Friday morning we got up at a reasonable time to head to Brighton. The boy was staying with Mum and Dad, Dad was working but Mum being semi-retired now had the day off. We packed as lightly as we could and got a lift to Fareham station. The boy was good on the platform, waving to the trains, I think he knew we were heading off and leaving him but I'm not sure. He was very happy to be with his Nanny though, so the goodbye was fine.
The train journey was fairly dreadful. It's only an hour and a bit but it was quite crowded and noisy. Partly to do with the summer holiday and the number of families with kids there (hypocritical I know but we were having Adults Only time) but mostly one mentally handicapped guy who had a weird loud noise tic. Not the sort of thing anyone can say anything about poor guy, but no fun to be sat near. As we got off at Brighton Clare and I were both going "URRR!", I'm sure everyone who was on that train did it during the weekend.
We realised part way to Brighton that it was Gay Pride this weekend, we had no inkling before. This now explains why it was so hard to get a cheap hotel over the weekend. We did not choose this weekend because we are secretly gay, this very day the 12th of August was our wedding anniversary. So, how would the weekend go? At least there would be lots of things going on and a buzzing atmosphere, but would we have trouble getting in anywhere?
Our hotel, a MyHotel was very handily located, a short walk from the station and nice and central. It was not cheap (by my standards) at 320 for two nights, but was nice, modern, bit trendy, bit quirky. Stylish, quite gay. Most other people checking in were there particularly for pride. The room was good and spacious, little table, big wall mounted telly and integrated sound system that we could plug into, and a crazy curvy bathroom area that was not quite separated from the rest of the room. I took a panorama shot on thew new camera that I will try and embed about here:
Hungry by now, and aware of how many meals we really had to fit in to our short break so we went wild and crazy and spontaneous and went to... Wagamama. Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. It was so close to the hotel and it's what we wanted. Our waitress there was the girlfriend of an old work friend, who moved from Canterbury to Brighton quite recently. She was amazed we didn't know it was Pride and struggled to think of things that we might do that would not be sold out. It was a needless worry though, we wanted pubs and restaurants and a browse round the shops, all of which were OK.
I was using the Google plus on my phone a lot of the weekend, bit sad, and also taking pictures with the new camera that would hopefully be automatically geotagged, so I can probably plot out our exact route that day with a bit of care. Next place we checked in was the Black Lion, a nice looking pub, very old looking with a historical plaque out the front, but which was actually rebuilt fairly recently. We were in that part of town specifically to check out Jamie Oliver's restaurant, but decided against actually going there, a short menu, not much for me and too much adaptation required to make it suit. The Black Lion was OK, a nice place to sit and watch people go by (from the tables outside) but Clare sent one drink back because the glass was dirty, and the replacement was not actually much better. Don't think we'd bother going there again.
Some window shopping between all these pub stops, but not much noteworthy. Afternoon tea was at Infinity Foods Cafe, lovely vegan cakes, I did get a picture of this one:
Over tea we had a healthy discussion about how I did not buy Clare and anniversary present, nor even a card. I thought this trip was our anniversary present to each other, but I was misremembering, this was our holiday and a present should be separate. Clare wanted a massage, so I would pay for that. Clare googled "massage brighton", I'm glad to say not from my phone, and once you are in the mindset that "massage" really means "prostitute" then any ad that you see is going to look dodgy. I put Clare off a bit, well quite a lot. A place right by Infinity Foods looked good (relatively) and we plucked up the courage to go in. Inside Little Jasmine Therapies seemed nice and genuine, which gave Clare the courage to book the next session, she was happy to stay on her own, so I went to another pub.
The William IV was the pub I chose, mostly on proximity and a peek through the door to see how the pumps looked. There are so many great pubs with great ales in Brighton, it's lovely to see so many of them packed in tightly together and all doing well. The William IV was pretty quiet, maybe it's a different kind of pub to the norm in the area, felt very untrendy and a bit old mannish but that's what I like. They had three ales on, one from Kent, one from Sussex and one from Hampshire which I went for, a "Wild" from Ballards. I do not have great recall of every drink, only those I mentioned on my google plus checkins... I sat peacefully with my pint and read my new book Killing the Lawyers an old one by Reginald Hill that is quite good. After her massage Clare headed to the hotel to get changed, and I headed back a little after. No dandifying needed for me (or is it that you can't polish a turd), just a change of top and then straight out again.
Dinner was at Terre A Terre a great looking vegetarian restaurant that we'd booked earlier in the day. We were a little early so we headed for a pre-dinner snifter in (I think from looking on Street View) Varsity. Very quiet, but comfortable enough. We realised we'd spent time in this pub years back, drinking Hoegarden in the afternoon with friends on a visit to the town. Now to dinner! Terre A Terre is quite a fancy place, I was a bit worried about how much we'd spend but it came in very reasonable indeed. I was tempted by "tapas" (a spread of vege treats, a taste of this and of that, nothing actually Spanish though) and this was on offer a tray for two, with wine, for a set price of twenty something quid. So we got this between us, with some extra bread in case it was not filling, but it turned out OK. We had coffees and truffles after but were too full to face a proper pudding. This place was lovely, I would go back again.
After dinner Clare found her purse was gone :-( This put a dampener on things, was it someone sat near us in the restaurant, did she remember anyone bumping in to her in the street etc. As she'd bought drinks in the previous pub it had to be somewhere between here and there, so as a long shot we tried the pub again. The purse was there, handed in at the bar, cash and everything intact. Isn't it great to have your faith in human nature restored sometimes? We rewarded the pub by having another drink in there.
Instead of making it a hugely late night we had a bit of a walk round and just stopped in for one at the Waggon and Horses, which is on the same road as the hotel.
At some point in the afternoon we saw Zoe Ball in JoJo Maman Bebe a baby and maternity shop. I'm not starting the rumour that she's pregnant or anything, that's just you leaping to that conclusion. WE are not pregnant and we were in there, we were looking for a birthday present for a friend, maybe she was too.
Man alive I've spent too long writing about just the first day.
Time to collect the boy from nursery, then we're off to Canterbury for lunch. Making the most of my last actual day of holiday. More Brighton write up later, there are still two full days and then the rest of our week including a return to The Seagull, Peppa Pig World and more.