Do you like vintage motor cars and wildfowl? Then Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum is the place for you.
I can't say I've ever regarded birds and cars as natural bedfellows for a musuem (and the squashed pheasants on the driveway would seem to vindicate this view), but Bentley does have a strange, indefinable charm. If you're in the area and fancy a walk in beautiful surroundings, I'd recommend it.
I took my wife and sons there today to visit a 'wood fair', which was as worthy and middle class as it sounds, but not quite as dull. My youngest son, who began the visit by sitting on the grass and shouting "I HATE WOOD!" gradually perked up once he realised that it could be deployed as a weapon:
There was a slightly menacing, pre-apocalyptic atmosphere at the wood fair, as if people were preparing themselves for an imminent disaster. In addition to the usual selection of fairly hideous garden ornaments and obscure country crafts, I noticed a lot more knives and survival tools.
I can see the temptation to become self-sufficient in an increasingly uncertain world. But if the oil ran out and things kicked off, what would happen? I once asked a man who was a bit of an old hippy and ran a smallholding what he would do. Without hesitating, he replied: "Find the nearest gun shop and get tooled-up".
It wasn't quiet the answer I was expecting.
To add to the surreal atmosphere, at one point I found myself sitting in the carriage of a miniature railway, travelling at 5mph, discussing The Wire with two 11-year-olds.
At the wood fair we met a couple whose son was in the same class as ours. They had recently moved down from Stoke Newington and I found myself wondering if I would ever meet anyone in Lewes who didn't come from north London. I'm convinced that there is some sort of Stargate-style portal in Hackney that sucks middle-class people in once they have children and sends them off to Lewes, Southwold, North Norfolk and Brighton.
Where do all the real Lewes people go?
Actually, I did recently learn that a friend of my wife's came from St Margarets, only a mile or so from where I grew up in SW London. As children we'd been to the same parks, shops and cinemas, travelled on the same buses and, later, drank in the same pubs, but it had taken her years to bother mentioning where she came from.
There was also something else that she took ages to reveal. Occasionally the friend would mention various members of her family, including a step-mother called Beryl. One day last year, she said that she was worried about her half-sister, as Beryl was dying of cancer and the funeral would probably be quite a big 'do' because Beryl had published a few novels and knew lots of people. My wife nodded sympathetically, then suddenly the penny dropped:
"Hang on, do you mean that Beryl?"
It's strange how we can sometimes talk so much about ourselves without revealling things that others would regard as fundamental.
We had a good chat with the couple from Stoke Newington (at least as good as you can have within the context of constantly of being constantly interrupted by children) and at one point the husband asked me how long we'd lived in Lewes. I realised that it was ten years next month.
"Do you feel local?"
I hesitated and surprised myself with the answer: "No. Not quite. It hasn't happened yet."
My wife disagreed. Ten years of standing in playgrounds twice a day has given her a good network of friends and acquaintances. But my days have tended to involve getting in a car and driving somehere 25 miles away. Whenever I had a drink with someone, it usually took place in London.
Perhaps I need to join something, but I'm not quite sure what.
As we drove back to Lewes, I looked at the clouds over the South Downs and couldn't imagine living anywhere else. I may not be a local yet, but it does feel like home.
That must count for something.