Country Cousins

Craig
England
November 27, 2003

   Today my cousin Kate was in town with her boyfriend Hugo. You might remember that another cousin of mine (Anna)was traveling in Europe at the same time as me but we never managed to meet up.

Hugo and Kate on Brighton seafront
Hugo and Kate on Brighton seafront
Well I didn't want that to become a pattern so I gave Kate and Hugo a tour of Brighton. I think I am getting quite good at it now, and I know to avoid the Carousel Fish & Chips bar on the seafront. The West Pier is a good crowd puller. Every time I go to see it there are plenty of other people about taking photos, trying to catch the right light and get a good atmospheric shot.
The West Pier
The West Pier
In the North Laines there is a good gallery of Brighton culture, including some excellent pictures of the pier, before, during and after the arson attack a year or more ago.

   Last week was the Leonid meteor shower, and being in the northern hemisphere for a change I thought I'd get up early and watch for some shooting stars. However when I peered out the window at 4am it was too overcast to see anything so I stayed in my nice warm bed for a few hours until it came time to get Peter. Yup, little brother Peter is in town, currently sleeping in Jo's dining room and he brought with him a few essential supplies for me. We've been having a good time around here and he came out clubbing with the usual crowd on Saturday night. On Sunday all four of us (Jed, Jo, Peter and I) prepared the hallway with an undercoat and the next day Peter and I did a pretty darn good job with Deluxe Timeless. Without Jed the tall fella there to reach the hard bits I was left to do some pretty precarious balancing over the stairs. It occurred to me how funny it would be if Jo had come out of her office at the wrong time, knocked me over the banister and rolled me down the stairs, paint pot an all. Luckily for me and the carpet she didn't and the house is now looking a little bit better thanks to us.

   I am working on getting this site a bit more integrated with my other one and soon I'll be putting many more photos of Europe online for everyone to see. Many thanks to Levi for the server space and service.



best wishes from
   Craig
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  23 Nov
03
 

Killarney is an interesting place. A girl on the tour had to get a bouncer to remove a 'friend' of mine who despite some efforts on the boys from the tour's part, would not leave me alone. I think I have invited a busload of people to stay with me when I get back to NZ, I have no idea whether they will but I met heaps of cool people. After we were in Killarney we headed to Kilkenny. I got my photos and I am really happy with them but now I have to label them. Tomorrow I am going on another tour which takes me north. There are about 10 people from the last tour coming including the loudest Australian I have ever met. The weirdest thing on the next tour will be a different tour guide. John (the tour guide we had) was a real laugh and he was happy to make fun of himself as well as us. He studied Drama and German at University, spoke 5 languages, and came out with us each night, I think he will be tough to beat.


best wishes from
   Bronwyn
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  20 Nov
03
 

The tour rocks and I am having a great time. Aboard the Shamrocker are roughly 35 people. 1 is irish (the tour guide), 2 are kiwis (me and Brad from Hamilton), 2 from USA, 2 from Canada (or canadia if you are irish) and the rest are australian (including the bus driver). Where have I been (Bex and Lorraine I will tell you more details later), I have been to Galway, Westport, Tara Hill, Knock, Doolin, and a whole lot of places I can't spell without my book here. I have met a whole bus load of Australians and everyone is really nice. Lots of pubs and tonight we are in Killarney where the ratio is 3 guys to every girl! Lots more to write but no time all I can say is definately visit Ireland!!!


best wishes from
   Bronwyn
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  17 Nov
03
 

   I've had another week or two here in Brighton and started settling in properly. I've registered with a few job agencies and taken my CV along to a few shops for christmas work, as a result of which I have an interview with Gadget Shop on Wednesday after Peter arrives in the morning. I've been improving my cooking skills too by adding chicken rarebit and others to my repertoire

   This weekend I had my from-the-road first visitor. I've dropped in on lots of people along the way, and I met up with Stacey and Brie a couple of times.

Jenny on Brighton seafront
Jenny on Brighton seafront
Lorraine and Bronwyn came down a few weeks ago but Jen would be the first person that I met during my trip and has come to Brighton to see me. She came down on Thursday via a marathon 10 hour coach ride from Newcastle. On Friday we had a simple day out in Brighton exploring The Laines. I already liked the place, but had never taken quite so long to look through the fashion shops there, nor stopped to visit the photographic gallery on Kensington Gardens. I did on that particular day and realised why Josephine loves the place. The clothes and costumes on display there are brilliant and the gallery really shows the wide variety of Brighton's many faces as seen by the locals. I highly recommend it.
A storm in the channel
A storm in the channel
Looking out to sea we figured that the incoming storm wasn't going to make the pier much fun so we headed back to the house.

