A very long time ago I made a promise to myself to revisit Brighton with enough time to enjoy it. At the time I was a researcher at Thames Television News and knew Brighton only through the crazy lens of the party political conference season.
I was working alongside our political editor with a slot to fill for the evening news each night. It was fun - yes – but in the frantic, workaday, please-don’t-mess-this-up-Teresa sense.
Forget seeing the sights, my time was spent chasing MPs for sound bites and scrolling through hours of tapes in the media centre to source clips to send “down the line” to the Thames newsroom.
The pier was not so much a place for a stroll as a backdrop for filming – which is why I made the promise to return, never imagining that it would take me quite so long.
Let’s just say that life got even busier.
I moved to gorgeous Devon, took on the hectic job as anchor of a nightly TV news programme and then took on motherhood . Each role joyous in their own ways - but forget trips away. Brighton went on a wish list which somehow grew longer with every passing year. (And when you live in the beautiful South West, it is very difficult to find excuses to leave it.)
And then suddenly all these decades later, I turn around to find my beautiful boys are grown and my husband ( also a journalist) comes home to share the news that he has been invited to Brighton to write a travel feature and is wondering if I would like to go with him?
Trust me - you have never seen anyone pack so fast.
Boutique all the way - dahlings. Boutique hotel. (The Neo B&B – very stylish and responsible for hugely calorific but wonderful intake at breakfast . Yum) Also Boutique exhibition (the history of Biba which I highly recommend – on at Brighton museum. If you remember the long coat and felt hat look of the early 70s, you will adore it).
At last I got to wander around the maze that is the Brighton Lanes for some Christmas shopping, to stroll up and down the Pier (with not an MP in sight) and to visit the Royal Pavilion.
OMG. What to say about the Royal Pavilion? Best, I think, to say nothing. Believe me: you just have to see it for yourself.
And it is there, in shock and awe at the Pavilion, that I suddenly get the idea for a new short story which I am just itching to write now.
Which is how I bring this whole episode back to the joy and the madness that is this writing life. Promise me that if you’re ever feeling in just a little bit of a rut, ideas wise I mean, then do borrow the leaf. Think of somewhere ( ahem, affordable – listing “The Maldives” is cheating) that you have always meant to visit – or return to and if there is any way you can find the time and the money then grab your writer’s journal and go, go, go.
I was so completely astonished and wowed by the Royal Pavilion at Brighton that I am kicking myself now for leaving it so long to retrace my steps.
OK, so my sore feet retracing those steps reminded me that I am no longer young. But thank you Brighton for reminding me ….that I was once.
WORKSHOP PS I am in the process of putting together some writers’ workshop for fellow enthusiasts in Devon. More news after Christmas. If you’re interested, drop me a note with your details via the contact link. Happy scribbling.