A lovely drive and Emily came too.

As you know by now, if you know me, St George’s Day is mine and mum’s big annual event in memory of my dad. This year, it happened to fall on the Saturday of the Easter weekend so we thought we’d take advantage of the bank holidays either side to go to Eastbourne and see the sea, then visit my brother on the Sunday.

After working overtime the week before, I was ready for a break and drove down to mum’s on the Thursday and so we could leave for Sussex on Friday. On Friday we both wore our green ribbons in memory of my beloved Nan whose birthday it would have been. Rocky, mum’s cat, was booked into the cattery but he’d disappeared early that morning and we hadn’t a clue what to do if he didn’t return in time for us to leave. We decided to go to the crem to leave dad’s red rose and then return (instead of going on from there) to see if Rocky thought the coast was clear and returned whilst we were out.

As usual, the crem was beautiful, peaceful and welcoming and we left dad’s rose and sat on the bench for a while, before going back. Rocky was still nowhere to be seen, and then just as we despaired, he appeared! I grabbed him and mum put him in his carrier and we took him to the cattery with him protesting all the way. (It’s a lovely cattery and he was fine once we got there.)

Then we had a lovely drive down the M6 and though we’d expected lots of traffic, it all turned out to be going north, so we had no congestion at all. We stopped for our picnic lunch and a coffee which we had outside since the weather was glorious. Just north of Oxford, we noticed that the car sounded very noisy and when mum suggested that it sounded like the exhaust, I had to agree. We stopped at the nearest services, which turned out be very busy and I had a job to park. Happily, the man in the car next to where I was trying to park talked me through patiently and we got there! (The people standing around the car the other side were taking up all the room and wouldn’t move, which didn’t help!) I got down on hands and knees and had a peek under the car – sure enough, the exhaust pipe leading into the silencer had come loose. Agh! I didn’t think the AA would be able to do a lot apart from patch it up, so felt there probably wasn’t any point getting them out. We went inside for a drink and I called my brother to see if he thought it was safe enough to continue our journey and sort it out when we arrived. He said that was fine as long as the pipe wasn’t so low it was on the ground, so we continued, ignoring he fact that we sounded like a motorbike with a cough 😉

As we drove past Uckfield (where we used to live and where my brother still does) I decided to use the petrol station there as I would then know we had enough without having to find one. (We were shocked to see petrol priced at 134.9p a litre – it was 136.9p in Chester and 138.9p in Hexham!) Then we noticed there was a KwikFit next door – and it was open! So we popped in and they took a look at the exhaust – sadly it was a different part to that replaced previously, so it was not under warranty and I’d have to pay. The man there was really friendly and helpful and said it was an easy job and would cost £45 though he’d have to order the parts. Amazingly, they would be open on Easter Sunday and said they could so it that afternoon when we’d be in Uckfield anyway – and the part should come on the Saturday. Brilliant! 🙂

As a family Easter present, mum had bought us a Sat Nav, which is something we’ve been wanting for a while. Although I know the way to Sussex, and know the Eastbourne area, I did want the extra help for locating the hotel without having to hunt, though I had an idea roughly where it was. We decided, therefore, to use it from about half way so that we could get the hang of how much notice it gave for lane changes, turn-offs etc. The voice that it was set to use was “Emily UK” and before long, we were calling it Emily, or sometimes “Em” for short. This has now stuck and it is a she, called Emily. 🙂 We were quite impressed with her, though once we left the M25 and were on the M23, she wanted us to drive to Brighton and then across to Eastbourne. Not the way we wanted, so we did our usual and left at East Grinstead to drive down the A22. Em didn’t like this at all and kept urging us to turn around and go to Brighton. She had a way of using intonation to imply an unhappy sigh when every time she said “Recalculating” – I swear she sounded more annoyed each time 😀 We waited for her to realise that we were nearer to our destination than to Brighton but even when we were 5 miles away, she wanted us to go to Brighton! (Sadly, this has shaken my confidence in her a bit, so I’m not yet happy she could get me wherever I need to be if I don’t know the way.) In the end, mum turned Emily off, turned her back on and asked her to find where we were and then to navigate to the the hotel. Happily she did this without a fuss and was very helpful in locating the exact turn for the hotel – we’d have missed it without her. Thanks Em! 🙂

One of the things about this hotel that had particularly appealed to us was the private parking (Eastbourne can be a nightmare in holiday season) but when we pulled up, (at around 5.30 pm) the 3 spaces were taken. Mum hopped out and went to ask inside what to do, and they said we could park behind the owner’s car which would block it in. We therefore gave the owner the car keys when we checked in so she could move it if needed. (She obviously gets this a lot as she wasn’t at all concerned, and it meant we could all relax. We did warn her that the exhaust was noisy though, so she wouldn’t think she’d done anything to it.)

The hotel – Our room was the at the right hand side, with the open window:


View from our window, looking towards the sea: Photobucket

Our hostess was very friendly and welcoming and showed us to our room. It was small but bright and comfortable – though the loo/shower room was tiny with a badly fitting sliding door which left quite a gap when closed. It’s a good job we are mum and daughter!


We quickly unpacked and changed our tops since the drive had been pretty hot and sticky, and went for a walk along the seafront – an unexpected bonus made possible by the fantastic weather and our proximity to the beach. Afterwards, we had a picnic tea and bottle of wine in our room and felt realxed and ready for St George’s Day.


  1. […] Blog Archive » St George’s Day 2011 – Eastbourne on Darn Sarf – London TripBlue Spice » Blog Archive » A lovely drive and Emily came too. on RIP My lovely Nan. 22/04/1919 – 27/09/2007Blue Spice » Blog Archive » […]

  2. […] motorway closures before I left, and it looked like I’d be OK – but I made sure I had Em along in […]

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