During the second week of our visit, Bob and I decided to have a few days staying in Brighton for a change of scenery. The Caravan Club has sites all over the country and one of it's many rules is that one cannot stay in the same place for more than 21 days so as we had planned to stay longer than that it seemed a good idea to move for a little while. The Brighton site is only 2 miles from the city centre and close to the marina in a pretty valley leading to the sea. We had this view up the hill to the east and this is how it looked one evening, lit by the setting sun after a heavy rain storm.
One of the most famous landmarks at Brighton is the Royal Pavilion, built by George IV in the early 19th century. It's a fabulous palace with an Indian style exterior and an astonishingly elaborate interior in the Chinese style. We visited for the first time despite having lived within 25 miles of it all the time we were living in England. I was able to sit in the music room to draw the chandelier on the left as there were chairs around the walls so visitors could soak up the atmosphere. The banqueting room chandelier on the right was copied from a postcard as it wasn't possible to stop to draw as we trouped through with our mouths open in amazement at the opulence.
We spent a long time looking through all the rooms of this amazing place and afterwards I made this sketch from one of the postcards I bought as it wasn't possible to take photos of the interior.
While we in Brighton we revisited some of our favourite haunts, particularly the lanes and the North Laines with their unusual individual shops. We even bought brown rice, wholemeal bread and herbal tea from Infinity foods which we used to go to 40 years ago when it first opened as one of the early health food stores.
After returning to Alderstead Heath and spending a few more days with Mum, my sister-in-law Janet had some time off work and invited me to spend a day together. We decided to visit a National Trust property called Ightham Mote, about an hour's drive away in the heart of the countryside.
I had been here many time as a rep for a stationery company while it was being renovated but never seen the interior until now.
We were lucky enough to arrive in time for the fascinating garden tour where we were shown the history of the garden throughout it's 700 year history, with fish ponds made by damming a stream, a chestnut tree as old as the house and gardens kept as they were from the different owners of the house through the centuries. This really brought the house alive for us and we were particularly interested to hear that the gardeners were even allowing Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam to thrive as they had been planted in the Victorian era and were typical at that time!
Once again there just wasn't time to stop and complete drawings on the spot, I copied this from the guide book, the tree at the top I started while on the garden tour and finished later, and the Clary sage I picked in the herb garden while we strolled after our tour of the tower. In all Janet and spent over 4 hours here, having lunch and soaking up the wonderful atmosphere of this beautiful old building which had been a family home right up until the 1980s when the last owner died and left it to the National Trust.
And finally today, a sketch of my little sister playing her guitar for me while our husbands watched the rugby in our camper car. She is a talented player and I was enjoying the music until the lights suddenly went out, her husband John had left their electric cable behind when they came away for the weekend in their camper, thinking they wouldn't need it!