The Brighton Trip

Last week was really stressful, but the weekend was relaxing and really enjoyable so it all worked out. We’d been planning to go to Brighton for quite a while, some friends in Everquest were having a guild meet (The Blue Dragons) and we’d said we would be going along. It’s easy for us in Brighton because we can stay with Grete’s family down there, and the only pressure at the time was whether the Mondeo would make the journey or not. We sorted out the Mondeo issue by replacing the car, so we were happy the Megane would be fine.

And then last Sunday it all went to pot! Grete’s step dad wasn’t well so we couldn’t stay with them, and we had a frantic two hours checking the web and making calls to try and book a hotel. Needless to say, it’s not easy to get a hotel room in Brighton, in Summer, with only 4 or 5 days notice, and it’s virtually impossible to get somewhere at the budget end of the market. So we sucked it up and decided to just make a holiday of it, celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary a week late. We booked into the Queens Hotel, which is right on the sea front and pier in Brighton. We knew car parking would be a nightmare, but there’s one right next to the hotel (The Lanes) which was £15 for 24 hours (map here). Sounds a lot, but in Brighton it’s not so bad, and we knew we wouldn’t be needing to move the car once we parked up.

So we had the hotel booked, and we were getting more excited. We had a friend lined up to pop in and visit the cats on Saturday, they’re fine for 3 days / 2 nights on their own, but it’s nice if someone can pop in and check on them. Then of course, Bubbles had her ‘incident‘, so now with only 2 days to go we’re faced with having to give her antibiotics and really needing someone to check her every day to make sure she’s ok and her staples are in good condition. The vet we take her too recommended someone who can visit to feed cats while you’re away, and we managed to get in touch with her and she visited on Thursday, we got a key cut, and we were set. Of course, we also had to get Bubbles into the vets on Friday morning for a checkup (8am) so our weekend started at around 6:30am.

Bubbles was fine, Grete was back at 8:30am, I spent the last hour finishing up the packing and sorting out litter trays, food and water for the cats while she was out. We set off, the sun was bright, not a cloud in the sky. Quick stop at Tesco to pick up bottled water and have a solid breakfast, and we were on the M1 before 10am. Traffic to Brighton was as to be expected, M25 was slow, A23 was really bad into Brighton itself, and we finally got to the Lanes car park at around 3:00pm.

Checked in, flaked out!

But we hadn’t spent all that money so that we could sit in a too-hot hotel room, so we showered and headed out onto the sea front. The weather forecasts had all said it would be showery and overcast, but on the Friday it was steaming hot, blue skies and 28 degrees. We had a walk up and down the pier, and then met up with some friends and walked around a bit again, had some drinks and generally relaxed. Fish and chips on the pier was excellent. We managed to get some sleep on Friday night despite the heat, and were up bright and early for our cooked breakfast!

Saturday morning was spent wandering the Lanes in Brighton with our friends, before finally meeting up with the other Everquest players at the Clock Tower. From there we headed over to Donatellos for some excellent pizza, then some beers (in the Druid’s Head), then some wandering around and a visit to the pier, and more beer, and more food, and finally a few of us settled in Horatio’s and listened to some live music while the rest went in search of more quiet beer.

As we were leaving the pier, I’d had a couple of drinks, we passed a hen party leaving as well. A woman dressed as a nurse, in a short white rubber dress, a few others in various stages of fancy dress, and a woman who was clearly dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, complete with basket and red hood. As I was passing, I said ‘my, what big ears you have’ and she gave me a stare of death! She looked very confused, you’d think that if you’re going to dress up as a sexy little red riding hood you’d at least read the source material on which your costume is based, but apparently not. Anyway, it was only a few moments later when we realised if she hasn’t read the story she’s going to be going to bed worrying that she has big ears and some ugly oaf on the pier insulted her.

Sunday morning meant more cooked breakfast!! A quick exit from the hotel, moving the car to another car park near to the China Garden (superb Dim Sum place in Brighton, I can recommend them), and then some paddling on the beach! No offense to people from Brighton, but you really need to get the government to import some sand. You can not go paddling when the beach is covered in pebbles without getting hurt. We wore some crocs but the rocks just collected in them. Anyway the water was fantastically cool, the beach was great, the sun was hot (I got burned, yeh I know, but I didn’t think we’d be out long enough). We wandered around Brighton a bit, and then met up with friends for Dim Sum, which was excellent as always.

Finally we headed out, did the family rounds (meeting up with Grete’s folks) and headed home. Got back here around midnight on the Sunday. Bubbles is fine, but grouchy. We’re knackered, but had a fantastic time.