Eastbourne Blog

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:

 

Please God I’m thirsty in Israel!

A tour through Israel will transform the Bible into vivid reality, through the sites and through the overall experience. From the moment you step off the plane in Tel Aviv into a blast of intense heat, you begin to wonder how on earth various figures in the Bible survived for long periods of time  in the arid wilderness. After sitting on a plane for five hours I was desperate for a drink of water. My mouth was parched and I had a headache. A gallon of cool water trickling down my throat was all I could focus on.

Water, we take it for granted in the developed world. It is the most basic, the most fundamental  of man’s needs and necessary for human development and man’s survival, we crave it more than anything else on this earth. It makes up the majority of your body weight. We need it for cooking, agriculture, industry, electricity. A woman’s ‘waters’ break as she begins the process of labour.

The scarcity of available water has become a hot topic for debate across the world, contributing to conflict as this vital resource becomes  difficult to source for an ever increasing population.

There are 722 references to water in the Bible. Water streams through the pages of scripture and is often a metaphor for something else, but each reference is hugely significant and teaches  us so much in a spiritual sense. The first reference is in Genesis 1:20. “Let the water yield inexhaustibly the moving animal that hath life.” And the final reference is in Revelations, 22:17: “Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” Throughout the Bible water is used to cleanse and heal, to wash away sin. Water is drawn from wells, from rocks. Samson nearly died of thirst but God opened up a hollow place and his strength returned. Across human cultures water has been used to communicate the sacred and gives profound mean to suffering and redemption.

As I walked through the airport in need of water I looked up at the mock western wall and remembered a passage from Zechariah, 14:8, “On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem”. Where could I buy water from? It wasn’t flowing here.

That first evening in Israel we kept returning to the importance of water. We were in touch with those people in the Bible, walking in their footsteps, sharing their concerns and challenges. Was it safe to drink from the tap? The jugged water in the restaurant?  Could we buy it on the coach or would we have to boil a kettle of water and let it cool overnight?

Next time you turn the tap on think of the spiritual significance as you watch the water flow! And if you want to bring the Bible to life I would recommend the Christian tour we went on to the Holy Land. Here is the link:

https://www.cmj-israel.org/shoresh-tours

My next travel novel, set in New England with beautiful descriptions of the landscape of Massachusetts, Cape Cod and Rhode Island is now out. It’s called ‘A Time To Reflect.’