The San Francisco of England: Brighton

Since we’ve been living in England, we haven’t really gotten any hot weather.  It’s gotten up to maybe 75 F.  Now it’s June and we’re tired of waiting for the hot weather to come to us, so we headed for the south coast this past weekend.

Route to the beach

That makes sense right?  Go to the south coast for some fun in the sun.  More like fun in the wind.  Tara was really happy about all this wind.

This is a frontal shot

But seriously, we weren’t expecting it to be typical beach weather.  We found a Groupon for 2 nights in Brighton so we bought it.  Brighton is quite a posh area though.  It is very gay friendly and has lots of unique shops and restaurants; hence it’s nickname: The San Francisco of England.

Brighton Pier

A funny thing happened to us on the way down.  While we were driving on the M25, a neon yellow highway maintenance SUV started swerving back and forth across all of the lanes.  All of the cars between it and us slowed down and allowed this SUV to create a massive, slowly moving traffic jam.  This went on for 5 minutes or so and Tara and I had no idea what was going on.  We tried to get around, but there was a wall of British drivers between us and the erratic neon yellow SUV.  It felt like the SUV was the pace car and we were about to start a race.  Unfortunately, that did not happen.  Instead, the yellow SUV came to a stop and the Brits at the front of the traffic jam did the same.

A right good queue

So there we sat.  After a few minutes of sitting there watching the neon yellow guy stand next to his neon yellow SUV, I got pretty impatient.  I decided that I needed to have a chat with this neon yellow traffic creator.  I exited my vehicle, walked past about 10 other cars, and approached the bloke in “high vis gear.”

Me:  Hello, so what’s going on?

Highway Maintenance Guy:  Hiya

Me:  So why are we stopped?

Highway Maintenance Guy:  Busted horse box

… a few seconds of silence passed while I pondered what that could possibly mean

Me: Busted horse box?

HMG:  aye

Me:  What does that mean?  Busted Horse Box.

HMG (visibly annoyed):  Lorry with horses broke down up the road.  They’re cleaning it up.

Me (Now happy that I had an understandable explanation):  ohhh, I see.  Well, how long will we be stopped here?

HMG (still annoyed):  Don’t know.  15 minutes?

Horse Box?

I thanked the man and walked away.  The whole exchange really confused me.  The HMG was offended and annoyed that I asked for an explanation and acted like a total ass.  As I walked back to the car trying to make sense of the last interaction in my head, a woman poked her head out of her window and asked me what was happening.  I explained the horse box situation to her and she seemed very happy to have an explanation.  Then the person in the next car poked their head out and looked at me with inquisitive eyes.  I looked up and every single person within view had their head poked out of their car and they were all staring at me, awaiting an explanation.  An inquisitive voice came from back in the distance yelled out, “Hey! What’s happening?”.  Apparently, I had just become the leader of this M25 traffic jam, and my people were demanding answers.  I cleared my throat and belted out a brief explanation so that all of my audience could hear,

“Broken down horse lorry up the road.  About 15 minutes”

I saw nods of understanding (and even a few smiles) and the heads went back inside their cars.  I walked the rest of the way back to the car and got back inside.  Tara and I had a good laugh at the whole situation.  About 5 minutes later, we started moving and never saw any horses or any busted horse boxes.

Once we got to Brighton, we did some exploring.  We walked to the pier, explored the infamous lanes, and found a local pub where we spent the majority of the evening.

The Royal Family at Brighton Pier

The next day, we got some better weather.  It was less windy and the sun was even out.  We spent the whole day exploring the city and buying stuff in the lanes.  We walked the beach, which turned out to be completely made up of rocks.  This was my first rocky beach.  I prefer sand myself.

Those are rocks. Not sand

The Lanes

While we were eating lunch, I saw one of the coolest animals I’ve ever seen.  It was no hairy Scottish cow, but it was still pretty amazing.  It was a dog the size of a mini horse.  It reminded me of Beethoven.

Biggest dog ever

Had to buy a hat. When in Rome right?

Check out this turquoise slug bug maker.  Tara wants to get this exact vehicle when we go back to Indy.

Tara’s dream car

Here is a shot at the Royal Pavilion.  There is some historical significance to this place, but we didn’t go inside or even read anything about it, so I’ll leave out any background information.  It was a pretty cool looking building though.

The Royal Pavillion

Saturday night had a nice dinner and went to a jazz club.  Overall, a nice little Saturday.

Sunday, we drove out to Devil’s Dyke on the way out of town.  I wasn’t quite sure what  a dyke was and I didn’t bother to look it up before we left.  From my observation, I would call it a miniature valley.  There was a small walking path at the very bottom of 2 steeply banked hills.  It looked pretty cool.  We didn’t actually do a walk/hike for once.  We basicly Fritzed this attraction.  (see definition below)

Fritzing (verb): the act of seeing an attraction very quickly, with very minimal time spent actually outside of your car.  A picture must be taken at said attraction so there is proof you were there.  Origin: Mexico; more specifically, our Mexican amigo Fritz who was able to see the entire country of Scotland in one weekend via car.  (Not even kidding)

Devil’s Dyke

After Devil’s Dyke, I dropped Tara at the tube station so she could make her way to London for Wimbledon and I headed back to good old Derby.  Stay tuned for the Wimbledon post.

All in all, it was a quick long weekend in the interesting beach town of Brighton.  It was definitely worth the trip

As a side note, we went to Kedleston Hall the previous weekend.  It is a stately home that is really close to Derby.  It wasn’t anything amazing, but I’m putting a picture in here as a personal reminder that I actually went here.

Kedleston Hall

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3 thoughts on “The San Francisco of England: Brighton

  1. Fair play for actually leaving the car to find out what was going on! I’m sure everyone else considered it but just couldn’t be bothered. It is the M25 after all. Traffic jams come as standard!

  2. Re. Devils Dyke. Local folklore explains the valley as the work of the devil. The legend holds that the devil was digging a trench to allow the sea to flood the many churches in the Weald of Sussex. The digging disturbed an old woman who lit a candle, or angered a rooster causing it to crow, making the devil believe that the morning was fast approaching. The devil then fled, leaving his trench unfinished. The last shovel of earth he threw over his shoulder fell into the sea, forming the Isle of Wight.

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