Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Heatwave Holiday

Hello! We are back from a wonderful break in East Sussex which happened to fall during one of the hottest weeks in the UK for some years. We are all tanned and I keep finding sand in the bottom of bags and shoes - I feel like we've been abroad. It's lovely. We stayed in a self catering house in Camber Sands (nice beach, not so sure about the rest of it) which was about five minutes from the beach. Our days fell into a gentle rhythm of exploring the local area in the mornings before it got too hot, going home for lunch, then heading over to the beach in the afternoon for a couple of hours.

Sometimes we'd go back to the beach again in the evening when it was cool for a walk, although by the time we'd staggered over the dunes there and back you didn't feel very cool.

Probably my favourite part of the holiday was our visit to Dungeness.

It's a huge shingled beach (Britain's only desert!) which is home to a nuclear power station, and is often called "bleak", but it has a strange, otherworldly charm and and sparse beauty. I was quite taken with it. A long road runs for a couple of miles from the village to the lighthouses, with the sea on one side and shingle on the other, and along this road are lots of single storey wooden houses - some almost shacks - with power cables running from one to the next. 

A few are holiday homes but many are lived in year round, and a community of artists has evolved over the years. 

One of the most well known properties here is Prospect Cottage, formerly home to film maker Derek Jarman.

It's certainly a place to go if you are seeking solitude. Scattered across the huge beach are boats - some in use, others abandoned - and fishing detritus, shipping containers and all manner of strange and fascinating things. 

Rye was also a treat, the prettiest town absolutely packed with history. 

We really enjoyed wandering around the cobbled streets and exploring the lovely independent shops, stopping for iced coffee. It was so lovely we went twice and I'd happily go again tomorrow.

This photo below is Rye Pottery where we made a few purchases - I will show you another time.

I think Bella and Angus enjoyed exploring these new places as much as the adults. Angus had found a free map of Rye in the holiday let we were staying in and was very keen to tell us where to go.

They both enjoyed popping into shops, spending their holiday money on sticks of rock and books and other random bits and bobs, and so long as there were frequent opportunities for ice creams or milkshakes it was all good. 

Rye is one of those places where around every corner there is something interesting or quirky or unusual to catch your eye. This window was a particular delight.

The night before we went to Hastings the unbearably humid, hot weather led to some thunderstorms during the night.

I tried to get a photo of the storm but this was the best I could do from the balcony. The storm didn't really clear much of the humidity and the weather in Hastings was still hazy and oppressive with grey skies and rain out to sea.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Hastings (a friend of ours grew up there and rarely had anything positive to say about the place) but the Old Town part felt vibrant and was buzzing with people sitting outside cafes or wandering around the streets. We bought Cornish pasties for lunch and ate them by the car near the beach, surrounded by sea gulls. 

They are a bit of a pest in this area; noisy, very bold and aggressive in groups. But so long as you don't feed them (or leave your lunch out while you go for a swim!) you're ok. 

It was a really wonderful, relaxing week away. I took lots of craft projects with me and didn't do much of anything as it was too hot, but I read a lot and relaxed and feel rested. I think that the children have had a good holiday and it was especially lovely to watch them swimming in the sea every day, something we rarely get the weather to do in the UK. Now that we're home, the weather has been quite wet and changeable (just when I want to do lots of washing!) but the rain is welcome and the garden already looks greener. We had a bit of work done on the house while we were away and I will show you photos soon, along with the holiday souvenirs we brought home with us. But now we have two weeks of holiday left before school and work start up again and I am determined to make the most of them, starting with some blackberry picking today.


  1. What wonderful photos! Happy you had a nice time and got some down time.

  2. I have always wanted to visit Dungeness and see Derek Jarman's little house, it was featured many many years ago in Country Living magazine and it sparked my interest. Rye looks lovely too :-)

  3. Your pictures are fantastic! thanks for a beautiful post. I live in Maine in the USA and our coast looks completely different which is so interesting to me. Glad your family had such a good time making new memories.

  4. Glad you had such a lovely week, Rye is wonderful isn't it. I've only been there once but I remember it really clearly. We spent last week in the Lake District and had the most massive storm ever, it was amazing. A bit too hot to climb up mountains on some of the days, but lovely for swimming. We were lucky with the right week I think. CJ xx

  5. What a wonderful week this looks and sounds! I have seen pictures of Dungeness on someone else's blog before and can relate quite well to what you say about its otherworldly beauty. Having a soft spot for (half) abandoned places, it definitely looks like I would enjoy exploring there.
    Rye is so picturesque! No wonder you would go there all the time if you could.
    The first picture of Angus running on the beach looks like it was painted by Edward Hopper, although he rarely had the people in his paintings move much. It is more the general mood and colours that remind me of him.

  6. What a wonderful staycation. I feel as if I've been on holiday myself looking at your photos and reading about your holiday doings. The south coast of England always feels so exotic to me from up here in the North.

  7. It looks like a wonderful time! Dungeness is amazing. I love it SO much. Our godchildren lived there when they were small and so we had lots of day trips and weekend visits from London. It's such a nice part of the world. Strangely I was a bridesmaid there back in August 2003 during the hottest weather ever. I had a gold dress and felt like I was wrapped in tin foil and melting!

    I love the photos of Bella and Angus. They look like great holiday companions and not the usual impression you get of sulky teens on hols with their parents! x

  8. That photo of Angus chasing the gulls is amazing! x

  9. Your photos are fabulous! They will help you remember these moments in the future. Time flies and family vacation memories are treasures!

  10. Fantastic pictures! What camera do you have? I love it

  11. I love your photos. I swear Angus is about to take to the air with the gulls in that first one, lol.

  12. Fabulous photos! I've just stumbled across your blog via Pinterest whilst looking for inspiration for Wendy House interiors as I'm making curtains, bunting and cushions etc for my niece's 4th birthday and I read through what you'd done in 2013! I thought it was pointless leaving a comment there after all this time so I thought I'd see if you still blogged - and you do. Well done, I gave up on my dressmaking/sewing blog a few years ago,(I found it quicker to Instagram my makes) but I do have almost identical photos of Derek Jarman's house at Dungeness, and Rye when I stayed there probably 6 or 7 years ago. I think one of your commenters called you Gillian - I'm Gill with a G too. Small world x


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