We were making our way to Dungeness to Travel back to Hythe on the train. However as one of us was an archaeologist who knew a great deal about the medieval churches of the area we kept stopping to have a look at various churches of interest. One of our stops was a Rye where we spent a couple of hours. Rye is not actually in Kent but in Sussex. However it sits on a hill overlooking the marshes most of which were drained and used to graze sheep. I was intrigued by the huge gates across the road.
It was quite steep and my achilles tendon was throbbing, but I struggled up the hill. I was rewarded when halfway up the hill I found a viewing platform where it was possible to see over the town.
The whole experience was transformed for me when I read on the plaque that EM Benson had based his Mapp and Lucia novels in Rye and called it Tilling. I found these Novels after hearing them spoken of on a radio 4 programme and once I had got over my irritation with the snobbery, I was hooked. They are a bit like PG Woodhouse rather of that era.
It was a bit like finding middle earth was a real place. I looked for the house that is central to the books that has a room overlooking the high street (Mallards) and found just such a house as described. Home to an artist according the the blue plaque
I found a small tea shop similar to the one mentioned ( Diva’s tea shop) half timbered cramped and absolutely charming. We had the most fantastic cake and tea there. I saw the station where they would catch the train to London.
I saw the church and the town hall ( Lucia was mayor Tilling just as EM Benson was mayor of Rye).
It was like playing That new Pokemon game but so much better. It lifted my whole day. We didn’t get to visit the castle as there wasn’t time.
I also found the house where the novelist Radclyffe Hall Lived . She wrote a book called the Well of Loneliness it was the first English novel to describe lesbianism.
So this was my literary day. I confess it was one of the best days of our trip.
Kind regards Your mother