|the exterior of our London flat, King Frederik IX Tower [click to enlarge images]|
For many years we kept a place in London. Or, to be more specific, we had a fourth floor flat in an ultra uber [apologies as we have not yet mastered the umlaut] modern, Danish designed block in what, at the time, was one of the less ruinously expensive boroughs. What sold it to us, as ultimately it did to others, were the floor to ceiling windows giving directly on to the Thames. From these, and the luxury of two balconies, we enjoyed watching a steady progression of shipping, if river cruise boats, the odd sailing vessel, Sunday morning canoeists, the occasional small liner and the ever present River Police can be called such, plying to and from the Pool of London.
|a looking glass in our Brighton drawing room reflects the sea and pier below|
But we are no Ratty and Mole of Kenneth Grahame's 'The Wind in the Willows', content to be 'messing about' on the river, when there is for ever the call of the sea. And so, prompted by memories of childhood holidays in the 1950s when respective parents repaired for the summer to the seaside resorts of Swanage in Dorset and Cornwall's Newquay, or possibly recalling long weekends in which we languished in the comfort of the Alexandra Hotel overlooking Lyme Bay, we 'relocated' [to employ the jargon of the pointy-shoed estate agent from whom we purchased our 'rooms'] to Brighton.
|the end section of the pier glimpsed through our Brighton bedroom window|
It is no mere accident that Brighton is nicknamed London by the Sea. For less than an hour's journey from the Capital it boasts all of the fun, glamour, excitement and adventure of its larger neighbour. Culture abounds as do, apparently, celebrities, whilst a large gay community and a welcome influx of foreigners and students from around the globe ensure a prevailing atmosphere of immense kindness, tolerance and diversity.
|a corner of our Regency square in Brighton|
No longer uber [umlaut still in hiding] cool in London we now, on flights from Budapest, are to be found, rather in the manner of characters drawn from the pages of Miss Austen, observing life amongst the Regency terraces from our 1827 vantage point, eavesdropping on the latest gossip of the coffee houses, or tweaking the lace curtains as we spy on the beach below. Now, if only we had binoculars!