A view from the top
Looking south near Devils Dyke
   Saturday was mostly based around getting to Devil's Dyke using Jo and Jed's hand built bikes. They assembled them ages ago, and they worked fine after a little tweaking to prevent the chain coming off when ever I went up hill :-) The ride totalled about 12 miles up and along the South Downs with the peak looking across The Weald where a number of paragliders where attempting to take off. Only a couple actually got airborne and only one got any decent fly time. On the way down (video 1.9mb), while checking which footpath took us back to Portslade, we noticed a number of valley names on the map that I thought would have made good road-sign trophies. 'Bushy Bottom' was perhaps my favourite. That night Marko & Emma, James & Sarah and Jen & I went out to Lewes for James' birthday dinner. The Ask restaurant in Lewes is a good Italian place, though they were very busy and service was slow that night. Afterwards we hung out at The Volunteer. A pub I have passed hundreds of times when walking around Lewes, and never been into. It seems nice enough inside, and we had a good night playing pool and knocking back a few beers.

   On Sunday the six of us went to Arundel market which is a good half hour drive from the house. The market had loads to offer, but I am not really in a position to be stocking up on household electricals, even if they are are 'just fallen off the back of a lorry' prices. I finally saw Amelie last night and I really liked it, but I think Jen fell asleep in the middle. She's gone back north again now but I'll be seeing her and Rory soon when I catch a lift up with James in his lorry. He delivers up there quite a bit apparently and while I'm unemployed I might as well be hanging out with old (and new) friends as much as I can.


best wishes from
   Craig
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So much to do so much to say

Bronwyn
Ireland
November 16, 2003

On Thursday I arrived in Dublin. It was raining and I spent over an hour on a bus in rush hour before I got to the hostel. The hostel is huge and I met two english girls who arrived that day (at midday) and started drinking (peaked at 2pm), they were in bed by 7pm. Everyone seems to drink a lot in Dublin. In my room the first night there were two american guys who live in Glasgow (named M.... and N...., I can't remember their actual names), the drunk english girls, an Australian and I. The american boys stayed and I got to know them quite well (except the whole name thing). The australian guy is called Russell. He is a bus driver for Busabout (like Kiwi Experience) in europe and he has been driving for 8 months. He is doing the tour I am. When the english girls left David moved in who is from Minnesota, USA. David has an MBA in marketing and works as a buyer for Target Corp (apparently an upmarket Walmart type chain). The reason David came to Dublin was to pout, he was meant to be getting married but it didn't work out. Russell, David and I went out last night to celebrate not being married. We had too much to drink. I started talking to a 70 year old irish lady we made some new friends and then went back to the dorm. I have seen a number of Irish pubs and Molly Malones and O'Neills (the blue pub) do resemble them.

I have seen some sights too. I have crossed the Liffey a number of times, saw O'Connell monument (the biggest spike in the world, I swear), Christchurch Cathedral, Dublinia (an exhibition on medieval Dublin), Dublin Castle, City Hall, St Patricks Cathedral (largest church in Ireland), the national museum of history and anthropology (cool viking and egyptian stuff), the general post office (it's a bigger deal than you think), Molly Malone, the two hags, St Stephens Green and walked around Trinity College. Dublin is cool and I still have heaps to see like the guiness brewery. I woke up this morning to church bells, it would have been better if they didn't ring for an hour but it was nice. I start my tour tomorrow and I head to Westport. I have 6 days down south and then 4 up north. I can't wait, Russell just did the 4 day one and he said it rocked even though everyone on the bus got a stomach bug.



best wishes from
   Bronwyn
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  10 Nov
03
 

Lorraine and I decided to catch up this weekend. Reading is very close to Basingstoke and we thought we would make good use of it. We were going to go to London and visit Elena, a friend of Lorraine, but the trains to London from Basingstoke were closed for engineering work. I went to Reading instead. We visited Royal Henley on Thames. It is close to Reading and you may wonder what makes it Royal, they have a rowing regatta once a year which some royals attend. Plebs like me would have to stand on the other side of the river from the royals though, and still conform to the dress rules i.e. skirts and dresses are not allowed to finish above the knee. We then went and saw the Pirates of the Carribean and had a drink in Reading. I caught the last train back to Basingstoke where some fellow lunged at me as he was getting of the train and his mate grabbed him before hitting me. I then caught a taxi and came home and had a call from NZ. I made it to the ripe old age of 24 yesterday, and my friends and family called. Thank you to those who emailed/ texted/ called/ sent packages to me. I really appreciated it. I now have 11 birthday cards to look at on the windowsill and I smile each time I see them, the little things mean so much.


