Fuck off Bognor - In the name of Thiago - Day 209
You may remember me a little earlier in the week alluding to my visit to the sunshine coast of glorious Sussex and how Eastbourne is the second sunniest place in the UK, second only to you guessed it, Bognor. In truth, unlike George V – if you believe what he’s meant to have said on his deathbed – I have nothing against the West Sussex resort. But it’s not a scratch on my home town – all conquering Eastbourne.
Okay all conquering is a little bit of a stretch but I’m sure you’re getting a sense of my happiness at being home. We set off from reasonably sunny Newcastle-under-Lyme at bang on 8, which remarkably, was exactly as planned. We sailed down the M6 and breezed along the M40, before grinding to a halt on everyone’s least favourite car park: the M25.
We stopped at the village of Berwick as this is where my brother’s workshop is. This place is more like an aircraft hangar than a workshop – it is absolutely fucking cavernous. It’s owned by the farmer that has the surrounding land, so Judd’s normal working environment is to be surrounded by cows and tractors. It’s a strange one knowing where his work ends up, to see where it’s created. I left Angélica and Elisa with Judd as they had separate plans for their afternoons, I had an appointment of my own to attend to.
I didn’t stop here for a beer, as I only had about ten minutes before my train was due to leave. But seeing the old place brought back some distant memories of a night out with Bulldog and Loser, which ended in extraordinarily chaotic fashion. That is to say, I’d describe it that way now. In our mid to late 90s heyday – it was just a fairly standard evening’s entertainment.
Loser used to transport us around the UK, and on one memorable occasion to Europe, in an increasingly beaten up Renault dix-neuf. Ah yes Brussels. We’d spent much of the afternoon being turned away at the ports of Folkestone and Dover until I remember coming back round and being completely horrified because either Loser was going the wrong way up the M20 or we’d actually made it despite being completely bollocksed.
It was my first experience of wearing a face mask on public transport today and everyone seemed to be completely compliant, but then I guess it’s been the norm for a while now, whereas I was travelling on a train for the first time this year I think. I jumped off the train at Eastbourne, feeling the sun on my back and headed up Gildredge Road to an old haunt – The Eagle.
There was a nice lass behind the bar at The Eagle today. I didn’t ask her name, I think I was still reeling from the knowledge that my boozing heyday had ended before she was even born. Bloody cheek of it! She was a Gooner an’all so that’s enough of the pleasantries for the nameless barmaid from Camden. I had just enough time for a pint before it was off to see an old chum, who worked in the Eagle in its heyday, Mr Steve Newland. I mentioned Steve yesterday, he’s the sports masseuse. He absolutely destroyed me this afternoon.
Steve did the usual asking me where I thought I was with my physical health, how I’d been since I last saw him in January, what I’d hoped for from the appointment – all the usual shizzle. He then proceeded to find issues I didn’t think I had, effectively replacing problems I used to have with some new ones, all the while battering me into expletive after expletive. It was quite beautiful and I look forward to doing it all again maybe before I set off on my walk. Thank you Steve you utter.. Now, now Gibbs, no need for that!
And here I am in the impressively-sized at The Crown. It’s been a baking hot day but it feels like it’s going to break with the wind really starting to whip up, while the seagulls squawk a noisy protest. I love the weather in Eastbourne. The warmth is a treat but when it changes, I actually find it quite exciting, saddo that I am!
A few tiny drops of rain are just falling now in fact, so I’m going to wrap this up quickly by saying that I’m off to the Vic tonight to hopefully see Gary the landlord there and a couple of other familiar faces. His magnificent hostelry is the starting point for my 300 mile walk this autumn on Saturday 19 September. Yep there’re only seven weeks to go now folks so every last penny raised will be crucial. Let’s push a little closer to that £10k target. Take care one and all.