Wednesday, 10 April 2013

I'm on the cusp of calamity...

My love affair with Lewes is heading for the Crown court.

In any relationship both sides should work at it, in order
to keep it vibrant and fresh.
 I'd be the first to admit I have been tardy in not being there for it
when perhaps it needed me most.  Well to be exact... my money most.
I'm ashamed to say the last time I was there the foxgloves were at their
most foxy and exuberant.  That gives you a clue.

When I first discovered Lewes I marvelled at the off-the-wall,
wacky and weird shops where even the funeral directors offered
an out of body experience.
Floating around the town on an odd thermal, I would sniff the air.
Art by any other name.
Mums dressed in Birkenstocks, legs with brightly coloured droopy stockings towing their sprogs in chariot-like contraptions on the back of their bicycles.
Steiner school lunch boxes stuffed with toasted tofu and knitted
nut and edamame bean hummus with a side of sprouted alfalfa.

Dads to die for, dressed in corduroy, chunky manly sweaters 
and crimson desert boots.

Life back then was so much simpler.
I would retire to Bill's for a little light luncheon,
sitting on the pavement watching the world go by.
Glass of chilled Chilean, salad served in a cup.
Nobody but nobody looked normal, all were a 
feast for the eyes.

I would then wander up the hill, in and out of all the shops that seemed to 
have a busy coffee shop included within.
 I would buy interesting bits, that before my trip I really had no idea 
I just couldn't live without.
Buying odd clothes that swept the floor
 leaving a trail of broken hearts in my wake. (fib)
One mid summers day, I well remember going into the bowels of an antique shop and seeing a holly decorated bag with brightly coloured balls issuing forth.
I had to have it: the bloke who had just thought to take the Christmas decorations down
was bemused my my request.
'How much?'
'A fiver!'
Happy I clutched them to my chest, careful not to crush them.
No old balls these; they just had the patina of a year or two of neglect which I loved.
Each Christmas they come out, I carefully open the bag and gently spill them out to settle where they will.
A fiver... cheap...
for the memories alone, 
my friend was speechless,
how to explain...
I didn't even try.

With empties clanking in the boot I set off.
'Don't take the bottles to the bottle bank' I airily said to Ted.
"I'll take them back next time, you get money back on the bottles!'
First port of call...

'Same again please!'
As I put the carrier bag on on the counter.

5p small bottles,
8p large...
just like the old days I thought as I stepped out of the shop.

I trod the tried and tested route,
nothing seemed the same;
the magic was gone.

I came home with just the bottles of beer 
and some stickers.

I was irritated by the artistry of
artfully arranged sparse windows.

Has Lewes changed or was it me?


  1. Remember Clothkits? I used to love that shop, they did huge bags of offcuts and reject kits, I used to buy several bags and actually be able to make some of the kits for a fraction of the price.
    I live just along the way from Lewes in Brighton so its easy for me to get there.
    I must agree with you though, it has changed and isn't half as interesting as it used to be.
    Perhaps tha fact that you can't find anywhere to park has driven some of the smaller unusual shops away.
    Great Post

  2. Lucky you Briony to live in Brighton... although over supper Ted has just said 'You came home feeling the same way about Brighton!' The old Clothkits shop is having a make-over with paper obscuring the windows. I well remember buying a rag doll for Hope and making myself a top with the printed instruction off-cuts. Cut along the dotted line proudly displayed on my left t*t.


  3. Things are never the same when you go back Linda. I really enjoyed your post, hilarious quips, you always make me smile. Happy memories just the same. Jayne x

  4. As I've said before, comedians the world over would love an audience of you Jayne... you'd laugh to see a pudden crawl!


  5. Oh, dear. We haven't looked at Lewes for years & it was on my list for our next Sussex trip.
    Not any more!
    I must admit Hastings does it for me these days.