We drove on to Battle to the Abbey and battlefield (the fight between William the Conqueror and the English King Harold in 1066). First we asked the Tourist Information Centre to find us a room for two nights
. They had nothing available so we took the interactive tour of the battlefield and the Abbey ruins - more walking! We are especially glad we live in this century when we think about life in earlier times. We could hardly lift the English shields and can't imagine how they managed to use them for hours on end. As we were about to leave the tourist lady stopped us to say she could get a room for us. It sounded great; an old Country House set in 5 acres with bar and evening meals. Just what we wanted, a nice, quiet, comfortable place to stay, where we could relax in front of the TV before dining in house, without having to go out for a meal. We are now settled in - the only guests tonight - and we feel that the description of this place was misleading. There are no evening meals, the room overlooks a busy main road and Tom will have to be very careful as the ceilings and especially the door frames are lower than him. Some are even low enough to catch Ruth if she doesn't bend. We are disappointed but hope our impressions improve. Seeing we could not eat in we took our host's recommendation and ate at the reasonably close White Hart pub and had a very filling and pleasant dinner before an early night in front of the Television watching, through the static (another disappointment) the highlights of the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. Of course many people would have been delighted at staying in an authentic (but how authentic was it?) 16th century building, but that was not what we thought we had booked into.
We drove east to Arundel Castle, which is huge, the biggest castle we've seen on this trip. It is the home of the Duke of Norfolk and his family. (Tom would like to know why the Duke of Norfolk lives in Sussex?) We first explored the gardens which are well maintained - much better than most other gardens we have visited. We then climbed a lot of stairs (the sign said 131) to and from the Keep then walked through those rooms that are open to the public. Finally we had a light lunch and walked back to our car. The rooms are very ornate with lots of family portraits. The library was two storied, with heavily carved bookshelves with gilt grills protecting the books, and deep red furnishings.