Brightoned Out, But So Glad I Went

I forced myself out of bed early this morning for two reasons: 1) to get a bit of work done so I wouldn’t have a daunting amount left after my outing; 2) to encourage me to get to sleep early…

My destination for today was Brighton proper. My host strongly recommended that even though it’s only a 3mi/5KM round trip on foot that I buy a £2.90 return ticket and go on the train to save my energy, which I think was very good advice. I headed out around 9:45 to take the 10:08 train, but I got in with plenty of time to catch the 9:59 even with having to stop to collect my previously purchased ticket.

That put me in Brighton just past 10:00 and I headed out of the station to my first destination of the day. There was plenty of signage and clues that I was heading to the touristy part of town.

The first touristy thing of interest that I saw was the Brighton Dome, an arts venue. It is part of the Royal Pavillon complex and is quite impressive from outside!

I walked around the Dome and got my first view of the Royal Pavillon. Keep reading for more details, but let’s just say that I was not expecting this in Brighton and am so happy my host and her decorator put it on my must-do list! There were even palm trees by it, adding to the exotic feel.

I wandered up North Street to find a second breakfast.

Then sat in front of the entrance to the Royal Pavillon to enjoy my last sausage roll and really good coffee from Greggs.

Then, it was time to enter what is, bar none, the most incredible building I have ever had the privilege of visiting.

Unfortunately, interior photography is not allowed in King George IV’s seaside pleasure palace. But the are tons of high resolution photographs on the palace’s website. Please head there now to at least look at photos of the banquet hall and its dragon chandelier. This palace was sold and completely stripped by Queen Victoria, who did not find it a suitable home for her family, but was bought by the city and carefully restored over the years to give an inkling of how sumptuous it was in the days of George IV. Spoiler: while the outside is of decidedly Indian influence, the interior decor is of Chinese influence!

I could have spent a day going through the palace as there were so many exquisite details to take in, but it was overrun by school children and hard to visit leisurely. 🙁 I think the music room was my favourite, but the dragon chandelier that is just two feet shorter than Miranda (!) was the most memorable feature.

Entrance to the palace is £12.50, or you can buy online a combination pass with the Brighton Museum for £15 (plus play an additional £2 for the palace audioguide if you want to get any real value out of your tickets). So the museum was my next stop.

It’s adjacent to the Dome.

The museum has a hodgepodge of exhibits, most of which are behind glass, so difficult to photograph. The building held  more interest, to be honest. Here are photos of a few things that caught my eye.

The tiles are gorgeous and have so much depth!

I enjoyed making a motif of Iranian-style tiles.

This turquoise colour is very traditional in Iran.

This pot looks like a beautiful work of art, but is a”stealth bomb.” The background of the images are of unspeakable wartime horrors.

This stack of crockery has a rod going all the way through it to hold it.

There was an exhibit about how Brighton was the place to come for a “dirty weekend.” This is very much England’s Sin City.

The mosaic floor in parts of the museum was a work of art.

This French-inspired bathing costume was the standard in Brighton for a long time.

I really liked these.

This one looks like a rainy day viewed through a window.

This one is deceptively simple. So many colours in it!

Frankly, at £5.20, I don’t think the museum is worth a detour unless you pair it with the Royal Pavillon and basically get in for half price.

I was ready for lunch when I came out of the museum and knew where to go, a little Japanese restaurant right in front of the Dome. Get this. I was thinking I wanted Asian noodles for lunch and was going to ask my host if she could recommend a place, but she beat me to it! It’s rather scary how well she’s gotten to know me! The restaurant is Pompoko and it was super busy, always a good sign. I went with their lunch special of udon noodles with prawns and squid. This picture is terrible, but if you squint, you can see how they cut the squid to make it more tender. This was crazy good!

I then meandered my way down to the water.

My destination was, of course, the tourist trap that is the Brighton Pier.

The pier is free to access, so I got to take it all in without spending a penny. The entire structure is owned by one company so prices are the same throughout all the shops. Not much was open today.

There are free deck chairs to use on the pier. I imagine these go very quickly in the hotter months!

At the end of the pier are a bunch of rides, some for kids, some for adults.

