Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Martello Towers

You may remember me talking about Martello Towers the last time we were here. They are round coastal fortifications built in the early 1800s, during the time of the Napoleonic wars, to protect Britain's coastline from French invasion. I saw one back in July in the nearby community of Normans Bay -- Martello Tower No. 55, to be precise.

When I looked at Google Maps not long ago I realized there are three more Martello Towers in our immediate vicinity -- Nos. 60, 61 and 62. Part of the reason for my long walk down the beach on Sunday was to find them. (Apparently Nos. 56-59, which would have been along the stretch of beach where our cottage is located, were either demolished or washed into the sea at some point.)

Above is No. 60, which is located right in the town of Pevensey Bay and has apparently been turned into a house.

Here's No. 61, which forms a sort of architectural centerpiece for two adjacent apartment buildings. This page says the tower itself is "unused."

And here's No. 62, which was recently listed for sale (asking price £695,000). Apparently it has been sold, which is probably why it's now covered in scaffolding. There are some photos (click the arrow on the banner photo at the top of the real estate listing) showing the interior. It would make an interesting house but I can see how it wouldn't be for everybody.

Plus, it's in the middle of a holiday caravan park (what we Americans would call a trailer park). I suspect that counts against it.

That horse, by the way, is fake.

Christmas was very low-key yesterday. I walked the dog in the morning, sticking to the streets and neighborhoods rather than the pebbly beach, and otherwise stayed indoors. It was rainy, windy and grim most of the day, with a thick gray covering of clouds and the horizon mostly invisible.

Holly's collar was still on the wall. I texted the owner again with the exact address where she could find it, but that's the last contact I'm making, for fear of being accused of stalking or harassment!

And then I spilled a glass of water across our coffee table, drenching my last two New Yorkers, which I think means I now have permission to throw them away unread. Hence, I am CAUGHT UP ON MAGAZINES!

We did watch "Maestro" in the evening. I had mixed feelings about it. It focused mainly on Leonard Bernstein's marriage and his wife, and although the movie was essentially about the tension in their relationship caused by his bisexuality and his affairs with men, it explored none of those affairs with any depth. In fact, it seemed to respect the same '50s conventionality that Bernstein was trying to escape. I'm not sure I got a sense that he was struggling at all -- he seemed very blasé about his infidelity, but wasn't he wrestling demons as much as she was? Weren't the social mores of the time suffocating for both of them?

This morning, the sky seems clearer:


Frances said...

That tower needs a fair bit of work before it is liveable! Have a good day.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

If I lived in Number 60, I might be tempted to paint it but the more I look at the weather-stained exterior the more I think, "No! That's okay!" You are going to have some bright, dry weather today so your adoring public will expect a special set of pictures tomorrow!

Moving with Mitchell said...

Yes, I can understand why the tower was asking a mere £695 thousand, being in the middle of the caravan park. Still, it could be a really fun space on its own.

Rachel Phillips said...

I watched the Maestro the other night. It didn't hold my attention, I found myself wandering off and losing interest. Watched it again next night and same thing happened.

Linda Sue said...

Those towers are so cool! Glad they are still useful, keeping an eye out for the French👀
Though the weather has been moist…better to have been on the beach than the city. A nice , brief respite.

Bob said...

I might like living in the tower, though not in the trailer park.

Kathy said...

But that stairway! I hope it is better built than the photo shows.

Sharon said...

Those towers are very interesting. I don't think I'd want to live in one though. I love how Olga is looking out over the ocean.
I've heard some mixed reviews of that movie.

Ms. Moon said...

What? And now you're going to tell us that Poseidon is fake?
We started watching Maestro and I know Glen was bored to tears. We probably will not finish it but I can see some Academy nods in its future.
Owen asked about you at dinner last night. "How's Steve Reed?" he asked. I told him that you and your husband were at the beach for Christmas and he said, "Cool!" I think that both Owen and I wished we were at the beach yesterday too. You would NOT believe how grown-up he is. And so handsome.

ellen abbott said...

those towers are interesting though not enough windows for me. the one in the trailer park is really rough inside.

yesterday was nice here though a little cold. we watched three movies.

Susan said...

Your walks provide many points-of-interest. The sky looks greatly improved and hopefully will bring dry weather with some sunshine.

Ellen D. said...

Hope your weather improves before you head back home. You find the most interesting things to tell us about, Steve! Thanks!

Debby said...

The answer to your last question would be, in my opinion, yes. The 50s were about comformity and uniformity. Everything had to fit, and woe betide the poor soul that didn't. I know that there were those non-comformists about, but for the regular joe (and Josie), you simply focused on keeping up with the Joneses.

Red said...

I'm surprised that the towers are still there. But then they were fortifications and must have been very well built.

Pixie said...

I can't imagine someone willing to pay almost 700,000 pounds for a rundown tower in the middle of a caravan park.

I especially like that last photo of Olga, beautiful.

Boud said...

I wonder if the buyer of that trailer park tower is planning to buy the trailer park land and end up with quite different landscaping.

The weather is grey all over the planet from what I'm seeing in blogs of various countries.

Marcia LaRue said...

That mobile home park actually looks quite nice and the homes well kept! The tower looks shabby compared to those homes!

Jim Davis said...

The inside of #62 is a tad rough around the edges! Reckon the location and the view are driving up the price, but 695K? YIKES!

Allison said...

I just looked at the real estate listing, and the word sold appears lower left on the photo. Wonder if it's really sold. It would require a very special person to take that project on. Your time at the beach sounds very restorative. Love the photo of Olga, such a photogenic dog.


