I was only in Brighton the previous weekend, but the weather was good, my rail card was about to run out, the weather was forecast to deteriorate, so why not? The downside was weekend rail works.
Weekend rail works are the bane of weekend travellers. Weekends are not great to travel, especially bad on Sundays, poor service, missed and bad connections if travelling across country. Why it is assumed no one wishes to travel Sunday I have never understood. Add to this rail works and bad journeys turn into nightmares.
My journey had half an hour added on the the beginning, another half an hour added at the end. A journey which the previous weekend was one and a half hours, was now two and a half hours. I would arrive Brighton half past midday, rather than midday. Not too bad, I could look in Grocer and Grain, the excellent food store which I had discovered the previous weekend, time to wander down the the seafront, maybe walk along the seafront and along Brighton Pier, and then to North Laine for lunch at Iydea.
Well that was the plan, but it turned out to be wishful thinking.
I helped Mara, a French girl from Senegal who was uncertain where to go. As I was explaining, I failed to keep track of the time, looked up to see my train leaving. Not to worry, a train to Hove in a few minutes, I could then walk from Hove along the seafront to Brighton.
If only. It was obvious Mara, whose English was very poor, was not going to find where she was going unaided, so at Hove, we change trains and we went two (or was it three) stations on, alighted and then tried to find where she was staying. We found it ok, she as then going to join me back to Brighton, get her a sim card for her phone, map and bus routes and a quick tour of Brighton. I reminded her she had left behind her bag. She went back to get it, then decided she was too tired.
I walked off to catch a bus. I just miss a bus. Half an hour later a bus turns up. I finally make it into Brighton some time gone 2pm!
Brighton is one of those places where not a weekend passes without something going on, some happening on the streets. At least that has been my experience from past visits.
Alighting from the bus, I happened upon a food market, part of a food festival. It sadly was in the wrong place and a major rethink is needed for its location. The street was too narrow, the stalls were jammed packed together cheek-by-jowl. You had to push and elbow your way through, it was difficult to see what was on the stalls as too crowded. But what I did see was scrumptious cakes, wines, beers, cheeses, sausages, pumpkins, mushrooms, apples, sweetcorn … It was just a pity that the location had not been given more thought. [see Brighton Food Festival]
It was tempting to eat off the stalls, but I was wishing to eat at Iydea. But when I got there my favourite table outside was occupied, therefore I decided to wander up to Grocer and Grain, have a brief chat with Hakan, but such are the best laid plans of mice and men, I happened upon a street party. I was made very welcome and encouraged to tuck into the food. The excellent sausages being grilled were from the Brighton Sausage shop in North Laine, the rest of the food, the savouries, the salads, the cakes, were made by the local residents. [see Kensington Place Street Party]
By now full, I walked back to Iydea. I was tired and thirsty. A cup of tea and freshly made fruit juice (though sadly not as good as fresh fruit juices from El Limon in Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife).
I decided to walk up to the station as I needed to check the train times, and then pop into Grocer and Grain, then back to North Laine to Infinity Foods (which is always a must when in Brighton).
Passing a health clinic and suffering a bad migraine attack, I thought pop in and get a couple of pain killers. Simple enough I thought, but sadly nothing in life is ever simple, I had to see a doctor. What seemed like a long wait, and probably was, I eventually saw a doctor. I was with the doctor at least ten minutes, or maybe it seemed that long. Maybe he thought I was having a brain attack. He wrote me out a prescription for painkillers, which I have yet to use, with me sat there thinking, all I need is a couple of painkillers, the stress making the pain worse. Eventually he thought that to be a good idea, went off and gave me a couple of painkillers.
By now no way was I going to get back to Infinity Foods.
I picked up train times from the station. I had a timetable but it was of no use as all the trains had been rescheduled for the day, but at least the man was helpful and explained what was going on.
A long chat with Hakan in Grocer and Grain. I suggested he made use of twitter. Took a few more pictures of his beautifully laid out shop. Bought peanut butter and Infinity Foods musili and Fast Food Nation a film I had seen before. [see Grocer and Grain]
One reason I wished to visit Infinity Foods was to buy some excellent chocolate that I had bought the previous week. It was for my lovely friend Sian but I had eaten it. I recommended that Hakan stock it, but could I remember its name. Luckily I came across it later in the day in Taj the grocer.
Whydark* from chocolate orginiko in Madrid, simply divine, but pricey.
I finally got down to the seafront around 6-30pm. It was still very warm in the sun. Too late for smoked kippers from Jack and Linda Mills, so I made do with a pot of cockles.
Brighton beach is not sand, it is pebbles, about the size of golf balls. People sit on the beach in small groups. There is something prehistoric about the way people sit in these small groups.
From the seafront I was able to watch a marvelous sunset.
In the gathering dusk I paid a quick visit to Taj the grocer. I was not going to bother, but I thought why not?
Back down to seafront. I walked along the seafront to Brighton Pier, but had no time to walk along the pier as my train was leaving early. I could have caught a later train, it was tempting, but I decided not.
On my away home I met Liudmila from Lithuania, to who I offered a guided tour of Guildford, which we passed through on the train. She had a much longer journey than me, and hers had started in Lithuania. It was a very pleasant surprise to be contacted by her the next morning on facebook and Skype.
I finally arrived home a little before midnight
If my last weekend trip to Brighton was more a food more than a music day out, then this trip was even more so.
It is strange. I thought I had not taken many pictures. I had taken one short of one hundred and ten. For those who cannot count, that is one hundred and nine! A selection has been put in a facebook album. [see Brighton September 2010 II]
As always in Brighton I missed my lovely Czech friend Iva who I used to meet for the day in Brighton.
Day Out in Brighton