Monday, 26 August 2013


We’ve just come back from an incredibly restful holiday in the lovely historic Roman town of Chichester. My natural Southern inclination is to pronounce it ChiCHESTER, but here it is pronounced CHIchester or even CH-CH-ster. Those wacky English. Go figure.

 But it was a wonderful time away. We normally try to rent a self catering place so we can cook for ourselves, but as this time of year is tourist season, prices for places are through the roof and even if we could have afforded a place, there weren’t any available. So we decided to stay in a swish B&B thanks to a bit of extra money my mum sent us as a gift. Thanks Mum!

 Spiderman did all the planning and I was surprised to be staying in George Bell House right behind Chichester Cathedral. It was even more exciting because of who George Bell was--he was Bishop Bell, friend of Dietrich Bonhoeffer,the German priest who was executed by the Nazi’s for trying assassinate Hitler.  My first year at Louisiana College I ran props for a play about the Life of Bonhoeffer called The Beams Are Creaking.

I don’t have any photos of my own as we left the camera at home. There was a time when this would have turned into a stinking row with cross words and pouting and tears and grudges. I’m thinking of a particular time in 1990 when we argued about who should have remembered to get the camera off the bus and consequently missed seeing the stone circle at Avebury.But these days we are a bit more laid back. I was sad for about two minutes after he pointed out it was on the table right by my handbag and if I had wanted it I could have gotten it then. I remember that and had wanted to ask, but as it was a late addition did not want to do what I had done the night before when suddenly ,at the last minute, after he had packed the suitcase and I decided I wanted my pillow to go with us. But the internet is our friend and has pictures of nearly everything we saw. So there.


This is where we stayed. All these pictures are from  You can see the steeple of the Cathedral in the background.

This is inside going up the stairs.


This is from the top of the stairs.

 This is like our room. It looks to be a bit bigger than ours was, but the décor was the same (minus the flowers).


They had a proper chef and were really kind and bought us some rice milk for cereal and tried, but failed to find some gluten free vegan bread (it nearly always has egg in it). We feasted like Royalty every morning on a multi course breakfast.

 Starting with:

Cereal and rice milk with dried cranberries and banana slices (it is often hard to find gluten free vegan cereal other than cornflakes and I’m just not that wild about cornflakes. Non - cornflake cereal either has wheat or powdered milk or honey but I managed to eat Coco Pops which were chocolate flavour rice pops with a bit of barley malt flavouring--which does not make them strictly GF, but I can still eat barley so it worked out)
What if a monkey made your some cereal?

 Next we had a cooked breakfast consisting of mushrooms, cowboy beans and hash browns. We also had some jam on oatcakes mainly so I could wash out and take home the cute little pots. They were just calling out to be made into a pot of Dr Pipt’s Magical Powder of Life (it’s an Oz thing)

We spent our days pottering around antique shops and charity shops and bookshops (is there anything better to do on a holiday?) and our evenings at evensong at the Cathedral.
Chichester Cathedral, Chichester, West Sussex, England

Our friends from New York were also in Chichester. They brought us some Sunmaid raisins because they remembered my difficulty in finding raisins not glazed in palm oil and the tears of displaced orangutans.  
thanks Karen and Keith!
 We were all there because their daughter is a chorister and her church choir was on tour and was singing at evensong every night. It was wonderful to hear Gwen sing (we’ve known her since she was a toddler) and I enjoyed the spiritual feeling of church. I forget how much I like to pray on my knees. Our B&B had a small prayer room with a kneeler as well. I would love to have one at home.


We watched our share of CSI marathons (again what a holiday is all about) whilst nibbling on stuff like hummus and tortilla crisps and salsa, flavoured tofu and falafel for dinner. We also had grits (thanks again to my mum) and goatmeal we could make with boiling water from the kettle so we never went hungry.  

One day when I was feeling rather sniffly and sneezy I took some meds that made me drowsy and so between afternoon naps I watched an episode of Little House on the Prairie--the one where Laura runs away to the mountain after the death of her baby brother and is protected by an angel played by Ernest Borgnine. You know the one.

We bought a few souvenirs--an Oz book with charming illustrations by Linda Birch and a Doctor Who book.

 I bought a tube filled with 1000 green buttons of various sizes and shapes to make a collage of the Emerald City. Stay tuned for  details!

We found a Montezuma Chocolate Shop--their chocolate is made near Chichester and is really yumilicious. They have a good selection of vegan dark chocolate--we bought a slate of fudge with a marzipan filling as well as a bar of Sea Dog--dark chocolate, lime and sea salt. Mmmmm. All gone now…SOB!

We also found a cool replica bronze Roman statue of a little mouse nibbling a grain of corn..



It seemed perfect as we have both just been reading Margery Sharp’s book The Rescuers. I had only seen the Disney film which is *completely* different.  In the film they are the Rescue Aid Society,,,but in the book they are the Prisoner’s Aid Society. With me being a pen pal with someone on Death Row in Texas and our work to abolish the death penalty, it seemed appropriate. There is a quote from Miss Bianca the mouse which says, “Let nibble who needs.”    We have named the statue Erik after Erik Blegvad the illustrator of some of the Rescuers books whom Spiderman has been researching as of late for a follow up blog post to his revelation about the poem misattributed to William Blake.   

Lastly, I will leave you with a blessing from Saint Richard of Chichester. There was this statue outside the Cathedral which was decidedly creepy. It made poor St Richard look a bit like the love child of Richard III and Nosferatu with his hunchback and big sweeping cloak. His head was turned at a strange angle in that traditional vampire pose, but his hand was blessing you. It made us laugh and so we developed a comedy routine that went something like this:

 (evil voice) Mwa ha ha ha!!!

(nice voice) Bless you.  

Let nibble who needs. Amen

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