"Where would you like to go today?" enquired Tigger as we went down the front path to the street.
"Um…" I replied, not being good at decisions, especially open-ended ones, especially this early in the morning and especially before breakfast.
"How about Rye, R-Y-E," proposed Tigger, spelling it out for the slow-witted.
“Um… yes,” I said enthusiastically.
So we ran for a 73 bendybus, then walked through a crowded Kings Cross station to St Pancras. There Tigger queued for tickets while I made my way upstairs to the Camden Food Co cafe to buy breakfast.
Carrying two cartons of hot porridge and two of coffee precariously in two paper bags, I picked my way through the disembarking crowds to find Tigger downstairs who by now had the train tickets.
We then went upstairs again, but a different upstairs, the one that leads to the high-speed (HS1) trains for Kent and Sussex. These trains, with their elegant interior in blue and grey livery cut journey times compared with the ordinary services – just what you want on a day trip.
It’s another beautiful sunny day, bright and warm. I hope it is the same down south. We cannot go all the way on this train but have to change at Ashford, that once proud "Ashford International" that lost out to Ebbsfleet when Eurostar concentrated its services there.
In the rush to get started, I didn’t have time to think about what we were doing and where we were going. Now, aboard the train, as it whooshes through the sunlit countryside, I can relax and start looking forward to our day out.
We changed at Ashford and at last reached the neat little station at Rye.
We have visited Rye several times before and we enjoy this pretty little town. We now went for a walk around it, revisiting some of our favourite corners.
This decorative little building, dating from 1869, was the waterworks (note the pump on the front). It became a public toilet but this is now closed. What will its next incarnation be?
Dating from 1329, this is Rye’s only surviving town gate. Traffic still runs through the gateway.
This beetle was also out taking a walk, on a window sill, so we stopped to take a photo.
For lunch, we went to The Apothecary, a coffee bar that also serves crêpes, both savoury an sweet.
Conduit Hill is one of Rye’s picturesque streets that are cobbled with rounded beach pebbles. Such a surface is probably hard wearing (though noisy to drive on) but it is quite uncomfortable to walk on. It reminded me of walking on Brighton beach when I was a kid.
Standing in a corner of the churchyard, this water tower for domestic water supply, was probably completed in 1735. It would have been considered a very advanced and welcome facility in its time.
This gallant gentleman was collecting for the RAF Association and he courteously consented to having his photo taken.
Having “done” Rye fairly thoroughly, we decided to go for a bus ride. We chose a bus more or less at random. It would go through Fairlight and we decided we would get out there and have a look. I think we missed the moment when the bus went through the village, so Tigger stopped the bus and we got out.
We found ourselves on the road pictured above, unsure where we were. The bus driver had told us that the next bus back was in about an hour and that it would stop if we waved in down on a straight section of road. Apart from that, we were on our own.
We walked in the direction from which we thought the bus had come and were glad to come upon the village sign indicating that we had reached Fairlight. Then we found The Cove, a pub where we could have a drink and wait for the bus. Happily, there was a bus stop right outside the door.
The bus came as predicted and carried us back to Rye. There we caught the train to Ashford and thence to St Pancras.
The Rye Arts Festival is taking place at the moment and that causes the town to be busier and more crowded than usual. It is a pretty town with many picturesque buildings which are seen at their best on a sunny day in the clear Sussex air. It is well worth a visit and we shall return again soon.