Friday, August 15, 2014

Leathermen South, Brighton (2)


We had a much cooler night lying between the cooling fans (and sleeping the 'sleep of the just (cum)...  )

We decided that a day out in the car would be fun - and so headed out to the Roedean cafe for a hearty breakfast with the bikers, overlooking Brighton Marina, Roedean school for girls and St Dunstan’s (a very imposing training centre for blind Veterans).

Feeling nicely fortified, we headed along the coast road to Rottingdean - where we found a lucky parking opportunity that let us stop and take a look at the Art Deco Saltdean Lido (currently, sadly derelict).

We stopped again a little further down the road - and took a very pleasant walk along the undercliff walk with the iconic White Cliffs towering above us. Sir wanted to see if he could find the gay sauna that used to be in the town - but it seemed to have changed hands and was now a kick-boxing club... We had an enjoyable stroll up into the village though - guided by a helpful recommendation from Master Derek to visit the local St. Margaret's Church, knowing that I would love to see the Pre Raphaelite stained-glass windows designed by Burne-Jones - sadly, there was a service in progress, so we could only see their blurred outlines from outside...

We did find the lily-strewn village pond though - and had a very pleasant walk around the Kipling gardens (yes, that Kipling...); we even caught a little of a Croquet match going on in the nearby club - and had a pleasant chat with a group of Film Students who were filming a video for a local folk group (with the pup instantly going into 'Media-Librarian' mode ;) )

Sir also managed to bag Himself a HUGE Chinese fan at one of the brick-a-brack shops in the town as we headed back to the car (and a bag of deliciously juicy nectarines for our supper back at the hotel...)

The weather was starting to look a little cloudy, so we headed on via the South Coast Road, taking a lazy tour through Telscombe Cliffs, and Peacehaven - finally ending up at Newhaven to look at the River Ouse, the Fort and the breakwater - before heading inland on the ‘long way around' to Alfreston.

The village is pure Sussex Weald: with a narrow winding mainstreet closely flanked by flint-and-thatch cottages, a village green - and even a little flint 'lock-up' for the odd ruffian. Sir couldn't get hold of a key, so the pup was safe ;).  We did have great fun poking our nose around both the old post office (with its Lamson wire cash carrier still in place) and the gadget-stuffed Steamer Trading Cookshop.

The weather had finally caught us up by this time, so we found a comfy table at Badger's Tea Room and smugly sat out the showers with a deliciously languorous afternoon tea of delicious home-baked cheese and pecan scones (served in a little trug and an elegant silver tea pot and enjoyed from fine vintage china; most elegant!)

When the rain finally stopped (and we'd eaten as much as we could!), we finally ended our little coastal tour by heading up to the view point at High'n'Over: enjoying the beautiful view down the meandering river towards the Severn Sisters and the sea.

We'd had such a nice day that we didn't really feel like heading straight to the hotel - and ended up taking a detour into Brighton Marina for long slow stroll around the shops - and an envious window-shop at the boats, imagining what it might be like to own and sail one of the vast yachts. We stopped for a while to cool ourselves with a smoothie - and sneaked into the Seattle hotel for a quick reccie, to see if it would be worth staying there for our next visit - and finally settled for a nice little pasta meal at the Brasserie Bar and Grill on the boardwalk - watching in wonder at the murmuration as the starlings came in to gather on a tower crane, and then flew under the superstructure of the nearby restaurant to roost for the night...


We had quite a night that night.

We were woken early by a horrendous drumming: the sound of some of the biggest hail I have ever seen battering the Hotel roof above us; this was shortly followed by a huge and lingering thunderstorm - one of the heaviest the South Coast had seen for several years. Not that we really minded: the dog simply made tea and we sat at the window to watch the free light show for an hour until it passed - then went back to sleep ;)

Sadly, we didn't see the lightening that hit the pier

(Copyright @Earth_post ) 

The storm had kindly knocked out the power, so we showered and packed in darkness when we finally woke for real - and had fun ignoring the tripped fire alarms, and running up and down 4 flights of stairs to pack the car (since the lift was out of bounds...) - finding a nice pile of hail still waiting for us, left behind by the storm.

The storm messed with our breakfast plans too: we had planned to eat at a lovely French Cafe we had spotted on our first day (Eggs Florentine! the dog's favourite :) ), but they were flooded out by the rain, so we headed to the Crumpety Tree cafe instead, and consoled ourselves with a warming (and delicious!) bowl of porridge and a shared Pan au Chocolate instead.

Packed and checked out, we were then free to make a delightfully bumbling journey back home.

We called at Worthing, just for 'Old time's sake' - visited the Lido and the two swimming pools (old and new), and had a look at the bird monument in Beach House Park. We also stopped for a while to watch some rather interestingly garbed workmen trying to unblock the flooded drains in the Aquarena's subterranean car-park; Sir in particular enjoyed watching them struggling in the cloudy water in their high-vis, tall boots and elbow-length gloves (even though we also felt sympathy for the owners of the cars, flooded to their windows...). We ended our little trip down memory lane by having tea at the pup's old favourite, the Dome.

From Worthing it was then on to Fareham - and a little detour to deliver a part from Sir's Kenwood chef to be refurbished and resprayed. Since we were close, Sir suggested that we stop for a while at Stoked Bay - and sat to watch the boats plying the Solent, back and forth to the Isle of Wight (and plan to perhaps make a bike-trip there ourselves one day, perhaps...?) - before finally heading for the motorway and our way back home to our waiting Men.

What a great weekend. Thank you Derek, Aroi, and all the guys at Leathermen South for giving us such a good time - and my thanks especially to my lovely Man for taking His dog to the coast for a dirty weekend!

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