh-too-smokey Koko on Monday and generally really loving it so far. It's been smoother than expected, though you hear people grumbling, and i really think it is such a positive change, it opens up the city for me, and clears out the air. I knew it was coming for quite some time now, but it's still unusual to me. So that was my last weekend. How was yours?

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