Monday, 10 July 2017

Brighton Beach Memoirs

Beautiful Brighton beach huts 
I was lucky enough to get some 'me-time' this weekend. Now I know that previous generations scoff at the idea, but with the long holiday coming up I realised I hadn't had a break away from the children since October last year. I love my boys - of course I do - but being with them every single day is wearing and tiring and frankly you can have too much of a good thing. Assuming your idea of a good thing is bickering, random shouting, screams and boisterousness.

Masts and skyline
Often me and Hubbie struggle to find babysitting so we can't always go to shows together. On the last 4 occasions that I've had tickets for Stewart Lee we've gone together twice and I've been once on my own and Hubbie went without me when Brown Bear was unwell and insisted on me staying home with me. I held out until the last possible opportunity then a kindly friend stepped in. I was gutted to miss it though. So now if we see a gig we want to go to we try and arrange to go together, but sometimes it just isn't possible. This is how I came to be at an Eddie Izzard gig in Brighton and decided to stay over and make a weekend of it by myself.

Me and my Mum on the West Pier
Like a lot of fellow Londoners I love Brighton. I've been visiting since I was a tiny baby when my parents would drive down - usually on the weekend of a vintage car rally so we'd end up stuck in traffic behind a Genevieve style motor. I went to the Grand for afternoon tea on my 40th birthday and my first husband proposed to me on a weekend staying in a boutique hotel in Regent Square. Me and Hubbie go to a two day festival at the Concorde 2 every August and one of our favourite places to eat is tucked away amongst the trippy hippie shops and chi chi coffee bars.

Sitting down to take in the sea on the prom
I have history with Brighton and any chance I get to go there I take it. My mini-break didn't start so well with me missing the train I was aiming for and then the one I was on sat outside Hayward's Heath due to animals on the track at Wivelsfield - no I am not making this up. So when I finally arrived in Brighton I went to check into my hotel - I booked to stay at the Grand, which is wonderful and luxurious as you'd expect. It is also covered in scaffolding and polythene at the moment so the room rate was heavily discounted to reflect this absence of a view from the windows. It didn't matter though as I had this gorgeous tea making set and movies on the TV !

Such a classy way to take tea 
It was a late night with a very noisy wedding reception downstairs until 1pm. At least I was able to watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show until the music finished and I was able to settle down to sleep. When I was checking in the receptionist had asked if I wanted a wake up call and I smiled at him and said, "No thank you I'll wake up naturally." Which is an odd expectation to have when I haven't woken up in a fashion I'd call 'natural for nearly 7 years. It was with what I can only describe as poetic irony that I found myself wide awake at 6am with no idea what the weather was like outside. I decided to go for a run and it was just beautiful - and already quite warm. Such a lovely start to my day.

Stunning Brighton Beach in the early light 
After a leisurely breakfast I went back to my room (sorry, I mean suite) to listen to the Archers omnibus. I usually listen while cleaning the kitchen or bathroom and I rarely give my full attention to the radio. On this occasion, however, I was able to relax and settled down with a cup of tea that I drank before it went cold. Oh the bliss. I'm not the best at seeing when I need to take a break and will often keep going long after I've run out of energy. This weekend was a chance to recharge and to spend time in a place that I really love. I won't leave it so long in future. 

West Pier - sadly a mere skeleton now 

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