(Maisy's departure wasn't quite as straighforward as I'd anticipated. After a seemingly emotional reunion with her family, she ran away the following day and was discovered sitting on our doorstep. I can only assume that this and subsequent escapes were prompted by happy memories of long walks and Tesco's Finest dog food)
It has been a sociable weekend. Yesterday I spent a very pleasant afternoon at the Coal Hole in the Strand with a couple of friends from university. We argued about Twitter, agreed about the Olympics opening ceremony and recalled a rather unpleasant encounter I had with a vicar who worked in a boys' home.
We ended up in the Chandos where, to my horror, a young Australian barmaid had never heard of a Pernod and lemonade. I felt like a man who had been released from prison after a very long stretch.
I felt slightly fragile this morning, but when a friend reminded me that this was the weekend for the wonderful Heritage Open Days scheme, we decided to visit St Michael's Church in Lewes:
On the outside, St Michael's is a pleasant but fairly unremarkable medieval church, right next to a main road. However, it contains one of Lewes's hidden gems: a beautiful walled graveyard, tucked away between the Castle and some old houses:
If ever I feel the need to get away from everything and enjoy an hour's solitude, then I come here. The bustling high street is only yards away, but there is an eerie quietness that evokes an older world and spiders' webs lie undisturbed.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
With Lewes Castle towering over the churchyard, you can enjoy the same view that Thomas Paine and his bride had, when they married here in 1771.