Crispy Fried's trip to Brighton
Brighton Travel Blog› entry 3 of 9 › view all entries
Crispy Fried is my plastic duck. He was joint adopted by me and my friend Matt, when we found him in a hotel in London. Of course, I got custody of him, and have been looking after him ever since. This has led to arguments, of course - "you never let me visit the duck," "well, you never paid me a penny of duck support!" that kind of thing. So in June, we agreed, the three of us, to have a proper family holiday.
Originally, I was just popping down for the day. I was expecting the summer to continue as a monsoon - after all, there was record flooding all summer in the UK and I hadn't had a chance to get my summer clothes out at all. OK, early days - but the Easter weekend had been spectacular and then there had been rain ever since. So off I went, me and Crispy, from Swindon. The M25 was hell. I read a book once - Good Omens, in fact, by Terry Prattchet and Neil Gaiman, where they said that the M25 was a giant prayer wheel for evil. I can believe it. The traffic at Heathrow was awful. I wound my windows down, ignoring the fumes, and played Radio 1 as loudly as I could get away with. My temper was better than I expected, and I got to (where was I? Somewhere in Surrey?) station to pick Matt up. The traffic on the way into Brighton was almost as bad as the M25. Not boding well!
Eventually, we parked in a park and ride by a football pitch and got a bus into town. Of course, it hadn't occured to either of us to bring beach clothes, but we sat on the beach and caught up, and Matt reassured himself that I hadn't been telling Crispy awful stories about him. Then we went to the town centre to get a pizza, which was amazing. And I decided to stay overnight - what was the point of rushing back? It was sunny, and I wanted a beer. As a point to consider, everyone - if you find yourself in that position, then it is a stunning idea to make up your mind a lot sooner than I did, because it took a serious amount of stress to find a very expensive hotel room, it must have been pretty much the last one in the city! But there we were, and there was even an extra bed for Crispy. The car was safe in a secured car park. The drinking could begin. Luckily, plastic ducks do not require babysitters; we tucked him up and hit the town.
First stop was a little pub up the side of the hotel, where Matt had a lager and I had some real ale. Matt took the piss a little about the general ladylikeness of ale drinking, and I took the piss back about him drinking girly lager. "You gave up smoking, right?" said one of us. And the other one said... "there's a machine by the toilets!" So that was that - less than a month before the ban, our last smoky night*.
Then we went down to the sea, where it was still warm and lovely. We found ourselves a place where we could sit and drink luke warm Stella out of plastic glasses, as is of course traditional. It was good. It was also Stella, which hit my bloodstream alarmingly hard and it was suddenly vitally important to build a sandcastle. Of course, Brighton is rocky, not sandy. So I made my castle on the volleyball court with my empty beer glass. Alas, the photos were lost because I didn't download them from my phone and the phone was spirited away by some pickpocket or another in Swindon, of all places. So you'll have to believe me it was a good photo. Then we went into a really cool bar called the ship or the sea or something like that and had several more Stellas. I loved everyone. I loved Matt. I loved the barman. I loved the two bemused Northern lads who we got talking to. At this point, we decided we had to go to the pier. I loved the pier.
I loved the dodgems. I loved the donuts, and the donut sellers. Matt, who has a better head for Stella than me, did point out that everything, especially the roller coaster, was terribly expensive. I did not care. I loved the roller coaster. I loved the idea of another beer, and another beer was duly consumed. We lay on the beach for a while in the dark, talking absolute nonsense, and then, I loved the idea of going back to the hotel. Apart from everything else, there was a tiny, tiny sober voice in my head pointing out that I was NOT going to love my head in the morning.
*In the interests of honesty, it turned out that I forgot I didn't smoke again in September, twice in the winter, once in mid january and once in February. But that was the last time I worked my way through half a box!