Monday, July 06, 2009

A Special Weekend in Sunny Sussex

The Annual Secret Beach Picnic

The only thing better than a picnic is a picnic on a sandy beach in the sunshine with good friends.

Last year I wrote about my long-overdue pilgrimage to a secret beach in Sussex on which I'd played and picnicked as a child. Together with a small gang of special friends, I'd rediscovered this magical spot, and we'd spent a happy day of munching, bantering and kite-flying. It was so lovely that I decided to make it an annual event, and this year I took a few more people, just as much food, and enough games and activities to keep even the most restless among us occupied for an afternoon. Once again we were blessed with beautiful weather, though there was not enough wind for kites (which was shame as we had brought three). Instead we played badminton, frisbee, Nerf ball and tennis; some of us even swam - though the water was a little like seaweed soup.

My freckles went crazy and a few of the boys turned pink, despite the suncream being forcefully dished out by yours truly. I think most people even enjoyed the mile and a half hike along the cliff edge to get there. The route along the rocky beach - accidentally taken by certain others who shall remain nameless - was perhaps less enjoyable, but worthwhile all the same. During the course of the six hours we stayed, there were moments of frantic sociable activity, and moments of quiet contemplative calm. After a manic few months of almost non-stop work (hence the lack of blog posts lately), it was the first chance I'd had to sit and really unwind since America. It was quiet and still and beautiful, and I felt truly blessed to be sharing it with such a lovely bunch. One small voice of mild hysteria emerged as the tide started to come in, but we all made it out alive - and if anything, improved by the day's experiences.

Hanover Day, 5th July 2009

The next morning Ant complained of aches and pains from our various exertions, but I felt fine and raring to get out into the still-blazing sunshine. It was Hanover Day here in Brighton - a mini festival in what is perhaps the steepest neighbourhood in town. Southover Street was closed to traffic and several stages had been erected about the place. Along the side streets, locals pedalled their bric-a-brac to eager kids with pocket money to burn. We bimbled about, bumping into familiar faces at every turn, and eventually settling down in the courtyard of the Hanover Community Centre - where my ex-yoga teacher's band, Gin Club, were playing.

After Gin Club's foot-stomping dirty blues spectacular, Kate's Kitchen Band took to the stage for a Ceilidh and poor Ant's heart sank at the site of accordions. But he gracefully agreed to partner me for a dance, and was soon Do-si-do-ing along with glee - even doing it with a four year old on his shoulders the second time around. I haven't done country dancing since my school days, and had forgotten what a riot it was. Unfortunately the combination of sweat-inducing hoedown and dry dusty courtyard made for some very grubby legs - but who cares if you look like an urchin, it's Hanover Day! As we strolled back up the hill past clusters of rosy-cheeked revellers lolling around on street corners, it became clear that most people were too cider-fuelled to notice anyway.

I had managed to make it through a triumphantly active and sun-soaked weekend without a hint of hangover, injury or sunburn. I even look a little less pale than I did before - and feel a good deal more relaxed. Weekends don't come much better than that.
blog comments powered by Disqus