England Travelogue – Final Effing around Sussex, Food, Family, Flowers?

My sweet, sinful secret!

No trip to England would be complete without bringing back the booty!

And so our UK holiday was drawing to a close. For our last few days we decided to stay close to home and spend time with the family. Of course, there was last-minute shopping to do to fill those remaining nooks and crannies in our luggage. We had been sure that since we had brought over a fair amount of gifts and special requests from Canada that going back would not be a problem. Of course, the reality is that we can get almost anything in Canada now that is available in the UK (or Europe, for that matter). There are two very large caveats to this however. Firstly, the cost in Canada is often 3 or 4 times the UK price. Secondly, and far more important, is the fact that what we buy in Canada is often made under licence and is a sorry reflection of the real item.

A perfect example of this is confectionary. Cadbury’s chocolate fabricated in North America is just not the same! Who knows what will happen now that Kraft has had it’s evil way with this British institution.Maltesers made by Hershey? It’s tantamount to treason! But then Tim Hortons and The Bay haven’t  been Canadian for years now and nobody seems to notice or care?

Anyway, I digress! For the last three days, we spent the whole time in and around Eastbourne. My camera was relatively inactive during this time except for when we were dining out. Fortunately, we did this 3 times in the last couple of days of our stay. All three visits were memorable.

You probably know by now that I grew up in the South of England. Although I studied in Coventry in the Midlands, I lived in Eastbourne, on Gore Park Road pictured at left, for most of my teen years. The UK has undoubtedly changed a great deal in this time. However, looking down Gore Park Road, with the South Downs rising in the background, I am immediately transported back 35 years. In this particular shot, very little has changed noticeably, with the exception of the number of cars parked on the street. You could be forgiven for thinking that this doesn’t look too bad, but 35-40 years ago, during the day like this the street would have been practically  devoid of vehicles. In the evening, there will not be an available spot anywhere to be seen!

In the previous picture, you see us heading off towards Albert Parade where we are making the customary pilgrimage to the Trident, our local chippy, which has become almost legendary due to Dorothy extolling its virtues to all and sundry. If you perhaps think that it looks more like a bank branch than a fish & chip restaurant that is because it was formerly exactly that. I could insert a pun here about the manager having his chips because he got up to something fishy, but will refrain  from doing so! Dorothy and I subsequently took the rest of the afternoon working off our lunch in the certain knowledge that we would be eating out once again in the evening with my brother David and my sister.

I think that I may have mentioned in an earlier post how friends and family in Sussex give me credit for a way better memory than I actually possess. It is true that as a child and teenager, my work and leisure activities left me with a better knowledge of local geography than many who have lived there all of their lives. However, the intervening years have eroded vast portions of that mental map. When Joanne recommended that we go to the Gun Pub at Chiddingly, she might just have well have been talking Chinese! Yes, the name Chiddingly did vaguely ring a bell but I could not even have pointed the car in its general direction. Almost every time that I return home, I get very little time to just sit and chat with my brother and sister, so I deliberately left my camera at home this particular evening. I wanted the evening to be calm and relaxing. The picture of The Gun here is one from the pub’s own website. In truth though, we were so blown away with the food, and in particular the desserts that I was forced to borrow Dorothy’s camera to document at least that part of our meal.

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The next day, our penultimate in Eastbourne, we had agreed to take John and Daphne to a local garden centre where they could pick up a few bits and pieces that they needed. As fate would have it, this took us right back to within a mile or two of the Gun Pub, although we had to circle a time or two to zero in on its actual location. The problem was that the only two fully-sighted people in the vehicle did not know where they were going. The two others, both legally blind, were convinced that they knew but somehow couldn’t agree! In any event our reward for acting as chauffeur was lunch at The Malt House in Hailsham. This was to be our final gastronomic treat, since we were due at Heathrow early the following morning.

It seems fitting that our final picture of this memorable trip should be of the floral symbol of England, the Rose. If you take the trouble to view the Gallery below, all the beautiful roses featured there were shot on the ten minute walk from Gore Park Road to Albert Parade a distance of perhaps half a mile. It s is not hard to see why the rose was picked for England’s emblem. Of course, I still like the Maple Leaf (not when in the plural though), but the rose makes a much better photographic subject!

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