Sunday, April 26, 2009

China Lust

Spotted in a window in Boston. I want them now.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Puzzling British Road Signs: Part 3

Seeing Sights

Easter Monday, which is a holiday here, we rose early and drove East down the coast, though a fine mist that blurred the edges on everything. The mist lifted as we drove and the sun came outt. It was that first perfect warm sunny day of the year when I always feel as if the sun is filling the dark empty corners of my mind. We drove as far as Birling Gap, which is a notch in the cliffs where the Coast Guard once kept watch for smugglers and where you can now buy coffee, cream teas, and spend the night. We got out to walk on the cliffs. We used to walk on the downs when we lived here a long time ago, but we couldn’t find the place where we walked. There were a number of crowded new parks along the way and we think it may have been incorporated into them.

After hanging about the coast for a while, we meandered inland along tiny roads, eventually ending in Lewes, where the COG and I worked for a while. We had lunch in a pub by the River Ouse there. Lewes is a lovely bustling old town with a ruined castle. Then we drove back to Brighton and down the coast to the west.

The white horse carved in the hillside, which you see in one picture, dates only from the 1920's. Still rather cool to come across it unexpectedly.

Later in the afternoon, we drove back through Brighton and sent west, toward Portsmouth and Southhampton. We only got as far as Worthing. This direction is much less impressive. In fact, it's rather horrid. Kind of industrial and rough. Worthing was prettier, but we didn't really see it. We just turned around there.

Finally we drove back to Gatwick, returned the rental car and took the train home. I will just say, in a philosophical vein, that the experience of returning a rental car is much different when you aren’t in a hurry to catch a flight somewhere.

Seeing Family

Spent Easter Sunday as follows: rose early and walked to the station to catch a 7am train to Gatwick airport, where we rented a car. Drove 3 hours to Birmingham to spend a lovely afternoon with the COG’s relations, then drove 3+ hours back to Brighton. Arrived very tired, but were delighted to discover a parking place right in front of the flat. We had previously earmarked many places where we might park, but really never expected one of the few spots on this street to be open.

All in all, a very good day.

Puzzling British Road Signs: Part 2

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Brighton Pavilion, again

Just details of the Pavilion and the gardens around it, which have been restored to the way they were in 1820. The original gardens were designed by John Nash who also designed the Pavilion.

By Contrast, Here is the Breakfast Room in the Hotel

Here are a couple of pictures of the breakfast room of the hotel we were in (The Royal York, a regency period hotel recently restored to glory). The ceiling was really beautiful, the picture doesn't do it justice.

New Digs in Brighton

We've moved into a self-catering flat for the remainder of our stay and it's wonderful - very warm and yet industrial. It's a one room studio with a kitchen on one side of the room and the bed on the other. The bed has a cool frame made of copper piping, at once warmly artisanal and industrial.

The flat also has lovely wood floors and stripped pine doors. Plus, it has a lovely roof deck, which we will enjoy if it stops raining.

The COG said, as we walked in the rain along the seafront,

"this is why the British like to vacation in the South of France or Spain."

Puzzling British Road Signs: Part 1


Friday, April 10, 2009

Street Art

Brighton is a lovely old town with some outstanding Regency and Victorian architecture, but it's also a vibrant university town, full of young people. And there is some fantastic street art.

Godawful Shoes

These are poor quality pictures because they were taken through the window, but if you look you can see some of the godawful shoe styles that are all over here. Stiletto heels look like torture devices, true, but at least they are graceful and elegant looking and do wonderful things for your legs and posture. These heavy, strapped and platformed clunkers are neither graceful nor elegant and they do terrible things to your legs, by cutting them off at the ankle.

View from Hotel room Window

In memory of my father, who always took pictures of the view from his hotel room window, here is the view from our hotel room. The Pavilion is just up the street on the left, you can kind of see the tops of some of the spires through the trees. This was actually taken a couple of days ago, and the trees are much more fully leafed out, now.

Seagull Behavior

The COG and I are enjoying the gulls here in Brighton. Residents complain about the noise and the bustle, but I love them. I love their raucous sound and I love their bully boy aggressive behaviour.

Yesterday we watched some girls on a park bench feeding crumbs to pigeons. The gulls showed up, squawking and swaggering and demanding their share. I noticed, though, they didn't actually displace the pigeons. They made a lot of noise, but their behaviour actually seemed pretty polite, for birds.

One of the seagulls was a juvenile, like the picture here, which is from the internet. He was as big as the adult gulls, but still spotted brown. His behavior was particularly interesting. He assumed a different posture, with his neck pulled back and his beak open and up - like a baby bird in a nest - and he made a high baby squeaking sound. He wasn't any more successful than the other birds, though, the girls on the bench didn't seem to understand.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Random Pictures of Brighton

The famed Brighton Pavilion, built by the Prince Regent in the early 19th century and the place where (the fictional) Judith Taverner and Lord Worth both realize that the other one doesn't hate them as much as each had feared since their Big Scene in Crutchfield, in Georgette Heyer's, Regency Buck.

And the famed Brighton Pier.

And Spring flowers near the Pavilion.

The Bride Photographing the COG Photographing...

I snapped this of the COG as he was photographing the Brighton Town Hall, where we were married a long long time ago. At least, we were married in the Registry Office, and this is where the Registry Office is, so we kinda think it must be where we were married. Neither of us actually remembers, though we are sure it's the same place where Lawrence Olivier was married.

And we remember the ceremony - a civil ceremony. The person who married us said "Do you promise to stay married as long as you want to? Sign here." And so far neither of us has not wanted to.