I learned while watching a programme recently that that tower at the back with a slide is called a helter-skelter.

I eventually reached the end of the pier. I’m looking towards France here.

Spot the annoying typo.

The last thing on my list was to walk through “The Lanes,” Brighton’s shopping district in a maze of narrow lanes not unlike the bazaar in Sarajevo.

On the way there, I paused for a gelato, surprising myself when I picked “sour cherry,” which was exactly that, with very tart fruit contrasting pleasantly with the smooth vanilla ice cream.

Brighton Square.

This block of flats does not suit the ambiance of the neighbourhood.

Most of the shops in The Lanes sell jewelry.

I didn’t linger long and decided that I was ready to go home after having a beer.

More pretty tile work at a hotel.

Another church made of flint.

This pub seemed welcoming.

I ordered a half pint of bitter and was offered a choice of four. I went with their darkest and strongest, Laine’s Best Bitter. So pretty! One of the options was an American pale ale, so I’m thinking that’s what I have to look for in North America.

I then meandered my way back to the train station.

But took a detour up a very steep hill to check out St. Nicholas’ Church.

I am fascinated by the use of the flint as a construction material. It is exquisite!

And here I am back at the Brighton train station, where there was a train only going to Hove leaving in two minutes. Talk about good timing with trains today!

I’m glad I went to Brighton for the day, but it’s definitely not a place I would care to return to and I’m happy I stayed in Hove. As I’d been warned, Brighton proper is very dirty, run down, and full of panhandlers. It’s also very tourist and gaudy. I can imagine that there are much nicer places to go for a seaside holiday in England. But the Royal Pavillon is worth the detour!

When I got into Hove, I had the bright idea of picking up my ticket for Gatwick tomorrow to save me a step. Well, I witnessed a distraught young girl have her money eaten by a machine. She said that there’s never anyone working at the Hove station and that when this has happened in the past, she was never able to get her money back. A nice man stepped in to buy her a ticket on his card before I could offer, so she was able to get home. But that sure validated my feelings of hopelessness the other night when I missed my stop!

I popped into Tesco to pick up a pizza and a small bottle of wine for dinner. One of the first things my host showed me in her kitchen was how to use the grill to heat up a pizza, so I knew I wouldn’t have any trouble doing that for my dinner.

Now, my host is the lovely Moira! I don’t like to say where I stay when I’m there, but I can finally give a shoutout to her and her  Airbnb listings. Coming home tonight, I marvelled that I’ve been living with her a full week and haven’t gone nuts yet! 🙂 Her home is unfussy, cosy, clean, and so welcoming. I could make meals at home if I wanted, watch telly in the lounge with her in the evening, and just live my normal routine. It says a lot that I felt comfortable leaving the door to my office open while I worked and didn’t feel the need to squirrel myself away to be as invisible as possible.

My European adventure has wound down. If I have time to grab a late lunch in Iceland tomorrow instead of just rushing through the airport, that will be icing on the proverbial cake! It’s been incredible and I feel so grateful to have had this opportunity.

Now, it’s time to go pack. I’m told WOW Air is extremely strict and won’t let me on with my purse in addition to my backpack and suitcase, so I have to get everything packed the way it was when I came over here. Even though I actually have less than when I arrived, I’ve been struggling with the packing, so I really need to go spend some time on that. Then bed, because 5:30 is going to come really soon…

Out and About Around Dallas

Ms. Cinnamon had the afternoon off, so we set off on a mini road trip. The weather was gorgeous and there wasn’t anything else I particularly wanted to see, so she just drove.

We headed out first to the Ray Hubbard reservoir area, where her son’s family lives. It’s a giant man-made lake used for recreation. The communities along the shore appeal to young upwardly mobile families.

Next, we drove the President George Bush Turnpike. Even a quick query on my phone didn’t satisfactorily answer how the toll structure works, although it is clear that your license plate is photographed and you get a bill in the mail.

We then stopped at her son-in-law’s recycling business, where I learned quite a bit about how recycling works and got a tour of the facility. The baler is really cool! I do find stuff like this fascinating, so this was absolutely a highlight of the day, with no sarcasm! He collects all sorts of things and showed off some small thick plastic bags of which he had dozens of boxes on a pallet. I mused that they would be great for scooping the litter box and I suddenly found myself the owner of a full 1,000 count box! I scoop two to three times a day, so that’s a year’s supply!

