10 Days in Brighton, UK (part 1)

John&Jan in LewesJan has been living in Brighton, England since September to take care of our two granddaughter, India, while our daughter Heather has surgery. She will probably be there through January, so I went for a ten-day visit. Here is my trip report.

Day One

First full day in Brighton. I thought I was doing well with jet lag until tonight (strange bed etc.). Woke up at midnight and I’m having a hard time falling back asleep. It was a “blustery day” today but so wonderful to be here.

Jan made breakfast. The English have a slice of toast and coffee, but Jan knows how much I love the “most important meal of the day.” Then we took a double decker bus into town and walked in the wind and rain. Finished the day by picking India up from pre-school and pushing the pram home (uphill).

Jan has rented a couple of rooms in a home for us to stay in. It gets dark early (5:00) so to stay awake Jan and I walked up the lane to a little British pub (lots of dark wood) and I had “bangers and mash” (sausages with mashed potatoes, gravy and peas) and tried to drink a beer like the everyone else. I don’t think I’ve done that since Army Basic Training forty-years ago. The taste hadn’t changed so I changed to Diet Pepsi. It’s brown fuzzy water for this Yank!

Day Two

No rain or wind today but it’s still cool and overcast. Dixie visited the doctor and spent the day in bed resting while Jan, Heather, India and I walked to the beach and went shopping. The shops in the lane were amazing. I really enjoyed browsing the old bookstores. We bought some wool hats and had a wonderful time. India’s new phrase is “Papa’s mustache…” I also discovered we both like olives and gelato (don’t ask).

Day Three

Went to the village of Lewes today. The clouds broke up for a little while and gave me a chance to take some pictures. They have old stuff here. I visited a bookshop from the 16th century and the first castle built after the Norman conquest! I love the “downs” — the rolling hills just north of the coast although I wonder why they didn’t call them the “ups”?

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India in the Toy Store

Papa made a mistake and took India to a little toy shop. I know they have old stuff in Lewes but people did look at the Yank hauling around a giant, green rubber dinosaur through the town (or is it a dragon?) The thing was so big, we buckled it into the seat beside India in the car and Jan and I took the train back to Brighton! Granddaughters smile and Papa gives them whatever they want. It’s a law of nature…

Day Four

My two impressions of Sussex so far are: they have old stuff and it rains a lot. Today it poured so hard we stayed in. It seemed like a good day for laundry. English washing machines are quite small and the instructions are written in German. Ours has an option for “drying” but I think it actually just makes the wet clothes steam. Thus the custom is to spread your clothes throughout the house and wait for summer when they will finally be dry. Since your clothes will be instantly wet when you walk outside, it really doesn’t matter if they are dry or just warm feeling does it?

I do like the fact that you don’t have to turn in your “man card” if you order hot chocolate instead of coffee here. Sweet Rolls are called either “Swirlies” or “Chelsea’s Buns.” That sounds a bit off-color to me so I just order a croissant.

Day Five

Today is “Remembrance Day” in Great Britain (like our Memorial Day/Veterans Day) and I must say I was impressed. At exactly 11:00 everyone stops for 60 seconds and remembers those who have gone before. I happened to be in the local 7-10 food store when an announcement came over the intercom calling all the employees to the front. I was checking out, but when 11:00 struck, we stopped and everyone froze wherever they were and waited. It was most impressive except for the old bat who used that opportunity to by pass all the lines. I guess you have them everywhere.

Jan and Dixie are both quite ill now and spent the day confined to their beds. It was the first blue sky day we’ve had so I made lunch and then took the bus into town to explore on my own. Not much to report but I still can’t figure out how that mermaid got tattooed on my … just kidding.

To be continued…

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