There's something really enchanting about spending time with our friends Chris, Char and their little one, Lydia. There's also something enchanting about the south downs in summertime. We've met quite a few British expats in our travels abroad. Frequently, it seems, the ones who leave are the ones who find the English countryside insufferable. For me they are the best kind of romantic, in a civilized way that the US can never be. For our friends, they are home.
Chris, Char, and Lydia live in a three story lighthouse (well, I like to think so) by the sea. They have a fenced in garden from where you can hear the gulls as they pass by. In fact, they live in an area perched up on a hill where there are hundreds and hundreds of little lighthouses, all brightly colored and set up in slightly arcing rows. These houses are so perfectly situated all together that certain navigational hazards - yours truly - would be stupidly lost if they ventured outside.
But you can always head down. Down into downtown Brighton, where all manner of well made English fare can be purchased and drunk with a delicious ale. Or perhaps you have a hobby that you enjoy. There's probably someone killing it in Brighton. You could head to the sea and let the wind whip and whistle through your hair. Or, perhaps, you could visit a nice little pub that's a three hour walk through the downs. Care to join?
We joined for three romantic weeks, sharing company, meals, playtime, naptime, and storytime together. We cooked delicious food, Chris and I. We even snuck in a real life garden party at Char's parents place for her mother's birthday. It was a rare event for Matt and I, getting to share daily rituals with friends.
Sure, sometimes there were some unpleasant things. We've heard it can rain unexpectedly at anytime. Although while we were there, the rain was more an unpleasant thought than a reality. I recall it raining once or twice. And the gulls have a nasty habit of tearing up everyones garbage and scattering it about. But who doesn't live with a bit of trash now and then?
For us, it was solid good all the way through: the food, the downs, the little city by the sea. All of it. But mostly, the people. We miss them dearly.
I still think about our visit almost every day.