Sunshine, Snow, and Sea

Easter Saturday and we decided it would be a good thing to go out for the day. It had been some years since we had visited Brighton – a southern sea-side town not that far from London and easily accessible by train, so we decided to go. our memories of the place included lovely old buildings and eclectic shops with home-spun cafes and flea markets and antiques. In fact we had bought some of our light fittings from there for the flat when we first moved in and had carried them back by train – this had given us some very strange looks as through London commuters we carried the parts of a very large gothic chandelier plus other light fittings in bags and boxes…

So in the very bitter cold that is still Britain we set off by train and found that it being Easter Saturday, the town was heaving with people who had also decided to come out for the day… then we found that there was a flea market on and wandered the streets looking at the stalls of old clothes and jewellery and other interesting items. We bought only some stretchy scarves for my hair which we were very cheap and substituted for a hat, so nothing much was spent.

stalls and interesting old buildings

stalls and interesting old buildings

Brighton old and new

Brighton old and new

We then found another reason for all the crowds was that there was a Food Festival on too. unfortunately for us, having already had a light lunch in a pizza/salad bar, we didn’t need anything to eat, and anyway, it was largely meat that was being cooked. We looked for stalls that weren’t just about feeding the multitude but they were few and far between. We did however, find a stall selling some appropriately expensive green tea flavoured with jasmine which we were happy to pay for, as the normal green tea in the supermarkets is not a patch on what we drank in China – when we paid for it that was… It managed to snow on us lightly as we looked at these food stalls…

And that was it! The antique shops were down to one or two very expensive ones and set of stalls which had nothing that interested us, and The Lanes, which had been full of funky shops, was now inhabited by chain shops and expensive boutiques or expensive fooderies.  all the charm and funkiness seemed to have gone away – the hippy Brighton was no more…

But Infinity Foods is flourishing and growing it seems. It is a co-operatively owned enterprise and has a wonderful wholefoods/organic supermarket that seduces with all that it has available…

If you want a quiet rest and to read a paper or book even, then make your way to the Library in the centre of town as you can go in there and more or less do what you want – even a young man ate his sandwiches next to me. Nice and warm and relaxing chairs by a warm window on the world and open to all.  We had a nice rest from the cold in there.

The pier that burnt down is still derelict but the seafront has been nicely landscaped – I refused to leave Brighton until I had seen the sea – after all what is the point of going somewhere where there is sea if you don’t look at it?

The Pavilion Gardens looked rather shabby and not well looked after – I know the weather has not been good but it seemed as though there was nothing there but grass and a few trees. The Brighton Dome however was worth a look inside (it’s now a theatre) for all the amazing tiling and decoration. We didn’t however go into the Pavilion as we had been before.

Brighton Pavilion from the Pavilion Gardens

Brighton Pavilion from the Pavilion Gardens

pavilions1

The theatre as it now is...

The theatre as it now is…

inside the dome

But the highlight was coming home as we got off the train at Clapham Junction and found a Korean place to eat – Hana – (you can break your journey especially if you have an Oyster to help out…) and a good meal with my favourite Udon noodles…

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