There’s nothing I like better on a sunny day than to pile in to a car full of people I love and meander down to the coast through country lanes and pretty villages. The closer to the sea you get, the greater the anticipation becomes; the air becomes fresher, salty, freeer, somehow, than the close, smutty city air I am used to breathing, and each bend in the road has the potential to reveal that first tantalising glimpse of the sea, sparkling enticingly in the distance.
On Saturday my family and I headed down to Brighton for a lovely day out together. We were going to see my brother’s girlfriend’s paintings displayed in the University of Brighton’s famous graduate show, where all of the final year BA students on applied arts and textiles courses display their work to thousands of people over one weekend as a kick start to their careers. It was a wonderful show and I predict there will be several future stars in the graduating class of 2010.
Below you can see one of Natalie’s beautiful paintings; she is half Danish and all of her paintings are depictions of her memories of childhood holidays spent in Denmark. You can also see a budding art critic sauntering along underneath; my three year old nephew George.
After looking around the show we moved on to a local organic restaurant and market style shop, Bill’s, for lunch. The food was delicious, but the interior itself was what entranced me the most; shelf upon shelf of the most delicious looking, beautifully packaged foods, some of which I had never seen before. From pickled lemons (no limes, though!) in jars to organic pink lemonade, jams and chutneys of all conceivable kinds to home made beers, there was something for everyone, and all arranged in a most eye catchingly colourful manner. Quite a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach!
After eating our fill, we headed off to the beach, making our way there through the lush gardens of the beautiful Georgian Royal Pavilion, commissioned by George IV in 1815 (not finished until 1823) and built by the famous architect John Nash. Brighton is now well known as a hub of ‘alternative’ culture and so somehow this exotic creation, with its minarets and oriental detailing, does not manage to look out of place by the British seaside. I didn’t get the chance to go inside, but the gardens were wonderful and I’d love to go back sans nephews for a longer look another time.
Finally we made it to the pebbly expanse of beach that is famous for its piers; one, a thriving holidaymakers’ heaven, complete with death-defying drop you over the edge if you don’t hold on tight fairground rides, the other a blackened skeleton, far out to sea, the only remains of the once fine Victorian structure that sadly burned down a few years ago. We had a wonderful time down at the beach; good company, deckchairs, icecream, a ride on the carousel and a paddle in the sea; all the ingredients you need for a glorious day out at the Great British seaside, and not a drop of rain in sight! Hurrah!