I've been feeling a little stale recently, so yesterday morning I set off on a walk through Lewes, trying to regain the sense of novelty and wonder I felt when I first moved here, 11 years ago. I had no idea where I was going or how long it would take, but knew that my journey should include some unfamiliar roads.
In a town the size of Lewes, it could be a challenge to find a different route. But like the human circulatory system, if you unravelled the streets and twittens of Lewes, they would probably extend for hundreds of miles. Everywhere you go in the town, there are narrow passageways that have defied the best attempts of Google to comprehensively map the local area. It is a medieval town that was built for people, not cars.
Here, in no particular order, are some of the things that caught my eye:
However, the frontage belies the fact that the actual building is more 1330s than 1930s:
In 20 years' time, I shall be coming to Hugh Rae for my Harris tweed suits, if they're still around. Sadly, with the sartorial standards of the older generation in rapid decline (only yesterday I saw a man in his 70s wearing a fleece and trainers) I sometimes wonder if the Hugh Raes of this world will survive.
Perhaps the Government should offer additional pension credits for the wearing of cravats and ties.
Gideon Mantell's house hundreds of times without noticing this curious keystone.
In the spring, a small cafe opens and the gardens suddenly fill with young families and teenagers on their way home from school. I made this short film about Southover Grange a couple of years ago.
My son won't go there any more, now that the threat of being swept away into an subterranean network of rivers has been removed.
On the subject of fake ghosts, I once held a book signing session with Derek Acorah and before he arrived, I spoke to his publisher's sales rep:
"There's just one thing you need to know about Derek. He never, ever drinks anything except sparkling spring water, so just get several bottles of that and he'll be perefectly happy."
I dutifully went out and bought three bottles of Tŷ Nant, which I placed in a tasteful arrangement on the signing table. Two hours later, he arrived: "Hello Derek. Nice to meet you. Before you begin, can I get you anything to drink?"
"Oh yeah, thanks very much Phil. I've have a coffee. White with one sugar."
We didn't have any milk. Perhaps he was psychic after all.
15th Century Bookshop. It's one of Lewes's most attractive streets and if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of Lord Briggs working in his study.