Yesterday morning I went for a walk along Brighton seafront. I had dropped off my car for a service and arranged to meet up with my business partner in Hove. It’s a long time since I’ve walked all the way along the seafront from Brighton into Hove. I don't get out often!
A sure sign of summer – hordes of foreign students standing in large groups taking up the pavement and talking loudly to each other. Never in small groups, they appear to prefer safety in numbers and move around or rather stand, in groups of twenty to thirty so manoeuvring round them usually requires stepping out in front of the oncoming traffic or forcing your way through them with their brightly coloured rucksacks.
The seafront it full of the standard things you’d expect to see. Candy-floss and sweet stalls, shops selling buckets and spades and postcards, fish and chips, plus the ‘World Famous – Gypsy Rose’, well I think it was actually Professor … someone or other, there's always one of those. We do however, have the World Famous Pump Room – an ice cream shop selling 30 plus varieties of ice cream. There are of course also the usual mix of pubs and more and more clubs appearing alongside the boutiquey art shops with their seaside portrayal of deckchairs, sunsets and seagulls and the now very dilapidated West Pier, an old fashioned carousel and a spreading array of tables and chairs to give the impression of a Mediterranean seaside climate. Bit chilly this morning and pebbles isn't quite the same.
It was still early, so there were several delivery trucks moving up and down along the paved walkway and a group of eager OAPs ‘walking for health’ from one pier to the other. Although much of the area has been greatly improved over the years as you walk further west along the promenade it gets more and more worn out. The West Pier is rapidly disintegrating into the sea – there’s not much left of the walkway out to the end. More of it fell into the sea in the recent storms. All that’s now left is the bare bones of the structure. They’re going to have a hard time restoring it now. Someone has also filled in what was a paddling pool with a large area of tarmac, which is a sad solution. The old bandstand is due to be restored, which might at least be an easier task than trying to tackle the West Pier.
I ended up at the Meeting Place Café on Hove Lawns for a coffee, to sit, think and watch the sea for a while – still in the sunshine which was warm if you ignored the cool sea 'breeze'.