best wishes from
   Bronwyn
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  6 Nov
03
 

   Last night was possibly the greatest firework display I have ever seen. It definitely held up against Bastille Day in Paris. I'd spent the day in Brighton, shopping and watching The Matrix: Revolutions. When I got into Lewes I had hoped to meet Marko and Emma but they had stayed home sick. As I wandered around by myself I spotted a familiar face in the crowd Robert Hawke's older brother (Martin), but as I couldn't remember the guy's first name at the time I didn't really feel I could go over and say hello. After the individual processions

Cliffe Bonfire Society
Cliffe Bonfire Society
went up the high street I watched the barrel running (video 5.3mb) from the start line on the bridge. To start the run a banger is set loose on the bridge and when this thing exploded it was like being thumped in the chest.
Rolling a barrel
Rolling a barrel of fire

   I was heading down to The Snowdrop when another familiar face appeared and Luke Reynolds came over to see me. He was at Ringmer College with me for 5 years and I lost contact with him upon moving to NZ. After a little chat he directed me to Alice Briant's house where she and Andy were about to go watch the big procession (They came out to NZ briefly in 2002). So I talked to them for a moment or two and carried on to the pub where I found Jo talking to Catherine Mason another girl from Ringmer College.
   Jo, Kahina, Steve and I watched the procession (video 4.1mb) come down the hill from outside Boots,
Smugglers
The smugglers costumes
and boy was it a long procession. I'd seen a number of burning crosses being paraded up and down that night. There were 17 in fact, and they symbolise the 17 martyrs that were burned at the stake in Lewes during the reformation. There were a number of bonfire societies and a larger number of themes to the costumes. The traditional smugglers, various tudor types (including a brilliant Henry VIII), vikings, Red Indians, Indian indians, doctors and nurses, war veterans and more. The costumes were all brilliant and everyone there was having a great time.
   On the walk toward the Waterloo display behind Tescos (a super market I used to work at) I bumped into Russell Hook and his fiancé Hannah who I later got a lift home with because Hannah lives not far from Jo and Jed's house. I passed a girl on the street whom I recognised but it wasn't until I was washed away with the crowd that I figured out who she was and it was too hard to go back that way so I carried on to the park where the free display was going to be held. The other societies hold their displays in more remote areas and charge for tickets, hence Waterloo is the best attended one. The bonfire was huge and standing 100m away was close enough for me. While standing there waiting to find Russell again I bumped into Gemma Davies and her mum Sue, which is especially weird because I had just emailed them the day before suggesting I might find them in the masses of Lewes. I found Russell and co and the fireworks started. Launching from a base modelled to look like the Simpsons sitting around an armchair the display was very impressive. Every now and again pausing only to launch renewed and bigger than the round before. The explosives themselves were excellent and we were so close that many of the complicated ones that launched a bundle of little sparks with their own jets, they shot well passed us. However all that looking up gave me a sore neck. The final big-one was a worthy show stopper that left huge golden arches across the sky and at the end of each little packets were falling and giving off golden glitter. Amazing.


best wishes from
   Craig
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  4 Nov
03
 

   Yesterday I took my first two NZ friends to visit Sussex around the important places of my childhood. Something that no-one I have met since 1997 has been able to see. I've talked about it plenty but this was my first chance to connect my recent past to the distant past and it could have gone better. On the way to Ashdown (not Ashford!) Forest we drove through Lewes, the pronunciation (like Lewis Carol) seemed to cause trouble for Bronwyn. We did a quick breeze through along the upper high street and passed the 15th Century Bookshop, still wonky and askew. Then onto the forest where A.A Milne and his son Christopher Robin spent lots of time playing and based the famous Winnie The Pooh books on. We parked near The Enchanted Place but seeing as Bron had never heard of Roo's Sandy Pit we carried on to Pooh Corner to get directions. Not much later we were on our way again, this time walking though the woods to the central attraction of the area, Pooh Bridge. This is the traditional site of the Pooh Sticks game where players drop sticks off one side of the bridge and watch whose floats out the other side first. Watch this video (5.9mb) to find out who won.

