Sunday, 2 July 2017

a rye smile

The other night as I lay sleeping
I dreamt a light entered my heart
When I awoke, I was mistaken
Ah, but the curtains were still blown apart

Sometimes I find it unbelievable how quickly time moves on. My last post was April. April? Bloody Hell . . . that's far too long. When I retired from the day-to-day working life I really thought I'd be writing all the time. Ha!

The past few weeks have involved mostly the annual two month shift of exam marking. From the middle of May to early July every year I mark Film Studies exams, both AS and A2. As the new orders in education demand a return to a two year course at A level, I'm guessing my marking days are drawing to a close. My only gainful employment. Ah well . . .  Mind you, after being a Film Studies teacher for sixteen years has had a similar effect that teaching English Literature did to reading fiction*. Analysing the same things over and over year in year out gradually wears you down. That's why I chose to never teach King Lear. My idea of Purgatory is teaching bloody Fight Club which, other than Trainspotting, is fast becoming my least favourite film ever. At least I never had to watch Titanic or Mamma Mia - so I didn't. Never have, never will.

Meanwhile, Life has a habit of rushing forward tumbling and tripping over itself headlong into some sort of anarchistic celebration of chaos. Whilst I am sitting here enjoying the afterglow of a beautiful summer's evening having sat in the garden eating and drinking (four hour slow-cooked lamb and a rather good Argentinian Malbec in case you wondered) and listening to - yes! vinyl records - I'm trying to get my head together about how Time has a habit of running away from you. Still, Robert Cray's guitar solos are easing all that stress. At least music helps us get through the days - Jackson Browne has managed to stay alive healthily and he was on sparkling good form at the Royal Albert Hall last week.

Meanwhile, I have read that Britain's best beaches are still worth visiting, as long as you can step over the tons of plastic beads and bottles that are pouring onto them (mostly from the stomachs of whales, it seems). I notice that the beach at the bottom of my road isn't included in the list. Nor is Camber Sands which was opposite where we stayed a week or two back.

Now, Camber Sands is an interesting place. I've never been there, despite spending a week opposite the place. We were at a mighty fine wedding nearby a few weeks ago. On the Sunday morning (Father's Day) we had to nip over to the barn where the wedding was held to pick up the cars left from the night before. I knew I had to get back to Rye Harbour, where we were staying, as my wonderful offspring were treating me to a meal. It took a whole hour to crawl back through Rye as the World and his wife were all chugging, very slowly, through Rye to get to the aforementioned beach. Evidently, you have to stand up on Camber Sands as there isn't the room to sit down (I think I'm right there) whilst the beach on the other side of the river - yes, the one we were at - was an empty page waiting to be written on. You can't get arrested on Rye Harbour beach.

Other than that, there's a little village next door called Winchelsea - so good they had to make it in two parts: Winchelsea village and Winchelsea Beach. Now, as a quick quiz question: which one is the Middle Class part? Ah well, it wasn't the beach bit. Still, with Spike Milligan buried in the (rather spectacular) church and Sir Lord His Majesty Paul McCartney living in another village a mile or so away, you can imagine that it might be worth a visit.

Meanwhile, despite Mrs Dave and I starting our exam marking that same week (actually my second set), we were able to enjoy the baking hot weather and put up with the screeching seagulls - not so much a dawn chorus, more a crack of dawn cacophony. Each night was an adventure in guessing whether we'd get any sleep at all due to the humidity and sheer heat. The area itself was fabulous. It even has a pub with a French connection. Given the rather Mediterranean weather on offer that week, it seemed to be a mini Bexit break. In truth, we don't often get quite such wonderful weather but that really was quite something. It made me realise how lucky I am to not be teaching critical approaches to David Fincher's zeitgeist parody of Consumerism and Brad Pitt's apotheosis into Nietzsche's Ubermensch, or something like that. I must go and lie down somewhere . . .

Still, Rye was a bit of an eye opener. I'd always wanted to visit the area and I'll explain more in the next post. Meanwhile: what's the connection between the UK's oldest, most haunted Inn, smuggling and Rye? Answers on a postcard, please.

* No more Of Mice and Men or An Inspector Calls for me!

NB: This post has been amended somewhat since it was originally written for a reason I'll explain over a pint sometime.


Mike C. said...

You saw Jackson Browne? Wow, I envy you that -- I think I saw he was coming but am completely out of the habit of attending concerts unless someone else buys the tickets.

It's HM Sir Paul the Lord McCartney, btw.


Dave Leeke said...

Hi Mike,

Yep, for the second time. Both times I've seen him have been at the Royal Albert Hall. The first time, a few years back now, he had David Lindley with him. I must admit that both times were excellent.

As for Macca, of course. I'll blame the glass of Jura.