The day couldn’t have been darker, colder, more foreboding or windier. What did we expect? It was, after all, the East Sussex seacoast in early spring; a perfect day to get out of the cottage and explore the neighbourhood in spite of the dreadful weather. Right. The residential hill behind the train station looked straightforward, and looked straight up. It was straight up…an all-out straightforward looking and straight-up hill climbing climb. We started. Up. It’s what you do on holiday, on a Sunday, in dreadful weather.
We walked uphill for over an hour on steep inclined street after street lined with aged and weather-depleted pastel painted mid-century mansions that breathed cracked stucco, ruined or missing exterior embellishments, slate roofs, and crumbling red-tiled chimney pots. Definite signs this was once an active seaport village and lovely coastal resort was evident, but now was a tired but true mistress of an English seacoast.
The weather, darker and windier than the hour before was the deciding factor to begin the cold and soon to be wet journey back to town for an early afternoon coffee…but not just yet. There was just the one uphill corner to reach, navigate the street intersected roundabout before the steady, knee pounding, toe scrunching downhill journey. Besides that…we were lost. Hadn’t a clue which was the right down-direction to get us back to our now desperately needed warm café and hot, white coffee.
At the top now. Just there. See? Standing before us… please pardon the expression…like jewels in the crown untouched by wind, rain or beastly weather of any kind or season; a row of painted, artisan-bursting with colour neighbourhood shops.
Sunshine on a cloudy day comes to mind…