Sussex Sojourn Part One: Charleston Farmhouse, Then Dinner With Sidney & Joan Pizan At The Jetty, 27 July 2017

The Charleston Farmhouse – That Well-Known Den Of Iniquity

Janie and I arranged a short trip to Sussex, primarily to visit cousin Sidney & Joan Pizan, but cunningly co-ordinated with Janie’s desire to see the Charleston Farmhouse and my desire to see Middlesex’s only game at Sussex-by-the-sea this season; a Friday evening T20 fixture.

The cricket and some other interesting touring will be written up in Part Two of this piece.

All the photographs for the trip, including those shown in the blog pieces and many more besides, can be found on the Flickr album here.

So, we stopped off at Charleston, a short detour on the way to Brighton. The sun shone that afternoon, which was good news for the visit as the place comprises beautiful gardens as well as the fascinating house.

The house was the home of Vanessa Bell and her entourage and has been restored/preserved in its Bloomsbury artists form. In the modern parlance, the whole house is a kind of installation art work, with many of the walls, furnishings, artefacts etc. having been decorated by one of the many artists who lived or hung out at the house over the years.

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the house, but Janie did buy a book with lots of pictures (as well as words), so if you ask her nicely she can show you pictures of the interiors.

We took lots of pictures in the lovely gardens – see Flickr album. A few of the best of them follow.

Daisy Resplendent In Charleston Garden
Ged Looking Eeyoreishly At Thistles In Charleston Garden
For Reasons Unexplained, Daisy Poses As A Documentary Narrator
Vanessa Bell Didn’t Bath Much, But She Did Jump In This Pond Occasionally

After Charleston, we checked in to the Hotel Una again, as we did on our last visit to Brighton in 2016

…and indeed the time before in 2015.

Then on to see Sidney and Joan at The Jetty Restaurant at The Brighton Harbour Hotel.

Left To Right: Janie, Joan, Sidney, Ian

It is always a pleasure to see Sidney and Joan. The Jetty seemed to be a good choice of restaurant for this gathering; interesting dishes aplenty but not overly fussy food. Sparing Sidney the cooking job (which was his original plan) allowed the four of us to concentrate on catching up on each other’s news and chatting about all sorts.

Considering That Janie Was In Strident Chat Mode, Sidney And I Look Surprisingly Serene

Sidney and Joan cabbed it back to Hove while Janie and I chose to walk off a bit of our dinner. It had been a really pleasant evening, which had passed all too quickly.

Talking Ethics At University of Sussex, Followed By Dinner With Sidney & Joan Pizan at The Salt Room, 28 October 2016

After my slightly nerve-wracking House of Lords experience yesterday, another busy day.

An early visit to the gym, then back to the flat to allow in Steve the window cleaner while I did my month end paperwork, cleared my e-mails and stuff. Then to the house to pick up Janie and off in the direction of Brighton.

A relatively event-free journey until we get very close to the Hotel Una indeed, when we hit gridlock on the sea front road. We can hear sirens and nothing moves for ages. In the end, we turn off the main strip and I drop Janie near the hotel, where she can walk one minute round the corner to Regency Square, while I can turn around and drive back out of town to the University to be sure I’m there on time.

The seminar is a rather academic-oriented affair organised by the Department of Philosophy, although I am one of three guest speakers from the world of commerce. We try to cover rather a lot of ethical ground in one afternoon, perhaps a little over-ambitious, but no-one seems to mind, especially once the wine and nibbles arrive.

I abstain from the wine but (having skipped lunch for a small snack before departure from London) indulge a little in the nibbles and some juice before making my excuses and heading back to the hotel.

Rather a rapid turn-around at the hotel, which made the luxury of the place seem somewhat surplus at that hour, but then we went round the corner to the Salt Room, where Sidney and Joan had already made a start on a bottle of very jolly Sauvignon Blanc.

It was lovely to see them both. Sidney had very kindly brought me as a gift a couple of his very beautiful old books on London. We chatted about all sorts of things, tried not to get too grumpy about politics and enjoyed a very good meal.

We didn’t have starters (except Joan who made a main course of two starters). Sidney and I both had a delicious skate wing dish, while Janie had partridge, which she described as lovely. Some good sides and some more of that Sauvignon Blanc. The maître d’ brought us some fish croquette balls to share while we waited for our mains, which was a nice touch. Our French waitress was delightful too.

Sidney and Joan shared a desert, as did Daisy and I. I also ordered some amazing chocolate pebbles which I remembered from the previous visit.

After dinner, we strolled round to the Hotel Una and showed Sidney and Joan the bar, the breakfast rooms and our bedroom. I demonstrated my ukulele skills; pleasent enough but rather a come down from our family’s profound talent with the violin, Sidney and I both felt.

The plan had been to get Sidney and Joan a cab from the hotel, but with a second wind they decided to stroll to the bus stop (we walked with them) as they live but one stop down the road.

I then buried my nose in the books Sidney had given me, until Janie reminded me how tired I must be.

A really nice evening, it was.

A Short Trip To Brighton (& Hove Actually), Primarily To See Sidney & Joan Pizan, 20 to 22 September 2015

Neither Janie nor I had been to Brighton for as long as we could remember. Meanwhile Sidney and Joan had recently moved down there (Hove actually) so we arranged a long weekend/short trip to the south coast.

I booked us in a lovely looking boutique hotel, the Hotel Una, much praised on Trip Advisor, including (as is now that site’s Facebook-linked wont) a rave review from Mike Jones, my old geography teacher from Alleyn’s. He should know, I thought, so I messaged him:

There is a first time for everything and for the first time on Trip Advisor I was shown a “review by a friend” for Hotel Una in Brighton. Janie and I are going for a couple of days in September, amongst other things to visit a cousin of mine who has recently retired to Hove. Anyway, no pressure but I immediately booked the place on the back of your rave review, so it had better be good! Very best wishes – Ian

Mike demurred, sort-of:

Well Ian we liked it very much but who knows 15 months later!!

But you were my geography teacher, Mike. If I can’t rely on your advice when I travel off to far-flung parts of the world, who can I reply on?

In fact, Janie and I loved the place – just our sort of boutique hotel, tastefully done with friendly staff, so we are returning there again late October 2016.

Janie and I set off after tennis on Sunday and spent what was left of that day strolling around Brighton, in particular The Lanes, then taking some dinner at The Salt Room.  We’ll return there next time to treat Sidney and Joan.

On Monday, we completed some shopping in the morning, then went to Sidney and Joan’s place for lunch and the afternoon. Sidney cooked a delicious lunch and we whiled away the afternoon chatting and looking at photographs.

Janie and I took a late afternoon/early evening stroll but didn’t feel very hungry and couldn’t find anywhere suitably “snack like”, so we returned to the Una where the wine list was good and they rustled up some snack food for us.

A very pleasant short trip.