UKDay4: Literary Rye

As you have already seen, our penguin-filled hotel in Rye was absolutely charming. I could have easily plopped down on the bed and taken a nice long nap. But the charm of Rye beckoned. We were lucky enough to be in town on one of the two days that Lamb House–the home of Henry James, E.F. Benson, and other literary lions (and lionesses)–was open. There isn’t a whole lot to see at Lamb House but with our National Trust membership, we didn’t have to pay so I wasn’t too disappointed.

I had been to Rye once before in 1992 when I was working in London. The town was even more charming then I remembered. Rye is almost coastal, and one can glimpse the sea across the estuary and marshes. The oldest part of town centers on the 1100 year old church and the compactness of the area, the cobbled streets, the way small lanes meet up with other small lanes, and the remnants of an ancient castle really make the place feel like a wonderful film set. It is a little hard to explain the feeling this gives one, but it really allowed me to step back in time. I loved seeing it again.

For those who don’t know, the great Mapp and Lucia by E.F. Benson was set in Rye (aka the fictional town of Tilling). If you haven’t seen the 1980s TV adaptation of that book you really must. It was filmed in Rye to great effect and had an amazing cast that included Prunella Scales, Geraldine McEwan, and Nigel Hawthorne. Seriously, anyone who is interested in my blog will love this series.

One of the great things about staying in the heart of an old place like this is relishing your insider status, and the quiet, that descends when the tour buses leave for the day. After dinner we had one final stroll through the quiet streets around the church. It was just lovely.

I found the juxtaposition of this marriage equality sign on this ancient building pretty touching.
Marriage equality seemed like an alien concept 10 years ago let alone 400 years ago.
Lamb House. Home of Henry James and E.F. Benson. Just not at the same time.
A James manuscript.
That’s Lamb House right at the end of that little lane.
Remember when Georgie in Mapp and Lucia paints the crooked chimney but is worried that people might think
he wasn’t very skilled and couldn’t do a straight chimney, so he exaggerates the crookedness of it?
Well, this has to be the chimney in question. How cool that no one has fixed it.
Me pretending this is my car in front of the house that was used as Mrs. Mapp’s (and Lucia’s rental)
in the aforementioned wonderful TV adaptation of Mapp and Lucia.
This is me in 2012.
This is me twenty years ago in 1992.
This again is the Mapp/Lucia house this time in 2012.
And here it is again in 1992.
Me in 2012.
Me in 1992

7 thoughts on “UKDay4: Literary Rye

  1. Jessica June 8, 2012 / 4:47 am

    haha you look so nineties in those old photoes.

    I only live an hour and a half away from Rye and its one of those places I keep meaning to visit but you know, never seem to get the time. I really want to now!


  2. StuckInABook June 8, 2012 / 5:53 am

    Two thoughts – firstly WHY – no, HOW – have I not visited Rye? Must. Do. So.

    Secondly – how have you barely aged in 20 years?


  3. Tiffany Norris June 8, 2012 / 10:02 am

    Beautiful pictures! This looks like an amazing trip. I love the before-and-after, and I agree with Simon–you look virtually the same. :)


  4. Ti June 8, 2012 / 11:40 am

    I love the before and now pics. You look the same!


  5. Jessica June 8, 2012 / 4:30 pm

    So when can I move to Rye?

    Love the before and now pictures. So interesting to see what changes, and what doesn't, in the span of 20 years.


  6. Thomas at My Porch June 9, 2012 / 9:50 am

    Jessica: Nice “mom” jeans huh?

    Simon: Well, I have gotten fatter.

    Tiffany: And it was total coincidence that it was the 20th anniversary of my first trip there.

    Ti: See above, re: fat.

    Jessica: I know, in that third picture, you can see the tree to the left in the background no obscures the building and chimney that were visible in 1992.

    Margaret: The crazy thing I didn't plan to do the photos, I actually remembered my poses without any sort of aid. Although, you will notice on the Thomas house photo I am facing the wrong way.


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