It was a beautiful sunny morning as the next picture shows and so we set off to London Bridge station to take a train south.
As it happens, a few seconds after taking this photo I was running up that road, down which we had come to the bus stop: I had forgotten my geotagger and didn’t want to set out without it! I hurried home to fetch it and returned to the bus stop.
Fortunately, the rest of the journey went without hiccups and we arrived to find Brighton basking in autumn sunshine. (I have a hankering to live in one of the neat little houses in Kemp Street.)
Brighton is a very lively city these days and the shops and stalls of Gardner Street and Sydney Street make a contrast with the Lanes. Despite the crowds of visitors and locals, though, there are still quiet corners.
On the main road in York place, is St Perter’s Church. This is an iconic building to Brightonians, whether religious or not. When Brighton became a city, many people wanted St Peter’s to be declared Brighton’s Cathedral.
Instead, St Peter’s was made redundant and its fate left uncertain. It seems to have been kept going, though today there was scaffolding, suggesting that it is being done up.
The plan was to take the Coastliner700 bus service along the coast to Southsea. It was a good idea except for one detail: it is a very long journey (see map here) and a bus with its cramped accommodations isn’t the best way to do it.
I stuck it as long as I could be gave up at Littlehampton. We disembarked and had lunch in the very orange interior of Laura-May’s Cafe.
Littlehampton is a very picturesque place, especially on the sunny day like today with a dramatic sky reflecting in different shades of blue in the water.
Littlehampton is famous for its huge swan population. The picture shows just one small group, whose members were relaxing in the sun, preening and stretching.
We sat for a while beside the water and this attracted the attention of some of the swans. They are far too proud to actually beg for food like those ill-mannered gulls, but instead they float about nearby, watching you while pretending not to.
When not discreetly eyeing up passers-by, the swans dozed in the sun, nibbled at their feathers, and stretched, performing some strange gymnastics.
Other birds hunted for food among the swans, including starlings. They are small and so fast moving that they are hard to photograph. I was pleased to catch this one perched in a bush near the boating lake.
We took the bus back to Brighton and after a cup of coffee in Starbuck’s in Western Road, debated what to do, whether to return to London or spend a little longer in Brighton. Tigger suggested that we take a bus ride.
We got off in Preston Road at this beautiful place. These days they call it the Rock Garden or Rockery but older Brightonians will remember it as the Rookery. Why the change of name? The old name is still remembered in the nearby Rookery Close.
I used to love coming here as a child. If we had time, we would climb to the top of the garden by one of the several paths, and if we had less time, we would just come to the lily pond with its stepping stones. Walking across the shallow water on these rough stones (taken from the Cheddar Gorge) seemed rather an adventure.
I am glad to see that the Rookery (as it still is to me) survives and seems in good health, a little paradise on its own across the road from Preston Park.
By the time we returned to the centre, evening was falling and we felt it was time to take the train back to London.
Night had fallen when we reached London Bridge. Night-time transforms London, hiding its blemishes and lending it the magic of the lights. We walked up and down the Bridge, taking photos. The photo of Tower Bridge at the top is one of these.
The Thames is of course endlessly fascinating, and not only visually. During the day, it is an opaque muddy colour but at night it sparkles and ripples with light.
Even to an unbeliever, Southwark Cathedral is interesting historically and architecturally. At night, though, the lights lend it a special dramatic quality.
How different this scene from the lily pond and green slopes of the Rookery.