Posts Tagged ‘Brighton’

Schmap To It

Got this email in my Flick’r account:

Hi prenticea, (that’s me!)

I am delighted to let you know that your submitted photo has been selected for inclusion in the newly released twelfth edition of our Schmap Brighton Guide:

Beachy Head

If you use an iPhone or iPod touch, then this same link will take you directly to your photo in the iPhone version of our guide. On a desktop computer, you can still see exactly how your photo is displayed and credited in the iPhone version of our guide at:

Beachy Head

Thanks so much for letting us include your photo – please enjoy the guide!

Best regards,

Amanda Brooks
Editor, Schmap Guides

So I  am sent this in response to a picture of Beachy Head I included in my (needs to be updated) Flick’r account. The Schmap people had contacted me prior to this to see if it was ok for them to link the photo. I find this amusing really. In my capacity to take a decent picture by taking loads of snaps, I have hit a bullseye with a pic I find intensely lame. It’s really not that good. I think I did better pics of Beachy Head but who am I to say.

I’ve never heard of Schmap before. It’s probably one of those sites that canvasses loads of people so as to generate more income (via web traffic??? how does that work? Anyone? Bueller?) because then, sad people such as myself will go , “Hey! Look what I did!” and increase more traffic flow. Which I just did, so point proven really. Touche, Schmapp people.

What I find most amusing is that, of all the pics to link to, they chose Beachy Head where I am quite disparaging about this gorgeous place being the site of so many suicides. I’ll be interested to see if people actually look further than the Schmap site.  I’ve now added a link to the blog  on the flick’r page to see if people actually bother looking at the pic from Schmap. I will keep you posted but I suspect it’s another don’t hold your breath job.


Read Full Post »

You know how you hear a song or a piece of music and you’re transformed back to the time when you first heard the song.  When I was 19, and the first time I returned to England, I heard Feargal Sharkey’s A Good Heart is Hard To Find. Good Lord it’s awful.  However, whenever I hear it now I remember the first time I was discovering London, the 19 year old falling in love with England.  

There was a number of songs that gained personal meaning for one reason or the other during the holiday. As pure self-indulgence I am listing them here and giving some insight into what or why they gained notoriety.

As I can imagine that would be boring for anyone reading this, instead of listing the song title, I’ve listed a song lyric. Guess the song before you click on the link.  See.  A game out of my indulgences.  Doesn’t get better than that.

“I want your love I don’t wanna be friends.”

I started off easy.  You should know this.

This song was EVERYWHERE! All the countries I visited I heard it played.  If there was an anthem to the trip, this is it. I could not stop hearing this song and it is so annoyingly infectious. This is the song that i will hear when I am 60 and be transported back to a lake house in North Carolina, a bus station in France, a pub in Exeter, an airport in Toronto…. too many excellent memories for this one song.

“And now whatever way our stories end I know you have rewritten mine By being my friend”

This song! Drove me insane. I could not stop singing it in the weeks prior to visiting America.  First song played in the car in Charlotte was this soundtrack.  Someone telling me something. 

And some notes about this particular YouTube clip. There are better clips of For Good but this is the last performance ever of the artist (Kristen Chenoweth) in the role of Glinda, the white witch in Wicked.  And for those who don’t know, this song is all about the character saying goodbye to each other.  Watch the whole clip. It’s doubly heartbreaking.

 “We’re surfing in the air We’re swimming in the frozen sky”

I’ve taken you here before and you know the reason why. I’m nothing if not a completist.

“And darkness still inside you Make you feel so small”

On the plane play list returning to England from the US.  Some of the lines of the song were especially pertinent. Listen to the lyrics more than the singing.   I included the Glee version, even though I appreciate it is wuss rock and there are better versions, as this was the one on the plane and I seriously love Glee. Glee is just so much fluff and  an excellently fun tele show. If you haven’t watched it I would recommend it. Highly. 

