Today was a beautiful, sunny day in Brighton. I had been sad about leaving the beautiful French spring to come back to rainy, dismal England, so I was pleasantly surprised. I woke up early to get to school. Our studio work is being marked today and tomorrow, and I hadn’t had a chance last night to set up all of my work. Fortunately, I was able to sneak in before the teachers today and get it all taken care of. I had already begun cleaning and such so there wasn’t much left to take care of.
After this, I headed to class. My faculty option is coming to a close. Our final critique will be a week from today. The work I’ve done for that class is some of the best I think I’ve done this year. It’s the sketchbook I’ve talked about in the past. I’m not drawing from life while I travel (I have a camera for that, and time is precious) but instead I’ve been making drawings based on memories and impressions. I’ve never really drawn from out my own head before. It’s always been from some kind of physical reference. I’ve found the project challenging, interesting, and rewarding. It will be interesting next Tuesday to see what the class thinks of it.
Now, my friend Marcos and I have long been planning to have a day in Brighton. He leaves for Wales in a few days, so today was actually our last chance to see each other. It turned out to be a beautiful day for the beach. The sun was shining (and I packed my sunscreen) so we spent some time on the beach. The tide kept chasing us backwards. It always comes in so much more quickly than you expect.
Eventually a few clouds passed over the sun and it started to get breezier. We decided to walk over to the pier. It’s like any pier, picturesque and full of arcades and amusements. Fun to spectate. We made a full circuit, and considered riding the bumper cars… but no one else was on them, so we passed.
On the beach just beyond the pier, between it and the ferris wheel, we spied mini golf. It’s been a long time since either of us had played, and we decided today was as good a day as any. It was a close game. I had some pretty bad runs but two hole-in-one’s, and Marcos had a consistently good game. The sun was out again and it was a gorgeous afternoon. Since it was 18 holes, we deemed it best to sit down and add up our scores when we could concentrate. Neither of us wanted to win due to bad math, after all.
We went from there across the street to have fish n’ chips. It was my first time back to Harry Ramsden’s, the location of my first English fish and chips. It was delicious, but just way too much food and way too little to drink. There is no scam in the world like soda in Europe. It’s such a racket. Such a racket, in fact, that afterwards my diet coke craving had not been satiated and we were forced to make a trip to Poundland. You can get three cans for a pound there, the best value I’ve found since I got here.
From here, it was on to explore the North Lanes. Marcos has only been to Brighton once, as a child. Since it was his first time to really explore it, I wanted him to see all the iconic Brighton shops. It was also a useful trip. My current purse is literally falling apart, so I was in the market for a new one. I had noticed a few months ago that a particular second hand shop had a large collection of Dooney and Bourke purses. They’re beautiful leather and quite high quality, and it’s worth spending a little money on something that you know is going to last. I found the perfect one, and it will be great on my upcoming travels as well.
Marcos and I carried on, mostly window shopping until we found an interesting book store. It was full of every kind of picture book, from children’s illustrated to graphic novel to comics. It was magical. We got lost in there for quite some time. It was an eclectic collection. My favorites were Cat Getting Out of a Bag (and other observations), Darth Vader & Son, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not to mention all of the wonderful Niel Gaiman collection. We had to leave eventually just because my little heart couldn’t stand it anymore. I wanted all of the books.
The sun was going down and the weather was getting chillier. We headed to a pub called Horse and Waggon (yes, with two g’s) that seems to have been around forever. We killed time and drinks and did some catching up until an appropriate time for dinner. Oh, and we added up our score from mini golf. After checking and re-checking our math, eventually using a calculator, it was official: we tied. 49 to 49.
I was dying to try a Mexican place we had passed earlier. I never thought I’d see the day that I missed Mexican food, but that day had finally arrived. It was alright, but a little too fancy for my taste. They were trying a bit too hard. Still, it wasn’t about the food. This is probably my last chance to see Marcos before I leave England. Considering that he is perhaps my best friend here, this isn’t easy. We had a long meal and a long talk. It was late by the time we finished, and it’s a long journey back to London. I walked him to the train station and… that was goodbye.
It’s hard to believe that my time here is ending, but the “last”s of things are beginning. It might be more difficult than it was to leave Kansas City. I knew I’d be coming back there someday. I don’t know when I’ll ever be back here again.