Yesterday we took the bus to Eastbourne. We sat upstairs on a double decker because about half of the ride is lovely, with beautiful views of the sea and downland. We will not speak of the other half of the ride.
The COG and I think Eastbourne is hilarious because we once heard it called 'the UK's largest open-air hospice,' because of it's reputation as the seaside resort for the elderly. Whereas Brighton's seafront is swinging, artsy, full of clubs and drunken youth and tacky seaside shops, Eastbourne's is dignified, with lovely gardens and the air of an exclusive nursing home. There are, indeed, many many elderly here.
These benches line the seafront in both directions and encircle all the paths in the extensive gardens. Each one of them has a memorial carved in the back: 'For Enid Harbuckle (1898 to 1992) who loved this place' or 'For Rose Clampton (1912 to 2001) Missed by her family' etc. There is something so sad and sweet and rather comforting about it.
We had tea in a building overlooking the sea and it really really felt like a nursing home. Many people in wheelchairs or zimmer frames looking out at the sea while drinking tea. Everywhere there were big signs cautioning people to mind the step etc. By the entrance there was an area for parking of motorized wheelchairs.
In the ladies bathroom, though, there were lots of stickers saying 'Testing Free, Treatment Free, Let's make East Sussex Chlamydia Free.' This made the COG and I giggle hilariously as we looked around at our fellow sea-gazers, quipping that they must be more swinging than they appear.
The seafront of Eastbourne is beatiful, though, with a number of lovely Victorian hotels and beautifully kept gardens. Much of the seafront is owned by the Duke of Devonshire which has kept developers of seaside tackiness at bay.