Friday, August 31
Grand Pier, 11:32
Last night I slept soundly, without waking to experience the joys of stomach ache. This I went down to breakfast feeling normal. We both had scrambled eggs; mine on toast and Irma’s on a plate. My breakfast went down well but still felt like slightly too much.
We walked down to the Grand Pier, paid our £1 entrance fee, and walked the length of the pier to the arcade at the end. As we walk we stop to look at the seafront and the sand. I photograph various aspects of it, including the dog walkers playing ball with their dogs, and the dogs happily swimming out to sea to retrieve the balls. By a happy accident, we have caught the tide at the right time for photographing like this.
The arcade emits more noise and shouting than Irma can tolerate, so we walk in, look upstairs, pause only to turn round, and then walk out again. The time we spend in there feels just about enough for me too.
Irma has an old £10 banknote that she needs to change at a bank. Lloyds will prove a better choice than Natwest.
After this we will decide to sit outside somewhere. We will choose the London Inn where I will spot little bottles of Babycham, which I had thought ceased to exist about thirty years ago. The barmaid will profess as much surprise as me, claiming that she had never seen it between childhood, when her grandmother drank it, and a few weeks ago, when she started working here.
Irma will like it.
We will look into The Indoor Market, which sells almost nothing but has a clairvoyant and someone who performs Angel Message Therapy. And no, I don’t mean “massage”.
We will walk through Grove Park, a real old-fashioned park, that leads us to a theatre, next to which stands a fine looking building called The Old Stable. We will enter to find a pub promising food, which we want. We will find nobody else: neither customers or staff.
Just as we turn to leave an old man (Italian and aged 75, we will learn later) will appear. He will tell us about how he used to run a successful restaurant upstairs but “you can’t get the staff anymore”. He now intends to sell it. As we finish our drink an estate agent will arrive with a couple of prospective buyers. We will hear him lock the door behind us as we leave.
We will have an early dinner at Nick’s Bar & Eatery. I will have a moussaka that a budget supermarket would have felt embarrassed selling.
Stopping at The Criterion as we pass it on the way home, we will learn that the barmaid (who might actually run the pub, since she seems visible all the time) goes by the name Aleysha, or Leesh to her regulars.
We will return to the Rosita to pack for our journey home tomorrow.