Thursday, 1 July 2010

A few days away: Part II

This what we could see from our bedroom window at the Old Ship Hotel. Our hotel was really well placed and just across the road was the shore, which was lined with interesting places and bars built along the front but backing through arches under the road.

The day we arrived, the town was full to the brim with cyclists triumphant after their ride from London. With family and friends, and sporting their medals, cyclists lounged on every available bar chair and even the beach, which has no sand, and is made up of cobble stones, sipping well earned drinks.

Trying to get an 'artistic' view of the old burnt out and abandoned peer, with the shore full of cyclists catching the last of the rays, I managed this shot. There were so many sea birds in the air all at the same time, having their last fly before going to roost for the night on the old pier.

We had a walk along the Lanes and then just before retiring for the night, I felt I had to have a ride on the fine chargers and enjoy the old music of the organ. As I wasn't able to persuade Mr S to come and share my mount, he stood on the side and caught me on my steed.

Our first full day was 'at leisure' in Brighton, so we made our way to the Royal Pavilion. After being completely bowled over by the decorations and the furniture and effects in the entrance hall and the long gallery, I could not hold back......I quickly retraced my steps and went to buy the full guide. Every piece is numbered and has good details in the guide catalogue.

Both Mr S and I gasped as we entered the Banqueting Room at the sumptuous decoration, the most splendid being the ceiling and the central chandelier which hangs from the talons of a guilded dragon. With the audio guide and the written guide, and having so much to delight the eye, and fuel our admiration firstly for the craftsmen of the time, and also for the present day restorers, our progress was very 'studied'. The room attendants were very patient, pleasant and informative, and obviously loved their jobs. I think their interaction with the visitors added to the quality of the experience. From time to time, Mr S and I would remark on something that was intriguing, and the other maybe having missed it, we would go back to have another look together. So as not to be 'museumed out' we recharged our batteries in the delightful tea rooms, which also has tables on a first floor veranda overlooking the Pavilion Gardens. Out came the sun glasses and hats, and I insisted on slapping on sun screen on Mr S......and myself of course!

We decided to have a break and lunched out at an excellent Italian Restaurant in the Lanes area, and return to the Pavilion afterwards. We ended the day with a late cuppa on the terrace at the Pavilion, before winding our way back to the Hotel.

Being members of both the National Trust and English Heritage, this sort of place appeals to us, and I think the town which owns the Pavilion has excelled itself in the information and quality of exhibits. Many of the original pieces are on loan from HM The Queen. I would put this as one of the top 100 things to see in one's lifetime.

We did note that the town's Museum and Art Gallery which is housed just across the grounds in a similar Moorish Designed complex was closed on Mondays, and hoped we would have time perhaps on our last day to visit this.....see more about this in another installment.

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