The Half-Term Duo - Part 2

Welcome back, recollections of my recent half term getaway continue.20181021_153357

So, with the departure of Andy & Janet we were back to four. The wonder that is the Brighton & Hove Buses ticket App allowed for the purchase of a ticket covering four people so in the gorgeous early afternoon sunshine we headed in to Brighton. I was looking forward to this almost as much as my friends because it was ages since I’d walked around Brighton just for the sake of it.

The North Laine area was first with it’s wonderfully varied shops, stalls, pubs and eateries. I’d never pondered this before but walking around it very much reminded me of Camden Town, though on a smaller scale. I managed to resist the temptation to open the wallet but it didn’t take long for the others to part with some folding. A quick pint and a healthy late lunch of er, nachos and chips suppressed the hunger pangs before we headed towards the front and Brighton's famous The Lanes, the only expenditure here being more erm, refuelling.

20181021_152234Last port of call was the pier. It’s years since I’d been on here so was really pleased to have an excuse. Donuts were procured and soon consumed in the late afternoon sun. I was tempted to have a go on the Waltzer - which is about my limit when it comes to fairground rides, but not tempted enough to part with nearly a fiver, robbing gits.

The evening saw us head out in search of a Sunday roast. Not too hard you wouldn’t think on a Sunday. Hmm. My local Stonehouse pizza/carvery joint would happily serve us three meats, greens, carrots, Yorkshires and gravy. But they’d run out of roast and mash potatoes. We bundled back in the car and headed a few miles east to their Peacehaven restaurant who’d thrown in the towel entirely and were packing up. Third time lucky? Well, not really. On entering the Smugglers we were greeted with a Sales Prevention Officer who said ‘we’ve got a very limited menu tonight and please don’t ask for any roasts’. What a welcome. The immediate instinct was to walk out but our bellies had other ideas and eventually we settled for burgers and fish and chips, all of which were at least very tasty.

On of things I wanted to do before the inter was take off our canopy that resides on the awning rail. It’s not light and it seemed silly to haul it around when I probably wouldn’t be using it until next May at least. At over four meters long its unwieldy  but I knew I could find somewhere in the flat for it if only I could get it off and home. The screws in the stoppers had both sheared off but some careful parting of the awning rail with a large screwdriver done the trick and the canopy was soon on the deck unrolled to get rid of any moisture. Some gentle taps with the hammer closed the gap on the rail back up. It wasn’t perfect and I wouldn’t have done it on a new ‘van but Patsy has her fair share of war wounds now anyway so one more minor one won’t make much difference.

Adam very kindly said we could put the canopy in his car - well most of it anyway - there was still a fair bit sticking out, and between us we got it up the obstacle course masquerading as the stair well in my block and dumped it in the hall. It was a job I was glad to have got out of the way and also glad that I had some help doing it.

Rosie doesn't go very far without being burdened by Patsy on the back these days so I was happy to drive as we decided to head east again, stopping first for a walk on the beach at Seaford, before heading around the town and finding a car park from which we could walk over Seaford Head to the Cuckmere estuary. Now I pass this everyday on the main road and have always wanted to do the walk - to me it’s one of the most picturesque parts of the Sussex coastline and the view, taking in the old cottages is just wonderful. I found myself again reflecting that Trev had never got to see this view as I know he’d have loved it. Oh well.

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Our final stop saw us again on Eastbourne pier indulging in afternoon tea, sarnies, scones and cake. Once again we apparently randomly chose a table with five chairs. That reminder again. Anyway, it all went down very well indeed and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

The boys did their own thing for tea in their ‘van whilst I joined Alison for another buffet in hers. The boys joined us later on to help despatch the rest of the last supper and make the most of our last night together. I reflected on how much fun I’d had showing everyone around my adopted home city and county. It had been a cracking few days - couldn’t have been much better probably but there was of course a noticeable absence.

I was the first to depart on Tuesday and thanks to a little bit of thought packing up was reasonably swift. Ok, it’s always going to take longer with just one of us but I’d been pondering ways to save a bit of time here and there. I left the bed up - there was no need to put it away - but the one time consuming task I’d found was finding homes for all the bits and bobs that go out when I set up - table lamps, fake orchid, that sort of thing. All stuff that doesn't seem to naturally fit anywhere else. My solution? A large plastic tub, wedged in-between the seats at the front with cushions and a chock to stop it sliding backwards, Anything loose was chucked in here, using Trev’s tried and tested method of cushions wedged in the gaps to stop stuff rattling. It worked a treat and would save time the other end too. Outside, the motor mover wrench wedged over the break pedal made checking the lights easy.

Much hugging and kissing ensued before I pulled away - sad to be saying goodbye but happy in the knowledge that I would be seeing them all again for New Year. A little apprehensive too as I was going to be on my own from now on although I was also relishing the tow up to Crystal Palace.

Ok, so now you might be confused. How can you have a duo with three parts? Well the duo refers to the two sites - honest. See how I got on at Crystal palace in Part 3.

Cheers

Rich.



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