Chichester, West Sussex, UK

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Chichester is a pretty roman town snuggled beneath the South Downs and is very comfortable, thank you very much for asking. You can get to Chichester via the A27 from the east and west and the A29 or A285 from the North. South is Selsey (home of Patrick Moore) and the sea.

Chichester is a market town. Four streets meet together in a cross. The centre is called "The Cross". This is not the first example of the Cicestrian tendancy towards stratospherically unimaginative nomenclature. The four roads are called North Street, East Street, South Street and West Street. As I said before, these roads form a cross. Did I mention Chichester is a market town?

At the end of East Street and South Street is a road called Market Avenue. That's where the market is. I get the feeling a guide entry is missing until now on the subject of Chichester because it is literally impossible to become lost in such a place.

Also at the end of East St is the factory called "Shippams". The old man, Basil, decided to boil a cow up into paste and put it into a tiny jar in Victorian times. During the Victorian era the basic nutritional advice given to all housewives was "if it tastes bad, it must be doing you some good". Hence cod liver oil and Shippams Paste. Other varieties include crab, fish and chicken. Like all Victorian admirers my mother put Shippams paste on my sandwiches. Like all children of Victorian inspired parents I lobbed my sandwiches into a hedge as soon as I was out of sight of my house. The smell of boiled cow permeates Chichester - quite a posh town. And so the West Sussex sloane holds her nose just that little bit higher than her Surrey cousin.

West Street is dominated by a very beautiful cathedral behind which is the Bishops Palace Gardens where students go to practice their hobbies - smoking pot, drinking cider, trampling plants and getting off with each other. Chichester also has a theological college. As one would expect their students are the worst behaved.

North Street heads towards the festival theatre. It is justly proud of its reputation as one of the most famous and most conservative theatres in the country. Hollywood stars of 20 years ago can be seen on stage alongside actors whose face you recognise (probably as a games teacher on Grange Hill or a drug addict in The Bill) but whose name would escape you even if you wrote it down 20 times.

The pubs are quite good but there are no clubs within the city walls (the romans banned the nightclub and no one has the nerve to change the law). Here's a summary:

THE HOLE IN THE WALL - no, not a theme pub based on cash machines, but a pub with a wall where romans used to leave letters for each other. Used to be raided regularly for underage drinking. Once had so many wooden nooks that you could hide for months in their without ever beeing thrown out. Gets gradually more open plan each time you visit.

THE HOGSHEAD - used to be the George and 1 man and a dog were in there. Now a theme pub for students

THE CHICHESTER - used to be The Castle and 1 man was in there playing bar billiards. Now a theme pub for students

THE SWAN - always been called the Swan. Always has about 5 students in there who should be in lectures.

THE GLOBE - always full of pool playing students

Generally, there are now more theme pubs and more students in Chichester - this is a good thing. Students are nowhere near as offensive as the former military policemen that used to garrisoned in the town.

The romans call all their major British settlements "cester" - A latin word which occurs in no latin dictionary but probably means "a settlement in Britain".

The romans brought under-floor heating and baths, as well as ornate tiled floors called mosaics, to Britain. Nearby Fishbourne has a roman palace including a mosaic. All the local school children are forced to visit the roman palace. There then follows a series of craft lessons in which they make their own mosaics out of small pieces of felt, scraps of tissue paper or tiles of card which they stick onto a board with glue made out of boiled up fish and urea whilst the teacher settles down to scanning the job section of the Times Educational Supplement in peace.

Nearby sites of historical interest are Arundel, which has a castle, Bignor (a Roman villa) and Bognor (which tourists trying to visit Bignor usually end up in).

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