Arundel is one of my favourite places to visit. Lately I have been getting into the habit of visiting Arundel at least once a month, and I am reaping the benefits.
For those who are not familiar with Arundel, the small town is part of the Arundel Estate, whose central fixture is the castle. The old town, replete with historic buildings, is built on a hill, and it’s surrounded by verdant hills and trees. Whenever I visit I experience wistful memories of the quaint Devonshire villages I frequented every summer during my childhood.
Thursday the 17th of May was a gloriously sunny, fresh and balmy late spring day. A gentle zephyr soothed my nerves, which became elastic and bouncy as I sprung forth along the river to Swanbourne Lodge cafe , where I treated myself to a ginger and apricot flapjack and an Americana; in the weighing scales of anxiety versus interest and curiosity, the latter had more weight this time ( I’m always eager to collect new and varied culinary experiences, despite the initial trepidation).
I even walked halfway round the lake, despite experiencing anxiety caused by my dog phobia (I had to turn back when I spotted a dog in the distance). Walking back I almost bounded and leaped because the pleasant temperature was working it’s magic; I’ve noticed a strong correlation between weather and my energy levels.
In Arundel town centre I visited an antiques parlor (there are several in Arundel). I was particularly interested in the exquisitely decorated tea ware, and the beauty and perfection around me held me momentarily spellbound, which provided a welcome, albeit transient relief from tension.
After visiting Pallant of Arundel (the artisan food shop), where I bought some new food items to try (my collecting instinct at work again), I visited the miniature golf club cafe for refreshment. I had not been to this cafe for years, and so I felt very pleased with myself for ordering a coffee, which takes some courage for someone like me, because new experiences always involve some degree of anxiety.
Replenished, I walked back along the river, where I spotted two voles in the undergrowth. It was amusing to watch the voles tentatively emerge, only to be pecked at by two resting ducks, resulting in the vole spring leaping to safety. I spent a considerable time photographing the voles, and this intense concentration and immersion in an experience is perhaps the closest I can get to a mindful state.
Finally I visited another antique parlor (the one I visited last time with the scented candles). This time I noticed a collection of tiny, lifelike model plates containing jam sandwiches and other food items. I have always had a soft spot for such minutely rendered objects, and so I took a few photos.
My visit to Arundel was very soothing and took me ”out of myself” for the day. I hope to return again very soon for some more ”Arundel therapy”.