There were various unannounced sideshows to accompany the opening of the Rye Arts Festival. It was on Saturday afternoon, September 11 that I encountered two handsome trees named Rustle and Oleafia. They had walked from the Amazon, said Rustle, to bring people’s attention to the fate of their friends who had been summarily executed in a forest clearance campaign. I was beaten across the shoulders by a twig-wielding Oleafia and offered a wish.
Just a little further up Lion Street, I came across a sweep complete with a brass begging bowl in the shape of a coal scuttle. He was a little more communicative than the tree couple. His name was Richard Giltrap and he comes from Bexhill. He had been to Rye before, because I had met him sitting next the town hall several years ago and put him in Rye News. His scuttle was empty, but he didn’t seem to mind. “I just enjoy doing it and people think it’s free today as part of the festival” he said.
Just around the corner, another performance was going on. Two teashop ladies were telling us that they had been forced to close. Whether it was because of Covid-19 or some other reason. I had come upon them too late to find out. One never knows who one will meet walking around Rye.
Image Credits: Michael Reardon , Kenneth Bird .