Monday, March 19, 2007

Seaside holiday!

Me & Hannah at the pub

Me in front of the burned-down West Pier

Me & the giant miaow in Brighton Museum

In front of the Royal Pavilion

Hannah on Brighton Pier

Me on Brighton Pier

After work on Friday I headed off to Brighton (Hove, actually - this is a bit of a joke for Englishers in the know, apparently) for a weekend mini-break with my friend Hannah. To be more precise, Hannah is my godmother's son-in-law's sister - but friend is easier and just as accurate. After about an hour trawling across London on bus and tube, then another hour completing the rest of the trip to Hove, I had arrived! Hadn't seen Hannah for a couple of years, since my last trip to this part of the world, and it was my first visit to Brighton (or Hove for that matter), so it was great to catch up with a mate and see somewhere new. On the first evening, after watching a pretty dire Comic Relief special on TV - the equivalent of an 80s telethon, for those of us with fond memories of a youth misspent in New Zealand - we headed out to a bar to meet up with some of Hannah's mates and do a little light drinking.
The next day it was off to see the sights of Brighton. We walked down along the seafront - typical pebbly British beach, crowded with fun-fair-ish amusements on the pier (and oddly, a South African speciality store), then went up for a gawk at the Pavilion - a vast Taj Mahal-ish palace built by the Prince Regent in Brighton's heyday, and then took a look around the Brighton Museum, which was pretty interesting and featured a cool exhbition by an artist who used natural materials, including a couch made of ice which Hannah and I were very sorely tempted to touch, but were put off by the omnipresent guard (dammit!). After that, it was time for a spot of shopping, wandering through the narrow winding 'lanes' and a panoply of small boutiquey stores - plus my first taste of Primark - a cross between Glassons and The Warehouse for clothes and utterly mad, with shoppers and discarded garments everywhere. In between, we had lunch at a lovely and very popular 'produce store'.
Then - this being St. Patrick's Day, after all, it was time for our mini pub-crawl back to the house. We stopped at about half a dozen places, highlights being what was touted (by Hannah) as 'the gayest pub in England' but which was disappointingly un-gayed out when we visited (FYI, as I was told by more than one person and by the Brighton guide books, it's the 'gay capital' of Britain apparently) and a pub where we had a round of Jenga - the game where you pull blocks out of a tower until someone sends it crashing down. Officially, I lost, but that's a deceptive judgement really, since Hannah sent the tower leaning perilously on the previous round, but we held it up and decided to 'play on' for one more go until I toppled the thing, so really it was a team effort all round. I also sampled tuaca - not sure if that's how you spell it - a cough syrupy like liquor which is allegedly sourceable only in Brighton, although who knows why? Finally, it was back home for dinner and a nightcap, the end to a very pleasant day.
On Sunday Hannah had to be off at midday to drive to her parents' for Mother's Day, so we just had a lazy morning and a lovely cooked breakfast courtesy of her partner Rich before it was time to head back to the train station.
I was delivered safely back to London in time to watch the Formula One replay, blissfully ignorant of the result. Unfortunately Raikkonen, my most hated driver, took it out, but young (and handsome British) Lewis Hamilton got a podium on his first Grand Prix outing, so well done there. Now 'tis time to get back to it, catch you all later.

PS Two things I forgot to say about Brighton: 1) It was frickin cold!
2) It made me homesick :( Even though I don't often head to the beach at home, you virtually can't help seeing the sea on a daily basis (well, at least if you commute on the North-Western) and the sight of it in all its odd British-tanged glory made me long for a sight of the real deal at home...

PPS Today at work a student threw up everywhere right in front of me. Soooo gross! And the worst of it is, as an 'adult' and an authority figure you can't just go 'ewww' and head for the hills, I had to be all caring. Luckily the student in question ran away from me so I didn't have to keep it up for long. But I had to stay posted by the vomit until the cleaning crew arrived, marshalling foolish students away from their doom. Yuck!


  1. See, Jess, you DO know a petrol-head.
    M x

  2. I'm hardly a petrol-head! Did you SEE my car, mum?


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