Monday, June 25, 2007


Some evenings are so delicious that they need to be cut into slices wrapped in fine French linen and stored in a hat box, to take out and savour a sliver at a time. I collect evenings like philatelists’ collect rare stamps – discerningly picked and then stored with care. After Friday evening with a wonderfully vibrant gang of girls let’s just say my hat box is full.

Seeing as we are both at work during the week and barely have the energy to come home, load laundry/ dishwasher and throw a meal together, it is left to visiting relatives/ friends to entertain themselves during the week. V’s folks are our current visiting guests and being repeat London visitors they do an admirable job of wandering around the city and relaxing at home on their own in equal measure during the week. The key to a joyful holiday is then devoting our weekends to finding interesting and simple things to do together.

On Saturday we took the train to Brighton, just an hour from London and yet a place V and I have not bothered to visit in all our time here. It had been recommended by so many of my colleagues that I was half wondering when to go. Of course my other half was wondering how nice it would be stay in bed and snooze a bit more. But dutiful child of my mother that I am, I got us a hand-drawn-by-colleague-that grew-up-there and knows-everything-about Brighton-map, found out about group saver tickets to be bought with annual gold card, packed water, carried umbrella’s and shawls and shepard-ed us to Brighton. From the moment we stepped off the train and into the big old beautiful roof station I could tell that it was going to be a special day.

Legged it downhill, toward the mesmerizing blue sea in the distance, past the clock tower, stopping only to get some awesome iced latte from a friendly Aussie at Taylor St Baristas. Once at the seafront we sat down and ate softy ice-creams and watched the wind whip kids and adults and dogs into peals of laughter as they frolicked in the short waves. On our right was the old Pier burnt down and partially fallen into the sea, looking forlorn and devastated. On our left the newer, whiter and brighter Brighton Pier, the amusement park at its tip balanced over the sea, looking precarious and cheese-ily inviting. We walked left along the pebble beach, scrunching along tourists and locals alike, admiring the grey-blue sea, stopping to watch merry-go-round and examine wood souveniers and colourful paintings of boats and huts galore.

After the obligatory photo call at Brighton pier we turned up into the Lanes and looked at the little souvenier and clothes shops before stopping for lunch. We had lunch at Indian Summer, choosing it because it was closest and Indian, both qualities that appealed to my in-laws. As with all Indian restaurants in this country I usually have very low expectations and continuously tell people that the lower their expectations the more pleasantly surprised they are likely to be. We ordered off the very limited day time vegetarian menu and when the food arrived we found the portions were tiny and seemed to be starters rather than mains. But when we told their very helpful staff we wanted something more substantial and vegetarian he checked with his chef who produced a wonderful vegetable curry, some tandoori stuff and the tastiest roti’s and laccha paratha’s we have had a long time. Accompanied by some lovely dal tarka we polished off our meal in no time. For a change we could tell it was food cooked by an Indian chef, someone with an understanding of aromatic spices and the delicate handling of them and an equal aversion to food colour and oil. An absolutely stunningly simple wholesome meal. Sea breeze makes one so hungry – although in my case I doubt sea breeze has anything to do with hunger!

A wander down the little shops and Brighton Pavilion later we traveled back to London. And we never encountered any rain. NOT. A. SINGLE. DROP. So much for forecasts.

It rained all day Sunday and we sat inside our flat looking out from behind the waterfall (huge glass walls have this effect). It was a relaxed, sloth-like day and I behaved a bit like a brooding slug, sloping around the house with a look to reflect the weather. By 4.30pm the weather had really got to me. I opened the hat box to find nothing but fine linen, the delicious evenings having escaped, washed away with the raindrops. I made banana cake instead.

Indian Summer: 69 East Street, Brighton BN1 1HQ. Tel: 01273 711001


  1. Anonymous4:01 AM

    oooh its been years since I've been to Brighton. Did consider moving there at one time, hmmmm

  2. Anonymous4:50 AM

    let us create somem more delicious evenings for the hat box

  3. Anonymous3:07 PM

    What a beautifully written entry.

  4. There is this popular vegetarian restaurant in Brighton called Terre a Terre. I found the food a bit weird but apparently its quite a hit.

  5. Ah, now this is a post worth slicing up and eating on a lazy, feel like reading day!

  6. Have heard so much about Brighton.. but not got the energy to plan a weekend visit. Am inspired yet again. Sounds like a very nice weekend.

  7. Gosh the last visit to Brighton was when i was 18! .. used to go yearly as a child with my parents and then all of a sudden we grew up and no one took us again :(

  8. WA: As expensive to live in as London now.

    MG: I agree completely!

    PlanetHalder/ Iz: Why thank you!

    Akka: Only time to try one, shall keep that note for the next time we visit.

    Pea: yeah, same here, although more lazy than lacking energy! It was a very nice weekend.

    San: Aaaww. Maybe it'll be all different now?!