The low November sun scatters light across the pathway, making the tiny stones twinkle. I am on Eastbourne seafront walking between two favourite cafes where I like to scribble notes for my next book. The sky is deep blue; a few pink clouds billow on the horizon. A lone swimmer clad in rubber braves the sea, battling against the cold with long feline strokes. Retired couples, hand in hand stroll along. They look contented; married for fifty years has made them this way. Stopping every so often they gaze out to sea. Some of them are in Eastbourne for a ‘turkey and tinsel weekend.’ These are short breaks organised by companies like Shearings and Sunrise, herding older people down by coach for festive fun, food and entertainment capturing the spirit of Christmas beside the sea.
One of my favourite cafes, Fusciardi’s ice cream parlour, is a beacon along the parade and lures me in. Fusciardi’s serves the best authentic Italian ice cream this side of Rome with some 18 tasty flavours. In the summer there are long queues for ice cream trailing round the corner of the shop, all day long every day. But today there are no queues or takers for their giant sundaes, just a small girl whining at the counter pointing to an ice cream her mother won’t let her have. Regulars are huddled over hot chocolate, their bellies full of the jacket potatoes the cafe serves.
After my cuppa I wander towards the twinkling lights of the recently restored pier following a fire. The gold domes give it an air of opulence lacking in tired Eastbourne. The road ahead is closed because there was a fire at the Claremont Hotel opposite the pier a week ago. The fire started in the basement, flames taking hold, licking through every room, leaving only the charred facade of this Grade II building that had given Eastbourne an exquisite, grand appearance since Victorian days. I stare in horror through the windows of the facade onto the blue sky beyond and think of a war zone. I was here last Friday when the fire was raging, driving behind the hotel into black smoke, watching passers-by coughing and flicking ash from their coats, gawping, onlookers snapping pictures of the scene for social media.
That’s all for this week! If you like reading family sagas with a travel twist you might like my novels, ‘Holiday’ and ‘A Time To Reflect.’ Here is the link to my latest book: