England, 1981, Part 8

Brighton, Sunday, 3/22/81

We got up early this morning for our trip to Brighton. We had a good breakfast, and at 9:00 set off for the train station. We got to Victoria Station, where we found that a combination of service work on the lines and a labor dispute with the drivers were causing problems. We were told to go to London Bridge Station and get a train from there, and did so. We got a train at 10:40, and at 11:40 we were in Brighton.

We walked down to the Royal Pavilion, and took some pictures around the outside. Then we went to the beach to get some air and see the English Channel. The wind was brisk and the Channel quite rough, with waves crashing in to the shore. After some 20 minutes we returned to the Pavilion.

The Pavilion was the work of George IV, who because of George III’s long life did not become King until he was 60. To occupy his time he built the Pavilion. It started out as a small sea-side cottage, onto which George grafted a much larger structure. He went through several phases in the decoration. As it now stands, the exterior reflects the later Indian style, while the interior is largely in the earlier Chinese style. Both were very popular at the time, as a result of Britain’s rise to Empire in the east. The Pavilion does allow photography, so we took many pictures, although they did not come out. They have a small restaurant hidden away inside the Pavilion, where we had a pleasant, if undistinguished, lunch.

After finishing our tour, we caught the 4:13 train to Victoria, arriving at 5:20, and took the Tube to Leicester Square. We had forgotten that in London the theaters are closed on Sundays. Since there was not much to do in London on a Sunday evening, we decided to call it a day, and returned to Swiss Cottage, where Diane fixed us a dinner of steak and salad. After dinner we watched “That’s Life” on the BBC, which we came to love during our stay.

London, Monday, 3/23/81

We again slept in late, and had a late breakfast before heading for the Tate Gallery. The Tate is renowned for its collection of English and Modern artists. The Tate is a very active place, with movies at noon and in the evening, lectures, and guided tours. We took a tour of the work of of J.M.W. Turner, a young prodigy and member of the Royal Academy. We followed this with a visit to the Constable gallery, which I quite enjoyed, and then the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, which were more to Cheryl’s taste. We finished with a visit to one of the landscape galleries, and then went to the bookstore. I bought a book on Constable and a print of one of his paintings, and Cheryl bought some catalogues of the Tate collection. We left at 4:20, having arranged with Diane and Tom to meet them at the house at 5:00. They knew a place called the Sea Shell that had the reputation for being the best place in London to get fish & chips.

When we got to the house we discovered that the restaurant was closed on Mondays. So we walked up Finchley Road, where it seemed that everything was closed, until we found a Chinese restaurant open, where Cheryl and I were allowed to buy Tom and Diane dinner. Cheryl particularly liked the dried scallops and greens. After dinner we returned to the house to pack for our trip up north.

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