We were out in good time today and reached London Bridge early enough for the 8:47 to East Croydon where we would change for our intended destination, Eastbourne. So far it’s a grey day with an overcast sky. Let’s hope the sun breaks through soon.
Just outside Eastbourne station is a structure resembling a small covered market and called Enterprise. We had noticed it on previous occasions and had been intending to visit. Today we finally did so.
Inside, we had coffee in a pleasant cafe restaurant called Le Bistro de la Gare on the first floor. Tigger had a long chat about things artistic with the keeper of a decorative little shop, Crescent Moon Gallery, all of whose art works he produces himself. There were some very intriguing and original items on sale.
For me, the highlight was the discovery of the Gef Tom Son jewellery shop. All the wares are made from semi-precious stones and similar materials by the shopkeeper himself. I found a black and white bracelet I liked. It was on the small size for me but he adapted it to my size by adding some silver breads, all in about 2 minutes flat!
I thus have a memento of our trip to Eastbourne which, though not expensive, is unique and was made for me before my very eyes. Needless to say, I have retained details of the shop and will commission more work or repairs as the occasion presents itself.
We next joined 12A Brighton bus which takes in Beachy Head, though this was not our destination this time. We stayed aboard the bus until we reached a place called Lookout. The path there leads to the cliff edge and then along back to Beachy Head.
Tigger had wanted for a long time to take this walk as it passes close to the Belle Toute, the old lighthouse. This was replaced by the Beachy Head lighthouse down at sea level.
The whole coast along here is subject to rapid erosion and many buildings along the cliff top have been lost. The old lighthouse was itself in danger of being undermined and cast down but was moved 17 metres back from the brink. One cannot help wondering for how long it will be secure on its present site and whether the advancing seas will once again place it in danger.
Since being decommissioned, the lighthouse has belonged to several owners. It is currently in private hands and undergoing building work. There is some indication that it may be opened to the public at some point and perhaps offer bed and breakfast accommodation. Given the beautiful views of sea and coast and the long stretches of cliff-top to walk (not to mention the excellent Beachy Head pub and restaurant not too far away!), I think it would be an attractive resort.
By now, the weather, already grey and damp, was closing in. As we walked, drops of rain began to fall, fine at first but with increasing intensity. Ahead of us, the sky looked a little clearer and I hoped the clouds would pass away. It was not to be.
The rain became so heavy that I gave up trying to take photos and we repaired to the bus stop to await the 13:41 back to town. The bus was very late, which did nothing for my mood as there was no shelter and the rain was now insistent. When it eventually arrived, we heaved our wet selves aboard and returned to Eastbourne. Here, the pavements were not even damp…
Feeling ready for lunch but not wanting to go far, we went to the Via Cafe where we have been several times. We ordered cheese omelettes and tea and settled down to wait. We waited a very long time and I reminded staff of our order. When the omelettes arrived, they were the strangest omelettes I have so far been served. Moreover, they were burnt. Was this punishment for asking why we were kept waiting?
I suppose we should have sent them back but we had waited so long already that we just ate them and went on our way.
We now went on a little walk around town. It had been dry when we arrived back from the cliffs but now it started to rain. We decided that although it seemed a pity to abandon our day out so early, there was little point in staying. So we returned to the station and took the train for the first leg of the journey home.
We changed to the London Bridge train at Haywards Heath and found it packed with people returning from the Pride Summer Festival in Brighton. We had to stand until some people got out at Gatwick.
Once aboard the 43 bus, we phoned Spices and reserved a table. We felt we deserved to end the day with a good Indian meal!
The area around Beachy Head is very beautiful and it is a good place to go on a warm sunny day to take advantage of the fresh air, the countryside and the sea views. On a cloudy day and especially in the rain, it’s not nearly so much fun. Maybe I should buy myself an underwater camera.