Garry McGivern’s August-2013 Update

Garry McGivern’s Travelsonabike2 August-2013 Update. It’s been another fairly busy month with plenty going on. The first weekend of the month, we had the Hotham Park Country Fair. Held in our local park, which consisted of the normal things you would expect to find in an English country fair: arts and crafts, a farmers market, music, dog agility displays, shire horse displays and all kinds of owls on display, all good fun and very busy.

On Sunday, we went over to Brighton. It was Pride Weekend, which is an annual event to promote equality and diversity and advance education to eliminate discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We thought it would be a colourful day out. Unfortunately, the parade was on Saturday, and there wasn’t much to be seen of the pride event on Sunday. So we just had a stroll around The Lanes, which are a collection of narrow lanes in the city. Famous for its small independent shops and narrow alleyways. We also went for a walk on Palace Pier. A pleasure pier with amusement arcades and a fun fair at the end of it. We finished the day off sitting in the sun, watching some live music outside one of the many bars that are under the arches along the beach.

Day Out

I finished work early one day and decided to go to Shaftsbury in Dorset just to see Gold Hill. With its steep cobbled street. It’s famous for its picturesque appearance; the view looking down from the top of the street has been described as “one of the most romantic sights in England.” (Couldn’t feel that!) The image of this view appears on the covers of many books about Dorset and rural England, as well as on countless chocolate boxes and calendars.

Gold Hill has also been used as a setting for television commercials: it features in the 1973 “Boy on Bike” television advertisement for Hovis Bread, which I remember from my childhood. It was voted Britain’s favourite advertisement of all time. It was directed by Ridley Scott and includes the distinctive main theme of Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9.

Shaftsbury itself is built 718 ft (219 m) above sea level on the side of a chalk and greensand hill. The only significant hilltop settlement in Dorset. It is also one of the oldest and highest towns in Britain.

That Was Hot

Another weekend was spent at the Chilli Fiesta held in the grounds of West Dean College, which is just outside of Chichester. Eight miles away from us. It’s a three-day event celebrating everything to do with chillies. They had live cooking displays. Stall’s selling all types of chilli-based products. From oils, pastes, chocolate, popcorn and even chilli-flavoured candy floss! The hottest chilli paste I tried was about 800,000 Scoville’s. The secret to trying these hot sauces is to only take a little bit. Unfortunately, I took a bigger scoop than I’d intended to! As I was being watched by some people who all wanted to see my reaction, I couldn’t put it down and had to eat it. Luckily, I had my sunglasses on so nobody could see my eyes watering! It was hot but very tasty. My mouth was still burning twenty minutes later!

There was the main arena, which had live bands performing all afternoon and into the evening. (a good deal of Latin music was being played. Keeping with the theme of chillies, I suppose!) There was also a performance by some Latin dancers. The main arena was also surrounded by food stalls selling all types of food from around the world: Thai, Moroccan, Spanish paella, Caribbean, English fish and chips and plenty of others that I’ve forgotten, something to suit every taste.

There was also a children’s area which had Vintage fun fair rides, Punch and Judy and face painting.

The gardens at West Dean are very well kept with a restored walled kitchen garden with a lot of Victorian glasshouses. The gardens were really colourful and full of bees and butterflies, I’ve never seen so many bees all busy collecting nectar from the flowers.

It’s Carnival Time Or Maybe Not

We went up to London to see the Notting Hill Carnival but never made it there! Not too sure why we just seemed to run out of time! I always tend to walk around London. It just has a good feeling about it, and you see more. I think that’s one of the reasons that we never made it to the carnival.

Firstly, we walked to Stanfords, which claims to have the world’s largest stock of maps and travel books under one roof. (It is spread over three floors, so it might be true!) Any trip to London always has to involve a trip here for ideas and inspiration on where to go. After that, we went for a drink in a bar, and before we knew it was the middle of the afternoon. So we just went to Harrods to look at the food hall and finished the day off with supper in Chinatown.

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