The flyer pushed through Luvlady’s door stalled on its flyby to the recycling box for I had spotted the words ‘free coffee’ in tiny print across the bottom corner. Something I, we, wanted in the letterbox bumf squadron. Doubly pleasing in that it showed my old hunter-gather visual acuity had not deserted me.
As is the norm for pensioner peregrinations – thanks to HMGov’s bus pass – this was to be a bus and foot expedition.
Phase 1. Down to Saltdean lido and walk along the undercliff to Rottingdean. It was uplifting to be given a sendoff by a drumming band: left, right, left right, round the corner to the bus stop. Encouraging to see so many females with skins and sticks. The band may have been performing not for us but for HRH’s Jubilee. Didn’t she have a costly Jubilee just ten years ago? Perhaps she’d forgotten.
Note: I know this blog is on an electronic medium but my posts to it are on a snail-mail delivery schedule. I am only seven weeks late with this one.
Distance travelled towards a free coffee: 1.8 miles (2.9 km).
Phase 2. Wait for the 12 or 14 or 27 bus to Brighton, walk through Pavilion Gardens to wait for the 25 bus. The bus shelters on Old Steine have a hint of Art Deco about them. Taking a photo crouching in the road when the bus is due has a hint of Artist Dodo about it. Fortunately, Luvlady’s visual acuity was sharp enough to spot the arriving double-decker.
In reassurance, the Brighton Pavilion has not undertaken dome mitosis, these are abutted photos to show the bus stop. The Pavilion kept getting in the background.
Distance travelled towards a free coffee: 6.2 miles (10.0km).
Phase 3. Climbed to top deck of the bus (because we can), front seat, Ordnance Survey (Explorer 122) map on lap (because I wasn’t sure where to disembark). Got off at the entrance to Stanmer Park. Convenient really as we intended walking round the park, through Great Wood to approach Stanmer Village – with the quested holy grail of free coffee – from the north side.
Distance travelled towards a free coffee: 9.5 miles (15.3 km).
Phase 4. Across the field, up, up the long incline into the woods, skirting the A27, pop out for a view, and back to come upon detritus of the asinine kind and of the arboreal kind.
More bucolic photos of this phase? One purpose of this blog is for me to have a go on the site’s photo carousel. It is on page 2. It would be on this page but I couldn’t figure out how to launch it from a single thumbnail rather than a thumbnail for every image on the carousel. Oops, I’ve stepped out of the walk into computer carping and self-referenced writing.
Distance travelled towards a free coffee: 11.4 miles (18.3 km).
Phase 5. Just before leaving Great Wood it started to rain. Stayed canopied by Great Wood watching local archeologists huddle under anoraks at a new dig in the adjacent field. Rain stopped, we walked into Stanmer Village, into the café and out (no toilets), into the public toilets across the street and out (wet hands, no paper towels). It’s a village and here’s the church, here’s the steeple, and inside, here’s the . . . nope, the people are in the café.
Distance travelled towards a free coffee: 12.2 miles (19.6 km).
Phase 6. Not in need of salvation but driven by salivation Luvlady and I walked the wrong way round the one-way system. In fact the village lane is a traffic roundabout in the shape of an elongated teardrop with the church as a stye at the bulbous end.
Stanmer House, a 1727 century mansion built by Sir Henry Pelham (British PM 1743-54) and now popular for film shoots, is comfortable and relaxing inside. It is elegant, until one looks up the grand staircase to see a 3×3 split screen filling the wall and showing promotional video.
Considering the walking done, Luvlady opted for a cream tea of two huge scones and appurtenances with coffee, while I exchanged the corner of the flyer for a free coffee. Luvlady shoved one of her scones my way. We sat with our backs to the silent staircase screens amused by servers trying to correctly deliver food against orders placed through the high-tech tills. Teething problems, no doubt. Very enjoyable – not just the buzzing workers, the whole experience.
Total distance travelled for a free coffee: 12.4 miles (20.0km).
Phase 7. Then came the traveling of the distance back from the free coffee. Being seasoned bus-pass travellers we knew times and left the comfortable seating minutes before the hourly bus service from Stanmer Village to Brighton was due.
I like this wall shot and not just because of the content and the composition. It reminded me of Edna O’Brien’s portrait by Jane Bown CBE in ‘Women of Consequence’, where the look caught in face and posture could launch 1,000 words and not capture it.
Here in Stanmer though, the look may be wondering if her woc will return from exploring the donkey wheel in the well-house before the imminent but rare bus arrives and departs.
Goto page 2 for gallery of these, and more photos.