49 members attended various parts of the weekend which was an excellent turnout for what was a very enjoyable weekend in glorious weather.
A group of us began the weekend on Friday afternoon by meeting at Winchelsea Museum, close to the church of St Thomas’. We were then taken on a guided tour of the town which included a house that was built approximately 200 years ago and underneath was one of the famous Winchelsea medieval cellars that the present owners had discovered, gradually cleared out and restored this amazing space.
We also stopped outside Chelsea Cottage where Malcolm Saville had lived, complete with blue plaque (Malcolm Saville, Children’s Author 1901-1982 lived here)! Then, onto a nearby field and along to what is left (unfortunately not much at all) of the old windmill where Jon lay on the floor and listened to the conversation between Slinky and Ballinger’s niece Valerie. The 1987 gale had completely destroyed the windmill so the only remains are a couple of brick structures and a solitary millstone.
We met up again in the evening for a sumptuous feast at the River Haven Hotel
On Saturday morning we walked from The River Haven Hotel to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve and across to Camber Castle where we were met by Dr Barry Yates, the Reserve Manager who gave us an excellent tour
A boat trip had been planned for the afternoon and we had been split into three parties for what we expected to be a sedate trip around the harbour which, for some, turned out to be an ‘acksherley’ rather exciting ride on a Rib (a rigid inflatable boat) with 2 x 150 hp engines – rather powerful then! After this exciting excursion, we all headed back to our respective accommodations for some much needed warm showers before meeting up for another lovely evening meal at the River Haven Hotel.
On Sunday we split into three groups for walks around Rye based on Malcolm Saville’s book ‘Portrait of Rye’ led by Clive, Sally & Kim
Rye is an absolutely fascinating little town and we saw many interesting properties on our walk; too many to mention here, but, as written by Malcolm Saville, “you can go and see it for yourself”.
The three groups then met up at The Hope Anchor Hotel, the location of The Gay Dolphin, for a delightful lunch. Many of us had pre-lunch drinks outside as it was such a lovely sunny day and we could look over the wall that Jon and Penny used to sit on and look out towards the sea, imagining the children doing the same. Now where did that secret passage go?