“There are no lyrics”

 Only one person will get the significance of this, which I include to make that person  giggle. Everyone else, move on. Nothing to see here.

“I don’t mind spending everyday Out on your corner in the pouring rain”

Ray and I had driven through Washington and seen so many famous sights my mind had been blown. We had just finished a mountain of fries at Z-burgers and were heading back in the car to Baltimore Airport to send me on my way to Charlotte. This song came on while we were driving. It was just one of those gooey moments of being really happy that I will remember.  And I like this song.

“As he came into the window It was the sound of a Crescendo”

I missed this. I’m not sure how. But when I saw it, for the first time at my friend’s place at 3 in the am after a really long night, I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. It’s a great song. But good God, were MJ’s video clips self-indulgent or what??!!! I included this 9 minutes epic not expecting you to watch all of it, unless you are super bored.  He patented the shoes that made him be able to bend over like that tho. And the reason the song gets included here. The second time I heard it was with the same friends. Odd. Clearly the song hangs around them.

“These streets will make you feel brand new, the lights will inspire you”

Just in case you don’t know, hover the cursor over a link or a photo and text will appear. And the text for this is particularly true.  This song drove me nuts as I kept hearing it in Brighton at the start of the holiday and never heard who sang it/ rapped it.  I’m not a fan of rap but the chorus by Alicia Keys is enjoyable and why it gets here. It sticks out (like those things that stick out) amongst all the other songs though.

“There’s not a word yet for old friends who’ve just met”

You wont get this one. Even I didn’t know what the song was except that I spent days humming it to myself at the end of the holiday. You know that annoying tune you can’t get out of your head. I explored the song on the internet when I got back wondering why it was playing on my brain.  I was pleasantly surprised by the lyrics and its pertinence to my current situation. And yeah, muppets. Ah well. I’ve clearly proven I have zero taste in music.

Read Full Post »

Dot points part one.

Some random thoughts and feelings over the last week.

Britain has amazing hand dryers in their toilets that actually dry your hands as opposed to ours which leave your hands drippy.

Lots of British men look like pugilists.

The countryside looks different in the different counties. I am not sure how this is possible but it is true.

Many English men have that wierd ear piercing thing where you gradually increase the hole in your ear.

My family in Brighton are exceptionally gracious, accommodating people for whom nothing was too much trouble. My mum and I were in awe of their willingness to make us feel welcome.

I learnt that a scalper is called a tout. Someone who winds people up is a Nause.

I am a Nause. I want a badge that says that.

The Qantas club WAS very well received in the midst of travelling. Very peaceful and glad I joined.

The internet is amazingly fast and easy to use here

British television is amazingly bad. There is a reliance on reality type shows where out of work celebrities perform like seals. Dancing on Ice was astoundingly special in this respect.

They still have Disney Stores here. All of the Borders stores have been closed.

The Hundred Acre wood almost killed me

Cheese is astoundingly cheap here but you couldn’t have olives with it, cos they were astoundingly dear.

I miss a shower.

I have the capacity to bring sunshine to countries. The sun has not stopped fricking shining since I have got here. I want snow.

I have offered myself to Cadbury to improve their Cadbury world extravaganza. My payment is a lifetime supply of fruit and nut.

My sleep pattern remains completely out of whack. Most times this log gets written at 3 in the am.

I quite liked writing this so changed the title to part one. Expect more mad ramblings.

Read Full Post »

Anyone who had to put up with me prior to leaving for the UK knew that I was heading to Cadburyworld when I got here.

I was beside myself about it. What was not to like? A factory that made chocolate had a park/museum dedicated to why chocolate rocks. Lots of chocolate plus fun things while eating said chocolate.

How could it go wrong?


Somehow, and it breaks my heart to say this, Cadburyworld had managed to suck all the life out of its product. It was a mishmash of scary educating; not educating enough; unbelievably twee video presentations and the Disney ride from hell.

