Monday, 29 July 2013

It's such a perfect day

Feeling inspired by Robert MacFarlane’s book The Old Ways , which I had finished reading the night before, I set out on foot on Saturday morning towards the great metropolis that is Eastbourne for an art exhibition. I was accompanied on my wanders by the poetry of A F Harrold - Cats Are Better Than Fish - and, once the traffic got too loud for spoken word, Rebecca Pronsky’s Only Daughter album. I love Harrold’s over-the-top use of rhyme in his poems. The Plankton Party is a fun example.

Under a little time pressure because Dave was cycling to meet me near the Art, I took a ‘short cut’ through Ocklynge Cemetery when non-stop traffic prevented me crossing the road. It’s a beautiful place, serene and calming and I like that some areas are neatly kept whereas others are wildlife havens  - all tall meadow grasses and flowers. The route change turned out to be a mistake though as the top pedestrian gate to the cemetery was open and the map showed exits, but, depressingly par for the course, the lower gate was securely padlocked with no obvious alternate way out. Back up the hill again then!

Dave and I liked Barry Wilson’s paintings at the Birley Centre although he was even less impressed by Dependent Rational Creatures at the Towner than I had been previously! We had a delicious lunch at the Barley Sugar café. Dave had garlic mushrooms on toast with delicate flakes of cheese and I had a salami, Emmental and gherkin sandwich. The bread was particularly good, very fresh and with a good flavour made by the Lighthouse Bakery?

On to +Waterstones where we struggled to find a second book to take advantage of their buy-one-get-one-half-price deal. Then Dave decided to set off home as the sky was darkening and the forecast rain looked imminent. It pretty much was. I just got to the +Oxfam GB bookshop door as the deluge began. Dave was still mid-journey and got drenched. Oops! Five book purchases later – always an interesting selection at Oxfam if you don’t mind your books second-hand – and rain was still pouring so I legged it across Grove Road to Beanzz.

I hadn’t been in since the cafe changed hands a short while ago, so was pleased that it still has the same welcoming atmosphere and high standard of coffee. For once, I managed to resist their cake – I had only recently had lunch. Beanzz is hosting an exhibition of John Hesse photography as well as showing four large Gillian Toft paintings. I hadn’t knowingly seen Hesse’s work before so need to do a bit of research for a +Theatrical Eastbourne post. It was sweet that when another customer popped out for a smoke, the staff rushed up with an umbrella for her to borrow. I finished my coffee as the rain ceased so I walked back home too. I loved seeing water vapour rising from walls and roads making them appear to smoulder. Plus I spotted happy sunflowers peeping over a fence which made me smile.

The evening saw us driving through yet more rain to The Palmeira in Hove (actually) for a sold-out Tom Russell gig. He is an amazing songwriter whose lyrics are about very different subjects to the norm. Several songs have a strong Mexican-Spanish vibe to them and the album we recently downloaded has great brass instrumentation. Sadly Tom had not brought the brass band with him but was instead accompanied by talented guitarist Thad Beckman. We hadn’t seen either musician before. Their harmonies were gorgeous and Tom has great stage presence – “Bastardos!” It’s a little bit of a trek, but I’ve Liked the Palmeira’s Facebook page. They specialise in Americana music and we will no doubt want to know about other musicians playing there.

So, in one day, I can tally eight miles walked, three art exhibitions visited, five books queued (plus borrows from Dave), one poet appreciated, one album marched to, one gig danced through, two cafes and a pub patronised, and one soggy boyfriend (now dried out!) consoled.

Love my life!

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