Anniversary Bike Ride

By Juliette

Today Ross and I headed out to Monks House in Rodmell, East Sussex to celebrate our two year anniversary! The years have been a true delight in which we have created a little home together, filled it with rats and hamsters, and had many adventures. So we decided to have another one and cycle to Virginia Woolf’s house.

Our route - the mass of green should have perhaps indicated that it was fields.  

Our route - the mass of green should have perhaps indicated that it was fields.  

We started the day with a tasty breakfast including roasted beetroot, steamed greens and poached eggs. It was a special day after all! After much lounging we decided we should finally get going and made our way down to the sea front. I feel so lucky to live in Brighton, and cycling past the pier and seeing the sprawling sea makes me so happy. The undercliff pass (shown from Brighton to Saltdean) is beautiful and I wholly recommend it to anyone who needs some sea air.

The view all the way along the cliff walk. Lovely!

The view all the way along the cliff walk. Lovely!

After a cup of tea and a sit on the beach at Rottingdean, we turned off to Saltdean. Here we joined an alarmingly fast road and headed up a hilariously big hill. I gave up almost instantly and did the embarrassing walk. We then knew we needed to take a left, but it looked remarkably like fields? It was fields! A lot of uphill fields - and as you can see, my bike is very much a single speed road bike. It was a long and tiresome slog but the promise of Virginia Woolf’s house and more pressingly the pub kept us going.

At the end of the undercliff path - you can see it in the background.

At the end of the undercliff path - you can see it in the background.

Eventually, after a lot of encouragement from Ross and several breaks enforced by me we saw light ahead - a road! It was the most delightful road I’ve ever seen in my life, largely because it went downhill and we had a lovely windy ride down through a beautiful village with lots of lovely horses. This was what we had come for - taking in our lovely county on our two-wheeled friends. It was also a chance for Ross to finally stretch his legs, having gone at my very slow pace for the whole way.

Too tired to get Ross into the frame

Too tired to get Ross into the frame

The house was beautiful and made us daydream about life in a rural cottage. Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard lived there from 1919 to Leonard’s death in 1969. There were informative guides in every room who talked us through different points of interest and answered all our questions. I particularly loved seeing her bedroom - her ‘room of one’s own’, in which she did much of her writing when she couldn’t make it out to her writing hut in the garden. She built the bedroom as an extension to the house with the proceeds of To The Lighthouse and Orlando. It really captured her personality and the way she lived.  The whole house was an insight into the lives of Virginia and Leonard and the different artists they hosted over the years (including T.S Elliot and Rita Sackville-West).

Monks House living room - Picture from TripAdvisor - ‘left as if they had just gone out for a stroll’. 

Monks House living room - Picture from TripAdvisor - ‘left as if they had just gone out for a stroll’. 

Once we had had our fill of history, we made our way to the Abergavenny Arms for a Sunday Roast, a pint, and of course a board game. All in all it was a delightful day with lots of fresh air, history, and the best company.

5B9DA71B-AB8C-474A-A179-8956F95B0E4F.JPG