The first section you enter is the Amazon jungle, spookily lit and full of REALLY scary Mayan indians dummies. The first thing you see as you enter the door is a stuffed python. Little kids were screaming and begging their mummies to take them away from the scary people so full marks to Cadbury for starting the journey into chocolate with such an indelible image for the little kiddies. I’m sure there were a few chocolate covered nightmares that night.

You then move into an arena where some really annoying holograms tell you how chocolate was transferred from the Mayan to European culture.  The Europeans had managed to improve upon the chocolate taste by removing the chili from it (damn you Cadbury World for making me learn stuff) and the holograms were very chuffed with themselves and, if it weren’t for the guard in front of it, you would stick your foot through the hologram screen.

Then you enter ANOTHER area where Mr Cadbury ( not sure of his name – I had lost the will to live at this point) and his sons have a lovely discussion amongst themselves (between three television screens around the room) about who introduced the best packaging for the chocolate and who introduced the idea of the workers having their own garden. As you can imagine this was RIVETING stuff and it was then that I realised you can’t escape any room until the automatic doors allow you exit. Well done Cadbury World in knowing your market.

Then you go into a room (again the next exit is locked) and you sit and watch this…… well I presume they were going for delightfully wacky yet somehow managed to get intensely irritating instead…. scientist explain to the by now comatose audience how cocoa beans are sifted and roasted. This was actually interesting as the stools you sat on shook to indicate what it would be like to be the sifted bean and presumably to wake the audience up at the same time. Turning the heating on to indicate what it felt to like to be a roasting bean was a brave move I thought but clearly Cadburyworld was always going to be a survival of the fittest kind of day.

You then traverse through the factory or as much of the factory as they allow you to see ( which wasnt a lot) along really long, inexplicably hot corridors(why were they so hot -we don’t know- it was all boarded up and there was a sign from CadburyWorld saying “we’re doing something hot behind here”  ), up loads of flights of stairs (see survival of the fittest comment – goodbye grannies and the weak and infirm) then to a room where you can pay to have you picture taken with a giant cocoa bean. Yes it was naff but most people were glad of the sit down.

At some point in amongst all this you go to the Kadabra ride. Here you board an automated car and are taken on It’s a Small World inspired but missing the mark by miles tour of presuneldy what the Cadbury cocoa beans do before they are roasted and sifted.   You will be pleased to know the beans enjoy many pleasures, including going fishing, skiing in the alps and avoiding the singing grass that’s sways around them in their little Cadbury bean world.  Truly this is the highlight of Cadburyworld and one can only imagine the designers giggling to themselves as they came up with “what are we gonna put around this corner?” “let’s have the beans watch tele!!”  “good plan. It will remind the audience of what they could be doing!”

There are positives.   You  get three bars of chocolate as you go around ( and, believe me, you need the sugar rush) and at the end of the tour is a pot of melted chocolate that you can mix with your weird content of choice (jellybeans, popcorn, licorice allsortsetc..I had shortbread biscuits which was quite pleasant). Sadly you have to endure yet more “wacky” holograms that keep rabbiting on about a glass and a half to get to the melted chocolate.

The Cadbury shop is very fun! Lots of chocolate for reasonable prices and loads of school children with Brummie accents buying up big! Dentists have a share in Cadbury world I’m thinking.

Finally there is a audiovisual section where you can have your picture taken of yourself made out of chocolate, splat projected chocolates under your feet or see what your shadow would look like under a rain of chocolate beans. This was actually a really good area.

All in all I enjoyed it in a it’s so bad its good kind of way. To my family who travelled with me for the three hours to get to Birmingham and then endured this without complaint, my huge thanks! Next time will be improved I promise.

Read Full Post »

Walking In The Air

AKA Walk till you Drop part two.

The  second half of the day was spent at Brighton Pier.

It’s a very British thing, the seaside pier.
A relic of the days of the British Summer Holiday before people realised the continent really wasn’t that far away after all and was possibly much more interesting.

the piers have amusement arcades, fast food vans, tourist crap stalls. Here is where you can buy your Brighton rock and Kiss Me Quick hats, your jellied eels and your fish and chips.

