Jamie – 24 July 2011
Today was one of those days that came together late, was largely unplanned, and became a trip highlight. Orlando Gemes (one of Foster’s godfathers) and his lovely wife Ana-Maria suggested we all went on a day trip to Brighton. Brighton, as many know, is one of the UK’s favorite “beach” destinations, and today was forecast to be the warmest UK day in many weeks.
The day began with a laugh when Sari came across a woman dressed head to toe in a black burka (with only her eyes showing) sitting in our local bus stop. As many of you know, Sari is the dress-up Queen and she was mightily impressed! She immediately yelled to her brothers to come over and see “the Black Ninja”. It was a truly cringe-worthy moment which Bec did well to recover from with a sincere apology to the woman – who had said nothing and of course we didn’t know if she was laughing or scowling – and a public explanation to Sari that it was in fact a religious dress.
We then went by bus to Victoria Station and train (one hour) to Brighton.
Brighton Beach is wonderful and quite unlike any Australian beach. The beach is made entirely of pebbles (imported apparently, in preference to the sand which sits beneath we were told by a local). What really got our attention though were all the Brits playing on the beach in their Sunday bests – men and boys in suits (with ties) and girls in velvet dresses. Our Crocs somehow seemed very inappropriate.
Then there were the sunbathers who, despite a strong and biting breeze, were determined to lie on the beach. To do this required them to cocoon themselves in what looked like a sleeping-bag, which rather defeated the “sun-bathing” to my mind. They were however wearing bikinis inside the sleeping bag so they did get that bit right.
Orlando had been to Brighton before and introduced us to the wonderful cobbled lane-ways that branch off the main beach promenade. Jewelery stores, clothing shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs – many looking like they probably did two hundred years ago. Orlando took us to one of the best seafood restaurants I have ever been to in my life (Riddle & Finns – write it down) hidden several blocks back in these lane-ways. My “mixed shellfish marinière” was filled with local ingredients many of which were unknown to me – cockles, welts, mussels, razor clams and langoustines. All accompanied by thick slices of homemade bread and some smoked mackerel to smother it in. It was – to use one of my children’s favorite words – awesome!!
Later in the day we walked the famous pier however that didn’t hold any real appeal – lots of people feeding coins into slot games and fast food retailers. Got halfway and turned back. We felt like we had already seen the lovely side of Brighton, and didn’t want to spoil it.