It's fascinating to explore historical structures like Martello Towers, and the fact that one has been converted into a house adds an interesting layer to its history. The coastal fortifications from the Napoleonic era hold so much historical significance. Your curiosity and exploration of these landmarks contribute to preserving and appreciating the past. Looking forward to hearing more about your discoveries. Visit Melody Jacob blog.

The Bug said...

That's two meh reviews for Maestro in the same day! (Three if you count Mary Moon's.) Not that I had planned to watch it, but still interesting. The other review was someone I follow on Instagram - he loved what's her name (the wife?), but didn't really care for the movie as a whole.

sparklingmerlot said...

If the caravan park is mainly for holiday visitors that could be a lovely house in the off season.
Olga looks very wistful gazing out at the pebbly beach.

Catalyst said...

We watched "Maestro" the other night, too. Judy asked me today if I thought all of that smoking was exaggerated and I said, no, I had read that Bernstein DID smoke like that. I think we were of a similar mind that Carey Mulligan was great in her role and perhaps earns an Oscar for it but that Cooper was a bit over-wrought in his performance and will not win, nor for director.

I can imagine Dr. No living in that round tower!

Kelly said...

The tower would make an interesting home, but not at that price. Then again, I have no idea what real estate prices are like in that area.

I love the moody feel of that last photo. Olga must be settling in and enjoying herself.

Margaret said...

For some reason, I was reminded of the "Silo" series when I saw those towers. (even though the silos were underground) That's a beautiful photo of the sky!

Janie Junebug said...

THE HORSE IS FAKE? You've ruined everything for me, Steve. I was sure that was a real, giant horse. I'm disappointed. The tower is interesting. It needs a lot of work, and I don't think I can afford it. I liked Maestro because the point of it was to examine their marriage and the way Lenny's affairs affected Felicia. If the movie had tried to explore other aspects of the affairs, it would have been much too long. I thought Carey Mulligan was excellent.


Pam C said...

Thank you for your steadfast posting. I love seeing England: your town, and the places you venture to. I think Olga is absolutely adorable, and with each of your posts I love her more! What a sweet girl. It looks like you and Dave are having a relaxing vacation. Congrats on catching up on your New Yorkers, no matter the method!

Elizabeth said...

I wonder what Napoleon would have thought of the trailer parks that sprouted up around his defenses? And I agree with you on Maestro -- it was a strange movie. Sort of beautiful and boring at once.

River said...

That final photo is very striking.

gz said...

The tower will probably be holiday accommodation just like the caravans.

Steve Reed said...

Frances: It does! Those inside photos make that pretty clear.

YP: I think No. 60 is actually quite beautiful. Paint would ruin it!

Mitchell: With some imagination (and money) it could be pretty cool...but as I said, not for everyone!

RacheL: OK, good to know! I've considered watching it again to see if I have a different reaction the second time around. Maybe now I won't!

Linda Sue: It's nice to be here, I must say. I am loving the relative quiet.

Bob: I'm not sure anyone lives in that trailer park full time. I think they're holiday rentals.

Kathy: Yeah, I'm not sure about that! LOL

Sharon: Olga always looks like she wants to go over that wall, but she really doesn't!

Ms Moon: I'm so glad Owen asked about me! I'm not sure about "Maestro" and the Academy. It seems to be getting a rather tepid reception.

Ellen: This is a perfect time of year for movie-watching!

Susan: The weather changes from day to day. Today it's back to blowy and stormy.

Ellen D: I'm glad you find them interesting! I sometimes wonder whether the things I find interesting are also interesting to other people.

Debby: I guess that's what I'm getting at. The movie didn't really wrestle much with Bernstein's conflicts -- more his wife's. (At least that was my impression on first viewing.)

Red: Yeah, they seem very solid, though some have apparently disappeared over the years. Probably deliberately taken down, I'm guessing. I feel like there would be ruins otherwise.

Pixie: If you had a lot of money and wanted a unique beach retreat, maybe!

Boud: Oh, THAT's an interesting idea. Yeah, remove the trailers and you'd have a really nice piece of property.

Marcia: It is pretty well kept, I think because they're holiday rentals. I suspect people don't live there year-round.

Jim: Actually, I'm surprised it's not more, for an oceanfront historic structure.

Allison: I think it has been sold, which is why the scaffold is up now. The new owners are probably doing some restoration.

Melody: Glad you find the towers interesting! Many of the surviving ones have been converted into residences, strangely enough.

Bug: Every review I've seen says it's bascally Carey Mulligan's movie, despite the fact that Bradley Cooper is behind the whole thing.

Caro: Yes, I think that's the case, though you'd still be surrounded by the buildings. (Even if empty)

Catalyst: I think Bradley Cooper suffers from "Tom Cruise syndrome" -- perpetually thought of as a pretty face with middling talent.

Kelly: Yeah, I think it's actually not such an outrageous price given the oceanfront location, but I suspect that's because of the trailers.

Margaret: I can see why they would bring that series to mind!

Janie: Ha! I just wanted to make ABSOLUTELY SURE everyone was on the same page about the horse! I guess as a gay man I'm curious about the gay affairs, which seem to get short shrift, but I can see how doing a more rounded profile of Bernstein would have been a lengthier project.

Pam: My New Yorker method was cheating, but hey, it worked! LOL

Elizabeth: YES! That's the perfect way to put it -- beautiful and boring.

River: Thanks! Olga blends in with the shadows.

GZ: Yeah, I wonder? Might be a challenge to live in year-round. I bet it's damp and drafty.

Jeanie said...

Maestro is on my list. I want to see it in the theatre for sound (and also, I dropped Netflix, though might resume it for a few months in the winter.)