When I sorted out my original itinerary, way back in the depths of winter, Brighton was my final stop. So yesterday afternoon, as I left the Brighton seafront and set off for Worthing and my aunt’s house, I mentally packed away my cameras and prepared to unwind. Little did I know what Sandra had planned for me.
As an artist, herself, my aunt is involved in several local creative groups. It just so happened that the monthly Artists’ Breakfast was to take place the following day, so we were up and out this morning as the seagulls screeched and whirled above us.
Held in a local cafe, the Artists’ Breakfast consisted of a diverse group of interesting lively, colourful individuals. I immediately felt at home. For a couple of hours we drunk coffee and swapped stories, business cards and websites. When we left I felt I’d made several new friends, and having distributed the road trip postcards for them to return meant I would hopefully hear from them again.
The sun was shining and the cold wind had dropped. It was the perfect Spring day to stroll by the sea and walk the length of the pier, and no visit would be complete without a picture or two. The cameras had been taken out of hibernation and were once more slung around my neck. I was ready for action.
With only an hour or so before I planned to leave we wandered into the tiny shops, tucked in the arches. They were like Aladdin’s caves, crammed full of handmade goods. We chatted with one owner who made the most fantastic light fittings, then moved next door to a lovely man who sewed scarves and hats and all manner of fabulous outfits out of recycled materials. He told us he’d been making clothes since he was seven. I left them both with postcards, and we headed back for lunch.
As I packed up the car and hugged Sandra I thought how lovely it was that I’d been able to make this trip, and spend some time with a fabulous aunt I’d not seen for a few years. We’d chatted and laughed and cried and hugged and agreed we’d had the most fantastic few hours.
I started the car and thought about a conversation I’d had with Sandra fifty years ago. Undecided about teacher training or art college I’d asked her advice. She’d been to Leicester College of Art a few years previously.
‘Go there,’ she advised, you’ll love it.’
I went, I loved it – and I met the future husband. The rest, as they say, is history.