Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sundays in England!

It's Sunday in Brighton, England. I slept in once again. You can't blame me. I've been either too excited or too afraid to sleep so far, so my body was seriously craving a little rest. Anyway, my lovely host, Sarah, had a repairman fix her boiler. 

Hooray! Hot water! 

I took a wonderful hot shower and prepared myself once again for the cold and strong winds of Brighton. To my surprise, I stepped out and found the sun shining and the air as warm as a fall day back in North Carolina. I peeled my coat off and began my descent down the steep hill towards the pier.

The sea was calm and beautiful! It was so calm that it practically blended with the horizon. 

Making it to the pier, I also noticed that the winds were a little milder. And then, I saw something magnificent.

The Royal Pavilion!

Once the home of Queen Victoria as well as King George, the architecture and design was astounding. I purchased a ticket and explored the inside of the palace. Wow. I was thoroughly inspired. Heavily influenced by China, the palace was simply decadent. 

I made my way through the palace and resisted buying souvenirs from the shop. Good job! And then...I was taken in by the shops that lined Brighton's streets. Oh boy. It took some serious willpower not to go mad with shopping fever. I did however buy a new suitcase. Hmmm, that makes 4 suitcases now. 

The one thing I knew I simply had to try was fish and chips. And yes, I found some! Yum! 

It was good...but I didn't get it served in paper since I dined in, and I didn't get I try the mushy peas. Nonetheless, it was pretty good. 

Time surely does fly and it is time for me to head to the station to meet my next host, Brad. I'm excited because I have also been penpalling him for some time. I caught a taxi and hurried to Sarah's house to collect my things. I lugged my bags down her two flights of stairs and my friendly taxi driver, Clive, put then in the taxi. The ride to the station was quiet, and then, Clive saved me a ton of trouble by offering to take me to the town where I was to meet Brad.

Whew! That was a relief. By this time I was so sore and tired of carrying my heavy bags everywhere. So I was willing to pay Clive the price of a train ticket. I was pleasantly surprised by Clive's sudden change. The next 40 minutes were spent discussing the various accents of the British people, American politics, and little known facts about Brighton and Sussex. I learned so much. It was glorious! Clive dropped me in from of the Worthing station and I said farewell to one of my favorite new friends.

Now, I stood on the curb and glanced up at an older woman who stared at me as if I was a strange new creature. Perhaps I was. This area was clearly more rural than London and Brighton. I pulled my bags inside and waited for Brad. He arrived right on time. With him, he brought a sense of confidence that perked me right up. He came right up to me, kissed me on both cheeks, and took my bags from my hands.

Yes. A true gentleman...and shall I say...quite dreamy. Ha!

We headed to his car and I met his younger sister, Laura. She was a beautiful girl with lovely blondish brown hair and a friendly smile. I already knew I was in for a fun night with great English folk. We drove thought the dark streets of Worthing to Pulborough and arrived at Brad's lovely home.

Wow. It was remarkable. Newly built, but designed to look older and traditional. Inside I was greeted by two adorable cocker spaniels and Brad and Laura's father. 

We went up to my bedroom and they made the bed for me. What hospitality!

Ah. A warm bed and hot water. I feel spoiled. Haha.

I headed down and Brad's father made me an excellent cup of coffee. My goodness. I've never drank so much coffee in my life, but I must say, the coffee is delicious here.

Little did I know, but I was in for a real treat. It's Sunday, and I get to enjoy a traditional Sunday roast with the family. While Laura finished making dinner, Brad and I headed to a local pub for a quick pint. Excellent conversation ensued and I took in the interesting decor of a real English pub. 

Once again, a wave of inspiration wafted over me. I perhaps took too long to finish my pint and jabbered quite a bit, because we arrive to dinner late. No worries. We sat down to a table of sliced roast, crispy potatoes, roasted carrots, Yorkshire pudding, wine, and cauliflower with the most delicious cheese I've ever had!

Wow. Everything was incredible. I wish I remembered to take pictures!!!

I was intrigued by the television shows we watched during dinner. A man chased sheep up and down a hill, a show about farming, and the British equivalent to dancing with the stars. Very interesting stuff.

After dinner Brad and I somehow got on the subject of ghosts and told each other out best ghost stories. He then showed me his newest purchase. A real...RED COAT! Oh yay! We are truly in England!

And then, before bed, I sat down with Laura and Brad and watched Downton Abbey! Awesome! But before we went off to bed, I suggested a popular American tv show...American Horror Story. Oh boy. That was probably a bad idea. Even I was a little astounded by the first episode of the third season, the Coven. Yeah...Laura looked horrified and Brad politely told me that it was "quite dark." 

Hahaha. Oh well. That's America for you!


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