Thursday, July 16, 2009

11 June 2009 - Day 12: Brighton-Shoreham-Lancing

11.45 a.m.

Farewell to Tricia and Susy. I've renewed one friendship, started a new one and feel sad to leave.
A long cycle ride from their house in Hollingbury into the town where a public consultation is taking place.

Options are set out on the other side, with a preference and comments book on the other side.

I cycle along Edward Street uphill past law courts, police, job centre, resting and snapping on the way,

to the new Alexandra Children's Hospital I've been told about in the grounds of the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

The hospital's design is based on the Ark; huge amounts of money have been lavished on it, while back in the centre of town an NHS dental practice lies derelict and websites proliferate instructing people who cannot afford private dental care on DIY extractions.

1.40 p.m.
Temp: 16.4c, humidity: 59%, wind westerly and very strong. Cloudy.
O.S. Explorer Map No. 122
Distance travelled: 13 miles

There's a splash of blue and yellow next to the pier. It's a Scope action during 'Time to Get Equal' week, and they are collecting pledges of support for disability issues from the public.

We exchange stories; I talk to Ron and Jamie (Scope's campaigns manager) from their London office, and Rosa from the Brighton branch. I tell them I used to do photo commissions for Scope many years ago.

But I have to go, and set out into a head-on wind, pier to pier. There isn't much left of the west pier now.

The wind turns into rain and, taking refuge in a urine-stinking shelter across from recycling bins, I feel weak and demoralized, and have to remind myself that I chose to do this; nobody forced me to, and there are worse things in the world than being stuck in a smelly shelter.
And eventually the rain passes, though the wind remains, requiring double effort to pedal.

Beyond Hove there are wharfs where I talk to a marine insurance surveyor who is checking the weight of a "beam trawler". All the fishing boats are moored up as it's too rough at sea.

I pass through the bleak industrial wasteland of Portslade by Sea; Parker Steel, Dean Dyball Construction, Hanson's Solent Aggregates Ltd., who are moving piles of stuff around with CAT diggers (RIP Rachel Corrie).

The air smells bad; heaven knows what toxic dust and chemicals are flying around in the wind.

But crossing the lock back to the mainland is gorgeous. The evening sun comes out and the world looks beautiful.

After an obnoxious man tells me I HAVE to go on via the rush-hour-busy main road, I nearly miss adventures. Of course there's another way; I cycle through quiet town streets, longer but nicer by far, and emerge opposite the footbridge over the Adur Estuary footbridge.

The tide is out.

On the far side there are moorings for houseboat conversions of motor torpedo boats and other antique vessels, many from world wars 1 and 2.

There's a footpath alongside them and I meet Mike and Marshall who are part of this varied community.

I tell them about the converted 52' WW1 naval pinnace where I lived on the Thames when I first left home.

7.30 p.m.

The campsite - Barn Caravan Park - is almost empty. I get a sheltered pitch, and a donation of the pitch fee to the British Lung Foundation from Joe who works there.
Before turning in, dinner is: one banana, ricecakes with yeast extract (courtesy of Tricia), cheese, raisons, sunflower seeds, almonds and brazel nuts. Plus half a bar of Green & Blacks dark chocolate.