The visit done, Ms. Cinnamon took me to the Urban Reserve neighbourhood, filled with modern sustainable homes. It’s a lovely project, but those homes are just not my style.

Finally, she took me to another neighbourhood to show off a house she loves and we passed the very ornate Dallas Buddhist Center.

It was a lovely afternoon. I love getting chauffeured around!

Relocating the Office to the Marina at Indianola

Today boasted an afternoon too beautiful to be spent cooped up indoors.

I had just finished the newest draft of the new ebook and was at the point where I needed to print it out to be able to effectively proof it. So I decided to get it out on paper, then head over to the marina at Indianola for a few hours to work on the book there.

I put in an order for lunch and then sat outside to work and watch the fishermen. It was very windy in the sun, but too cold in the sheltered areas, so I held tight to my precious paperwork!

The marina is a nice place to spend time even if you don’t fish. There are lots of tables with a good view:





I indulged in a chicken bacon ranch sandwich (delicious!) and opted for their yummy hush puppies as a side rather than their anemic fries.


The exterior:


Coming back home, I stopped at the monument to La Salle, the same dude who has a bunch of stuff named after him in Quebec, including a borough of Montreal.


Indianola was a major town in the area in the 1800s until it was wiped out twice by two hurricanes and a fire. It is now a ghost town.

Finally, there is a fire burning close to the beach. Check out the smoke, it has completely obliterated the sun:


Cabin Fever

Today was a bit of a down day. The weather wasn’t great and the wind picked up in mid afternoon. I witnessed my wisp of a neighbour open her house door and literally fly out of the rig, holding onto the door for dear life! When I had to go out a few moments later, I made sure to exit through the cab!

It’s rare that I have a day where I don’t know what to do with myself at home, and this was one of them. I worked on my book, did some housekeeping, played my recorder, and tried to sit down with a movie and some embroidery. Nothing kept my attention.

I finally decided to just head into town to pick up a few things, coming home with all the fixings for a cozy night at home: a pizza, ice cream, and Liam Neeson (I had beer at home!). I had just finished dessert and the movie (Unknown) was getting good when there came a knock at the door. I knew what that meant!

A few minutes later, L and I were on our way to Indianola for a couple of beers and some live music. He’d also been hit by a wave of cabin fever! We had a good time chatting and watching some kids reel in fish. We didn’t stay long, just enough to shake away some of the blues. I am going to have such fond memories of that pier in my old age.

An Offer I Hated Refusing

Last night, L, Caroline, her husband, and I headed back out to the Indianola Fishing Marina for burgers and a little live music. We had prepared to freeze, but the marina is well sheltered, so we were comfortable and hung out for over two hours.

The marina has a new cook who completely messed up everyone’s orders. L had ordered well before the rest of us and had to remind the kitchen that he’d ordered something. My chicken ranch bacon burger with lettuce and tomato was lacking bacon and tomato and when the manager got wind of this, she offered me a free appetizer. So I got to assuage my curiosity as to what ‘crab poppers’ are (spicy hot and delicious!).

I’m glad we had a chance to hang out since Caroline and her hubby are thinking of leaving today and L is leaving shortly. But we will all see each other again soon as the path through Saskatchewan is straight through their respective cities.

When we got in, Caroline’s hubby asked if I wanted to plug into their generator. We had done that the night before and also a few days ago. The night before, I only needed about 10A to fill the bank, but the computer was discharged, so I was thankful to plug in for a  few amps so that I could start with a nearly full battery in the morning and a full charged computer.

But last night, I had to refuse the offer! I came in to 12.8V, which is FULL, and my computer also had a full charge. There was really no point even though I ended up running the furnace and electric blanket for a bit.

I woke up to 12.59V (99.5% according to the battery monitor) and COLD again, so I’m running the furnace this morning since I have tons of propane. Yesterday, I ran the furnace mid-afternoon for about a half hour, which I’m pretty sure is the only time I ran the furnace during the day this winter. That said, I did run an electric heater almost full-time in Hampton Roads.