Bodium Castle
Bodium Castle
   Next stop on the tour was Bodium Castle. It's a classic castle set in a wide moat and with an impressive view over the countryside. Although we were able to walk right up to the front door the door was locked. It turns out it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays which isn't cool. But I really liked the place. After that we went to take a quick look at the Long Man Of Wilmington, which as Bronwyn notes was cleaned up quite a while ago for a visit by the queen.

   On the way home we took a little tour of my old villages, Ripe (where my sister Laura was born), Chiddingly (Chid-ing-lie), Muddles Green and Laughton (pronounced Law-ton by the way). Chiddingly was the site of my early acting career at the village festival. I remember the hall being packed out, standing room only, for the nights that 'the show' was on. My brothers and sisters (back when there were only four of us) and the Penrose and Dyke families would get together to produce a short musical skit each year, directed by Jo and Amy. We did Grease, The Jungle Book and a few of Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes. I did the lead males roles a few times, and narrated some, and even took on Mucky Mabel in 1989, the year I visited New Zealand and had to rehearse my lines on the other side of the world. Apparently the hall is smaller than Whitianga Retirement Home where everyone knew Bronwyn.

   I think I'll be staying around here this week. Getting my C.V. looking nice. A lot more photo editing and possibly working on getting a full photo graphic tour on line, and of course the Lewes Bonfire Night.


best wishes from
   Craig
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Brighton

Bronwyn
England
November 04, 2003

Lorraine and I travelled to Brighton with a spring in our step and a twinkle in our eye. We picked Craig up from Ringmer (where he grew up) and travelled to Brighton and tried to find a hostel. Craig recommended the Brighton Backpackers, I don’t. We stayed there even though it had no car parking and we had to leave the car at Craig’s sisters and catch a bus to the town centre. The hostel was not very nice. The bunks had fallen apart long ago and were now held together with sellotape and nails, sellotape providing the main structural support. The nearest shower was broken, so to take a shower you had to go down 4 flights of stairs and up another 4 on the other side of the building. To top all that off, sharing with 4 guys (one who stared) and coming back from the pub to find pest control there, we decided not to stay any longer.

We did see the Royal Pavilion which is an indian style building in Brighton, the pier (a fairground on stilts over water), the museum, the pub and the mall. Lorraine and I are in no hurry to get back though and since we managed to see all of the places of Craigs childhood we feel there is no need. We even went to Bodium castle which was closed, Pooh Bridge and did see the long man of Wilmington (he wasn’t long, he was missing the good bits because Queen Victoria went to see him). We did miss Lewes fireworks however, which was the point of hanging around, we are sad about that. After 4 hours driving we ended up back in Reading where Lorraine lives and although there is a builder in the kitchen it is still quieter than most hostels.



best wishes from
   Bronwyn
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  3 Nov
03
 

   Today Lorraine, Bron and I explored Sussex. I'm a little tired right now so I'll fill this entry in in the morning.

Look back at old posts. I've uploaded a bunch of photos, a video and a VR. The first photos are on October 15th.

Enjoy


best wishes from
   Craig
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  2 Nov
03
 

Since returning from Scotland, Lorraine and I decided to fill in time until Guy Fawkes. Lorraine and I planned to head to London but in the end headed to Kent. We stayed the first night in Holmbury St. Mary, which is a one building town and that building is the youth hostel. It was very modern when it was built in 1935. The next day Lorraine and I decided to take in some culture and we went to Hever Castle. For those of you don't know Hever Castle is where Anne Boleyn lived, and if you needs even more info, Henry VIII's second wife. I am now a Henry VIII expert because he caused so many changes in England and Scotland's lifestyle at the time.

We spent that night at Canterbury and saw the Cathedral the next morning. To be honest I was a bit disappointed. Dover Castle where we went later that day was awesome though. There was secret WWII tunnels, a castle, a saxon church (more interesting that Canterbury cathedral) and a roman tower. At Dover castle you really are allowed to just wander through the old castle, it was great and we even stood on the top of the keep. We even saw the White Cliffs of Dover and France and it was pretty. No bluebirds though.

We spent last night in Hastings and today we went to Ringmer and met Marko (craig's childhood school friend). Currently we are in Brighton trying to find somewhere to sleep. The nasty YHA closes most of its hostels in 'winter' aka after October so we are having a few problems finding somewhere to stay. I am planning on writing a strongly worded letter!!!!!


best wishes from
   Bronwyn
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