I awoke on Saturday (18th October) morning feeling a bit bleary eyed after a late night and little sleep the night before… but at the same time full of excitement for the next day of my Andrea-holiday. As usual, I took an age to get ready, with several changes of mind about clothing, and a crick in my side after having leant sideways to do my make up over the bathroom sink as the mirror was bizarrely not over the sink but to the side. So I was the last to join my table of four for breakfast… and I soon started annoying the waiters with the peculiar ways that I like things… even the simplest thing like juice, most people would be happy with a glass of orange juice but I had to ask for a glass of half orange and half grapefruit mixed together. We had a good chat over cooked breakfast and once eating was over started to plan our day ahead. Claire was due a makeover, but more than ever Kirsty, Ruth (our physically-new friend… who at that stage already felt like an old friend), and I yearned to get out and about and lost all interest over anything that was going on in the hotel. At around 10.45 I think we were ready, and we set off in the Kirstymobile.
We headed west out of Eastbourne and soon reached out first stop, Beachy Head car park which offered, just a short walk away, splendid views of the Beachy Head lighthouse below steep chalk cliffs (see picture below-right). It was a lovely warm, sunny day, just perfect for our day out… except that it was rather windy and I soon had to put my hair up into a little pony tail so that I didn’t spend the whole day eating it or un-gluing it from my lip glossed-mouth. After a bit of walking and picture taking we returned to the car park and into the visitor centre, where there was quite an interesting exhibition which we had a look around, with a few giggles, before being enticed into the gift shop – I noticed a stand with some tea towels with some alarmingly poignant phrases on them and, after some debate, I bought one with the moto “If you really want to be happy, nobody can stop you” – for me, the most important thing in life is to attain true happiness within and the only way I can do that is by becoming ME full-time and not have to pretend to be that wretched bloke! This journey has already touched and crossed many people’s lives, and those that I have been fortunate enough to make friends with are the kind of people who will stick with one through thick-and-thin… and those who know me but have a problem with me, who cannot see that I am the same (but, I feel, finally a BETTER) person, I can only assume do not want me to be happy. Ruth bought me a lovely bookmark too.
We drove on just a little way and, after parking, ascended a fairly steep hill up to another lighthouse, and then walked beyond for a way, with much ongoing chat though we were slightly wary of the time our car parking ticket had on it. This second photo (left) is of Kirsty and Ruth, squinting and smiling in the sun, with the impressive chalk cliff coastline beyond… which, after driving a little further, we reached, parking at a very busy car park with a viewpoint looking across the beach:
After another walk along the coastline we decided it was time for lunch. At the car park we went into the National Trust centre where I first repaired my hair (a fairly pointless exercise because as soon as I went outside again it blew all over the place), but the restaurant was packed and so we drove on. On the road map I spotted another National Trust property at a village called Alfriston, so we headed towards that… and as we entered the place it soon became apparent what a beautifully quaint village it was, with Tudor-style houses, numerous tearooms, and many other old buildings. Leaving a car park at the far edge of the village we headed back into town, and soon passed a Dad with a toddler holding his hand who said to his child “Let the ladies past” with a pleasant smile for us! After a wander around the village to check out the plethora of tea rooms and the village green we returned along the main street and settled for the very first one that we had passed. We took a table in the garden and after waiting almost long enough for the ingredients of our lunch to actually grow we ate, I had a lovely toasted brie and bacon sandwich with salad (on the side, of course); here is a photo of Ruth and I patiently waiting for our lunch to arrive.
After our late lunch we returned to Eastbourne and went for a girlie shopping trip into one of the Eastbourne shopping centres. Sadly, or should I say from the point-of-view of my purse thankfully, all I bought were a pair of cheap gold earrings, though Kirsty splashed out on a jumper in a lovely berry colour and one or two other items. But time was marching on, and a gala dinner evening of, as it turned out, overwhelming emotion beckoned, so we headed back to base…
The whole day was just absolute bliss, three friends doing the tourist sites of the South Downs coast, blending in and having fun, chatting away like we had known each other for years and years… and I can only hope that we WILL be friends for years and years because my two girl friends that I spent so much time with while away are truly special!