I have neglected my blog for a few days but I will add a few highlights just so that you know I am still here and going well. Thursday and Friday were spent venturing south and exploring Brighton, an historic sea-side town favoured by royalty, the literati and now us!! Vanessa had two days off (because she is working the weekend) so we decided to head off on Thursday morning. It was a foggy morning but the day improved as we went on. David navigated the motorways with great skill and by late morning we were in Brighton.
I had lashed out and booked us into a lovely waterfront hotel and for once we were lucky. Instead of facing the parking lot beside the hotel or the waste disposal unit in the alley as is normally the case for mere mortals like me, our rooms were on the third floor facing the beach, making for lovely views, especially at sunset.
We spent the afternoon wandering the Pier and the beach. It was so spectacularly dissimilar to Australia that it felt like wandering in some kind of English documentary about the ‘seaside’. I don’t know why I was surprised to find that the beach was rock! By now I should be expecting it! They were very beautiful rocks, smooth and infinitely diverse in size, shape and colour. There were few tourists around, most have packed it in for the season. As a result it was quite peaceful.
The winding streets are full of pubs and restaurants and little shops selling interesting things. It was not difficult to spend a few hours just walking before heading back to the hotel for a rest, a shower and a pre-dinner drink.
We had dinner at a very odd restaurant – vegetarian fine dining, which David says is code for expensive and not very satisfying!! I tend to agree with him – even though it was my choice.
The next morning we were keen to explore one of the highlights of Brighton, the Royal Pavilion. It was built over a period of 40 years by George IV and others to indulge their royal passion for architecture, design and opulence. It’s a toss-up whether it’s spectacular or spectacularly tasteless! The outside is Indian in style and the inside is Chinese, or at least what George IV etc thought of as Indian / Chinese, given that they hadn’t visited either.
Summer is over so the gardens were fading but it was easy to see how beautiful they would have been in the earlier in the year. We explored the city until later in the afternoon and then decided to head home. The M25 was chaotic after several accidents so we took a series of secondary roads and eventually got home. We all needed an early night, especially Vanessa who had work today.
David and I have spent today (Saturday) looking at used cars. His first little car is on its last legs and will not pass its annual inspection in a few weeks time. I am keen to see him driving something reliable (if not glamorous) before I leave. I think that we have found a Nissan Micra that is in good condition and affordable so we’ll get a mechanical ‘check-up’ done and go from there. He and Vanessa have been saving hard and have a modest but adequate budget.
I have spent tonight watching Midsomer Murders and eating room service soup. I am looking forward to heading home and being back in my own bed but it will be hard to leave. I hope that everyone at home is happy and well. I have given Hannah my picks for the Melbourne Cup – Wicklow Brave (for Ireland) and Humidor (for how my classroom feels in the Summer). Lots of love to you all, I’ll see you soon