What a difference a week makes, hey? Although I think it's a week, it's that time of year when all the days merge into one and to be honest I've not been totally sure what day it actually is as every day has felt like the weekend. But that's not been a bad thing. On Christmas Eve we loaded up the car and escaped London heading, unusually for us, down to the South Coast for a Christmas away for just the two of us.
The car was loaded - and I mean full - but our excuse was we needed warm cycling clothes, Christmas food and drink and presents, and the Nespresso as MOH was keen to have proper coffee, so in that went as well before the bikes were strapped onto the back of the car. And there was definitely no space in the boot, and to make it easier to load and unload the back seat of my little Clio was down too.
And so, for the first Christmas morning in our sixteen years together we woke in a completely new and previously unknown to us space. The cottage we'd booked was one of those topsy-turvy spaces with the main living accommodation upstairs and the ground floor used for storage, utility areas and a larger bathroom. This worked well for us as there was plenty of space to store the bikes and their paraphernalia, without cluttering the living space.
And in the living space we enjoyed admiring the beams and architecture of the building as well as looking out over to the country park in the distance. Thankfully for such a high space it was lovely and warm and we only set the 'cooking alarm' off once when MOH cooked up a bacon bagel one morning.
With the majority of food prep done at home there was little to do on Christmas morning so we headed off into Hastings Old Town on foot after it was deemed too windy for a bike ride, and without any trouble at all stumbled upon the pretty old streets and then the famous fishermen's sheds, or fishing net sheds.
It was great to wander around these and snap many, many pictures and I'm sure there'll be a post on these, and of more from the Old Town soon. It's funny how your memory works isn't it, because despite visiting Hastings before I had no recollection of seeing these before. I obviously knew about them - and they featured in this post of mine before Christmas - but nothing, zilch in the way of memories, but as soon as we saw the funicular at East Hill immediately behind them, I knew I'd been there before.
Boxing Day saw us head back the same way on our bikes and along the promenade heading off in the direction of Eastbourne along National Cycle Route 2. Lots of other people had the same idea of a walk,
Somewhere along the way we managed to head more inland and found ourselves cycling alongside fields and the railway in a more rural setting. We cycled past a pub - I know, read that again - before realising our folly and turning round and parking the bikes and heading inside for a pint from a local brewery. The only thing was that the pub had turned all of its tables into a restaurant and so there was hardly any space for us to enjoy our beer. They offered us a table outside but as the secondary purpose of our stop was to warm up ahead of our ride back that didn't really work. Needless to say, after our pint we left and headed back to the cottage for the best Boxing Day meal ever of cold meats, pickles and of course bubble and squeak.
During our stay we also drove to nearby Rye, first parking the car near Rye Harbour and heading off down the well trodden path to the beach. Again with plenty of others to keep us company, although you wouldn't know that from the photos I took that day. This black shed caught my eye, but it was only on our return journey that the wreath and other festive decorations were visible, but they did make me smile.
Driving onto Rye we wandered around the shops before heading into a cafe for a festive ciabatta and a pot of tea. Rye's a pretty place and it would have been lovely to have more time to explore all of their shops, although secretly I think MOH was pleased we didn't have time to do this at all. I think I'll be making time to pop back at some point.
So lots of new spaces for us to explore and discover this Christmas, some - like the pub and my boot - had very little space, but it was nice to get away and have some space after a full-on lead up to Christmas. I've still a few days before I go back to work, but somehow the time and space I'd planned to have hasn't quite materialised as I'd hoped it would, but that's life hey?
Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous 2017!