That is Ed’s dismissive term for Rye in particular and most of the South coast, passim. After two and a half days of it all, we see what he meant. Rye is as calculatedly winsome as Shirley Temple. It felt, after nothern Scotland, absolutely a different country, deep, green, lush and secretive. And quite incredibly full of people. Even on an intersection of two country ‘B’ roads you could find it took five minutes to turn right. Though in many ways we did have a wonderful time. I met Ed’s godson, son of one of Ed’s oldest and closest friends. He was all that is charming and helpful, and gave me a portrait photo of his mother when young: gorgeous, with a cleft chin, and looking a whole heap of trouble, but the whole pose, the glance and all the rest irresistably recalling Betty Boop. It’s all been very interesting. apart from anything else, Lewes Record office has given me a major insight into family finances, always a useful thing for a biographer to get on top of.
However, we were staying on Romney Marsh, where I was severely bitten in the night by a mosquito. I am sometimes allergic to the things (does it perhaps depend on what, or who, they have been eating)? Anyway, in the course of the following afternoon in Lewes Record Office, my arm got sorer and sorer, and when they chucked us out, I found a pharmacy, explained myself, and having been invited so to do, showed them my arm. The result was not quite what I expected. ‘Oooo’, said the lady in the white coat, with the heartless curiosity of a seven-year-old. ‘It’s flashing. Betty, come over ‘ere. I bet you haven’t seen anything like it.’. ‘Oooo’, said Betty, in turn, and called up to the actual pharmacist. ‘Come and ‘ave a look!’ The area was just above my elbow on the outer side, quite hard to see if your arm is stiff and swollen, but I gather that the huge lump which had formed was alternating red and white in the most intriguing fashion. I was by this time highly diverted, not exactly in fits, but I did find the whole thing funny rather than otherwise. The pharmacist looked at it, and said dryly, ‘it’s the pulse making it do that, because there’s so much congestion. I think the idea was we were supposed to be doing something about it.’ So everyone sobered down and sold me some antihistamine and stuff which did work. At least it’s all gone flat, though it’s still a bit hot and painful.
Apart from that … we got to see Great Dixter, which was really lovely, a laugh, and much nicer than I expected, and we failed to see the Long Man of Wilmington but had a lovely drink (real cider for me, real apple juice for the NP) in a splendid pub from whence the NP’s memories of thirty years ago suggested that the Long Man might have been visible, and enjoyed Deal (where the Godson lives). The kitten has celebrated my return by getting stung by something. She was fine when we arrived but one eye is showing a tendency to close. Bee, I think. A learning experience to which all young cats are subject.