South West to South East and back to North East

After leaving Dorset we drove along the coast road to Sussex where we were spending the night in Eastbourne as I’d been keen to take this little detour so that I could see my brother having not seen him since Easter last year. (He doesn’t have visa or inoculations to travel north of the Watford gap 😉 )

We’d booked in to the Bay Tree Guest House and had received an e-mail explaining that a parking permit would be given to us for on-street parking and that if there was no available parking outside we could drop off our bags and the proprietors would help us find somewhere nearby. We drove round a couple of times and couldn’t see anywhere so Billy got out, returning with both our hosts – one helped to take in the bags and the other hopped in the car and took me to a nearby road where we found a parking spot. Phew! Without his help I’d have been panicking as I love driving but hate parking. We’d been given a lovely room on the top floor and it was spacious, thoughtfully equipped and very welcoming. We only stopped long enough for the loo before walking the couple of hundred yards to the prom.

The plan had been to have the afternoon in Eastbourne on our own but having left so late, I was a little frustrated to only have an hour. However, I didn’t want to waste that hour so we went to Fusicardi’s Eastbourne’s best ice-cream shop which has been there for years and had an ice-cream walking along the sea front. (If you pay attention, you’ll know that ice-cream doesn’t agree with me so I don’t eat it – only for Fusciardi’s will I willingly suffer the tummy ache that comes after 😉 ) Then it was time to go and freshen up to go to Rick and Mel’s.

The road to Uckfield hasn’t changed much apart from the big spaghetti roundabout at Polegate so I enjoyed a nostalgic drive and we were soon at Rick’s. Rick and I chatted about City for a bit and I gave him his birthday present and match programme, and a couple of bits from mum that she’d asked us to bring down. Mel cooked us a gorgeous roast dinner followed by apple strudel and we then relaxed and caught up on everyone’s news. Jay had joined us for a bit and naturally Billy and I made a fuss of the beautiful big pussycats who had grown into themselves since I last saw them.

In the background was the Champions League Final between Bayern München and Chelsea and though it looked like München were having most of the play, it was still 0-0 when we left. This was at 9pm as I was pretty tired having done a bit of driving and knowing I had a full day of driving next day, so we tore ourselves away reluctantly. We’d had a really good evening and I was so pleased we’d taken a detour to Sussex. On the drive back to Eastbourne Billy looked at his phone and said “Bloody hell, it’s 1-1 now!” Once again we had to have help to find somewhere to park but at long last we were in our room and I could relax for the night. We put on the TV and caught some of the football’s extra time and then the penalties. Even as the penalties started it looked like München would probably win, but up stepped Drogba and much as I don’t like him, I had to admire his very coolly taken penalty which sealed the win for them. Well done Chelsea.

We both took a while to get to sleep but once we did we slept well and after a gorgeous, freshly cooked breakfast, we packed and then went for a final walk along the seafront. After visiting the souvenir shops for little gifts to take home, we stopped for a coffee on the beach at one of the beach cafés so I had a little longer to admire the sea and breathe in the sea air. Then it was a quick stop at the B&B to check out and thank our lovely hosts once more for looking after us so well, and then we were off. (We’d definitely recommend this guest house and I shall certainly see if they have any vacancies next time I’m in the area.)

I expected it to take a good 8 hours to drive home assuming roads were clear, though I was anticipating lots of traffic with it being a Sunday. However after a brief stop for petrol (because it was £1.33 a litre compared to £1.38 at home and considerably more at motorway services!) and another to buy a picnic lunch and use the loo at Tesco, we had a trouble free drive and made good time. Since we had the means and the time (having expected neither) we even stopped at Tebay services for a hot dinner which was a nice treat.

We were home by 8.30pm and after greeting everyone – people and cats alike – I unpacked the essentials, sifted through the important post and then collapsed into bed 🙂 Our trip had been tiring in some ways but a complete mental break from routine which was just what we needed. It was also a rare chance to see our families in the south and enjoy their company so all in all a lovely holiday.

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