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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Tuesday, 17 August 2004


Christopher and I took a trip "down south" on Sunday - it had been ages since we'd visited my Mother on one of our "Father and son" adventures, and as I could take the Monday off work, it worked out very well.

The train journeys were warm, but not uncomfortable. I can vaguely remember getting off at London Bridge on the hottest day of the year last year and almost being overcome with the heat. Christopher very much enjoyed the travelling, from being able to drag his suitcase-on-wheels behind him, to the clanky old South Coast trains that I'm surprised are still in service in these safety conscious days (and the 'nonsense' that was spoken by the guards through the tinny little speakers). The one we caught from Gatwick Airport had the bars on the doors that were put there to stop schoolchildren sticking their heads out!

Mother met us at the station, and we walked gently up the hill to 'our old house' - a large Victorian semi located about ten minutes walk from the sea. I still can't believe Mother's lived there for twenty-one of its hundred-and-two years, which means it's that long since I started secondary school.

Amusingly, we finally handed over the Christmas presents that hadn't made it at our last family visit (can you believe it was nearly eight months since we'd been down?) and Christopher took delivery of a large floor-puzzle, which he managed to assemble in impressive time, once we'd sorted out the corners and edges.

I popped out for a walk after dinner, once Christopher had gone to bed, because there's only so long I can keep myself from the sea! As the horizon slowly vanished between the darkening stretches of blue, I was a little surprised to feel the rain start - by the time I reached the house, I was definitely damp, although it could have been a lot worse, if the heavens had opened in the same way they did last week.

The next morning, Christopher and I ventured out to get our hair cut. The least expensive place (why do they not put the price lists outside the door?) was the Eversleigh - the father of someone with whom I went to school did a fairly conservative job of staving off the next visit to the barber's, before we went down to the seafront with Mother.

I forgot to bring the 'proper' camera with me, but I rarely miss an opportunity to take some mini-photos - I've included some in this entry, and there are more in the gallery.

Christopher enjoyed a paddle in the sea, after which we visited the park - a beautifully kept grassy area where we could throw a ball to each other, a boating lake (perhaps for when C's older and would tolerate a whole half-hour on the water!), a well-appointed playpark and the largest congregation of ducks, swans, cygnets, pigens, seagulls, starlings and sparrows on the bak of the lake that I'd ever seen. There are some photos of them in the selection below.

After picking up some sandwiches from the Co-op and looking for a small gift for Beth (we eventually found Bill Bryson's excellent "Notes from a Small Island" in a lovely little second-hand bookshop on our way to the station) we returned to the house, and it wasn't long before we had to set off for the three-hour journey home.

We started off on one of the rather modern air-conditioned swanky trains, that took us to Brighton. Within twenty minutes, the Thameslink train was ready for boarding - a dingy, mucky and slightly odorous collection of carriages in comparison. We busied ourselves looking out for various items on a list in one of Christopher's magazines, and trying to work out what the square red-and-white 'battenburg' sign actually said (not "Warning: steady on, old chap", then). As the carriage filled up - we caught the front of the London rush hour - it was a relief to alight and meet Beth and Ella in the car park afterwards.

A fine, if not a little tiring trip down south then - now I've got a Network Card, maybe we'll do it again sometime before the end of the year!

It's back to work today, though - not too many emails to catch up on, but a few meetings to attend, as my boss is on holiday this week.

I'm trying to cut down on my 'internet playing' these days, though it's not helped by some rather fun games that are out there - I especially like this swizzy online version of Mastermind (the version with the coloured pegs, rather than Magnus Magnusson) and a simple, yet enjoyable interpretation of WeBoggle (another game from my childhood. In fact, Christopher took great interest in arranging the cubes on the floor at his Grandmother's. Full circle, then.

Miniphotos from Bexhill

Posted by james at August 17, 2004 8:36 PM

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