…. so I have been back in my old hometown, Brighton – and what a lovely re-union that was. It must be at least 10 years since my last visit.
Lived in Brighton 6 years before I hit Belfast – a bit of a culture shock at the time, but Belfast became more of a hometown to me than Brighton. I suppose it was all down to that I was never at home during my years in Brighton.
I always so busy around the UK coastline with 9 ports and 27 vessels in its most to keep an eye on. One year I slept 200 nights in hotels, but I enjoyed every free day that I had in Brighton.
It was meant that I was going to stay in London, but when I looked at the hotel prices – no way I would pay nearly that kind of money for just sleeping. Normally London has great offers on in January, but those days seems to be gone. And I didn’t need London more than the “Cirq” day. And the trains run nearly 24/7 between Brighton and London – the journey is only 45 min.
Got a fantastic deal with my favorite low cost hotel chain, Premier Inn, most centrally located hotel in Brighton. £179 for 4 nights with breakfast – that is what one night in London would have cost me, without breakfast. I made a great choice.
Brighton hasn’t changed much: they have a massive H&M, Superdrug’s had moved to the other side of Western Road and my little yellow busy bus #7 are now a big red doubledecker. There was a new apartment building by the Royal Hospital and one on the seafront, that didn’t look right … in with all the beautiful Victorian buildings, didn’t look right. Brighton has got a big wheel and off the old West Pier, only the skeleton left.
I had just moved to Belfast when the West Pier went all on fire and destroyed everything of structure that was left. But I think what is left of it has it place and it gives character to the seafront.
There was more £-pound shops and local supermarket’s convenience stores in the city centre.
My first day I decided to walk down memory lane in the beautiful sunshine and walk from my hotel to St Mary’s Sq, where “my” fantastic townhouse is. I walked the famous narrow Brighton Lanes; with their unique small shops, cafes, restaurants and jewelers.
Walked along the beach … until my camera battery went flat and when I put in my spare, it wasn’t charged. So I had to go back to the hotel for charging … took me about 1,5 hours. Was lucky, because the sun disappeared while I was off the streets.
Out again together with the sunshine again and I walked to the Royal Pavilion – there was so much ground construction going on all around the building, but what a fantastic building. The details never end. Built in stages between 1787 and 1823 for, the Prince Regent, later King George IV. Truly impressive and beautiful building.
St James’s Street was the street was the street I walked most while living in Brighton, from The Old Steine to where I lived. My supermarket in the beginning was in those days, Safeways – today Morrisons. The Chinese Clinic still there, that sorted out two of my colleagues hand problems.
Either somebody has made the street longer since I moved away or I am truly getting older, because I walked and walked and walked and walked …. throught the colorful and bohemian Kemp Town. It took nearly a life time to reach my old quarters, but there St Mary’s Sq was at last and “my” old house (#18) looked in great shape. Still a beautiful kept area just a block away from the seafront.
Every night I slept in the house I had the sea rocking me to sleep through my open bedroom window and I could also smell the sea, something that will always stay with me.
But there was also the dark side of Brighton, that hadn’t changed neither – all the homeless and even more of them, sleeping outdoors during the cold nights. And all the drunken youth, even on a Monday evening. What hurt me most was that most of them was young girls.
One thing is for sure – Brighton still rocks me in more than one way.
“Oh, Brighton! Brighton!
What a place thou for love, liberty, and salt water.”
SAMUEL BEAZLEY, Jr