Brighton pier has a fair ground at the end of it. the rides appear to be run by pugilists and i couldn’t bring myself to put my life in their hands.

Most of the time was spent in the amusement section of the pier. This is the building with the slot machines and the penny games. I’m not sure what they are called but essentially you put a 2 pence coin down this shoot, it collects on a pile of other 2 pence coins and if you time your coin correctly this automated sweeper thing pushes coins into your hands.  Thank god I took a picture cos I explained that really badly.

Anyway this is evidently completely fascinating and my mum, aunty and two cousins (along with the rest of Brighton) spent much time and two pences trying to convince the other two pence to leave the machine and join them.

It looked completely boring and pointless however I had been indulged in getting comics earlier so spent time reading them while my family spent their money on the tuppence machines. its rare for the man holding the bag of comics to feel morally superior and yet here we are.

However the absolute best bit about Brighton pier is it is featured in my all time favourite Christmas animation.

Read Full Post »

Walk Till You Drop

We walked 27 billion miles today. I don’t exaggerate. It was close to that.  We walked in Beachy Head and then went to Brighton proper to go on the seafront and pier.

My mum was so tired by the end of it she had regressed and was singing the theme tune to Play School out loud to the bemused shoppers.

Beachy Head is a beautiful part of the Sussex country side however is incredibly well-known in Britain  as THE place to commit suicide. Years ago when I first returned home an actor in EastEnders used the cliffs to end his life. Sadly there have been many people since then who have done the same.

You have two options. Option 1 is to drive your car down this realllllly steep hill at the end of which is the cliff face. You’re pretty much committed to going over the edge once you start down the hill unless you have stunning brakes.

Option 2 is the sheer cliff face at the top of the hill. What perplexed me is that there are fences all around except in this area which is clearly a favourite place to jump (there was a rusty car halfway down the cliff unable to be removed). You’d think they would at least try to make an effort.

It’s the most surreal countryside as around these beautiful surroundings are signs to ring the Samaritans and an emergency vehicle for the Chaplain, complete with the words Chaplain written backwards so you can see it in the rearview mirror, next to the mister whippy van. There are wreaths of flowers for people who have lost their lives there strewn around the grass and fences.

It’s the most amazing place.

They even charge you to park there however I don’t suppose that’s much of a deterrent, sadly.

Wow this post turned into a downer quickly. Back on track tomorrow I promise.

Read Full Post »

Went to Ashdown Forest today, about 18 miles from Brighton.

Aside from being stunningly beautiful it is the inspiration of the 100 Acre Wood, the home of  Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and the rest.

There are two tours of the area, the first, shorter walk  visiting the Enchanted Place, the heffalump Trap, Roo’s Sandy Pit and the second, longer walk visiting the North Pole and Eeyore’s gloomy place.  (This is one day gonna have links to pics of said places so you can see what I’m talking about.. not tonight though cos I am weary)

I had lost the rest of the family withing five steps of reaching Gills Lap, the start of the walk. “It’s too muddy” they all cried. “We’re off to the pub”I wasn’t going to let a little mud stop me on adventures and so set off on what was one of the most beautiful days. Sun was shining, cool weather, just perfect.

The short walk was stunning. There were some easily identifiable pooh scenery and the enchanted place was just beautiful.  While there was certainly mud there was nothing too insurmountable and the scenery was worth the effort. It was peaceful, serene and breathtaking, even without the pooh bear connection.

Then there was the longer walk.

This goes down a hill deeper into what is called wren’s warren valley (Eeyore’s sad and lonely place) and it lured me into a false sense of security until i was sufficiently in it before it turned into a complete swamp.

I don’t know who Christopher Robin was but he’s a fit bastard if he visited all those places in one day.  Especially in the mud

The hundred Acre Wood was the hundred Acre swamp. I took one step forward and slid three steps back. My completely inadequate footwear was soaked and black with mud.  I was exhausted and giggling and exhausted some more.

Eventually I got up the hill and back to the car park only to have to wait for the family to finish their gammon and chips (“very lovely” was the review) before they could pick me up.

Word to the wise: the short walk is fine and only do the long walk if there’s been a week of sunshine. Also pooh sticks bridge is not on any of these walks!!!  The bridge I crossed at the bottom of wren’s warren valley was not pooh sticks bridge. Possibly a good thing as there was no guards on this bridge and I could see little kids falling in the water a lot. The hundred acre death trap.

Depsite all of that, highly recommended. I’ts truly beautiful scenery and you can see how it inspired a book that has lasted generations.

Read Full Post »

History lesson for those who didn’t know this.

As a child I adored British comic books. Buster, Whizzer and Chips, Knockout, Krazy, Whoopee!!, Monster Fun…. way too many to mention. And, as my anal retentive nature developed, I lovingly kept each and every comic I had bought, Every Summer special, Every annual.

I kept these 40 plus year old comics in loving condition and, while they had no value to anyone else really, they were precious to me.

And that was the case until last year when a group of bastard termites had a lovely, heartbreaking meal.

After this disaster I then went mad and scoured Ebay trying to get some of my collection back to me. What I bought got to sent to my family in Britain whom I knew I would be visiting. The plan being I would come and sort them out and post them back to myself in Australia.

Today I did some sorting.

As my dad said, it would have been cheaper to have flown over and bought them personally and brought them back then. Wish I had thought of that then.

This is gonna be a bugger to post.

And there’s more to come in Exeter 🙂

Read Full Post »

Home Away from Home?

My cousin Ian spends every Saturday night at a pub in Brighton called Walkabout. This is an Australian themed pub and, as someone who cannot stand pubs in Australia proper, why would you bother going to the Brit’s idea of the Australian pub.

I was lured there by Ian’s discount rates (loyalty customer… been there since it opened 12 years ago evidently) and went to Walkabout – the Australian pub as seen by the Great British Public.

I am actually glad I went, despite my misgivings. It was the most delightful time. Plus the discount on the drinks helped lessen the pain.

The reason it was largely successful was that, from an Australian perspective, this place is something of a road crash. You know its gonna be ugly but you can’t stop looking at it.

The place was hysterical and Australian in that it had possibly looked at an Australian pub and then got rid of every element that made it so.

I laughed at the “Aboriginal” artwork on the walls. Adriana, you will die. The “genuine Australian Tucker” menu had me in stitches, so much so I had to copy it and put it on flick’r cos everyone should see it. The crocodile stuffed over the window was an authentic touch I thought (every pub I’ve been into in Australia has a crocodile…there is no ‘rolls eyes’ icon.)  as was the fact that the drink of choice after Fosters  (bleh!) was vodka and red bulls

So given the treasure trove of photo opportunity what disaster could I pick to represent my trip to the great Australian pub, the Brit version? The “artwork”? The “tucker”? The pet dead crocodile?

Nope, none of that. Go to flick’r.

Instead here’s the man I met in the toilet.

Flick’r being a pain. Will sort tomorrow

Read Full Post »

Variety is the Spice of Life

This may be a bit of a boring post, sorry, but worth mentioning.

In amongst all the touristy things today we went to a couple of English supermarkets, ASDA and Sainsbury.

They are like little suburbs, in all honesty. I had been warned that the produce available in the UK was substantial but I didn’t appreciate quite how much until you enter a Sainsbury super city. Seriously they make australian supermarkets look like complete crap.

Once before the holiday I went looking for a tin of tuna. The Australian supermarket had two brands, the generic home brand and John West.  Embarrassing really.

The amount of produce and variety was stunning here. Its appalling how little we are offered.

I could have spent the day in there looking at all the stuff.

I should have taken a pic of the tuna really. Instead heres a pic I took for my dad.

And don’t get me started on the internet over here!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »