16 Jul 2013
Sunday. We weren’t really sure what we wanted to do today, but we had talked about doing one of the “bus to bus” walks in Brighton where you could take a bus to one of the stops and then do a country walk in the Sussex downs to somewhere else that a bus runs, and catch that back into town. As a family, we’d done the Ditchling Beacon to Devil’s Dyke walk once. I’d done it on my own once, and ridden it with Si before.
Over our usual breakfast (at brunch time), we talked it over, and based on the timing eventually decided that we’d be hard pressed to do that whole walk and still get home in time for an appointment that Carolyn had made for Sam to see her friend Anjali. So, we cooked up another route leaving from Patcham. Fortunately, we’d remembered to bring our local Ordinance Survey map back with us, so knowing where the bus might let us off or pick us up made it easy to do some route planning.
On my Friday night supper/drinks with the guys, Si had mentioned a willingness to get together again, and I knew him to be a bit outdoorsy, so we invited him along. I’d hoped he’d be able to bring Leah and her daughter Isis as I’d heard about them on Friday, but Isis was with her dad and Leah had a bum ankle.
Still, Si was able to make it, and met us at one of the bus stops in Patcham.
Near the beginning of the walk was what I had remembered as a football pitch, but when we arrived, it was clearly now a cricket pitch, and a game of cricket was going on. Si patiently explained aspects of the game to us — things Jim had probably explained to us a couple of years earlier as we’d played with him and his kids in Queen’s park. The likelihood that the subtleties that we learned today will stick are, however, still approximately nil. After watching that well past the time that Sam got bored, we started to hike along toward the Chattri — a memorial for British Indian soldiers.
It was a hike through open fields, and the heat wore on all of us, especially Sam. At one point, the trail passed through a herd of cattle, one of whom was standing in the middle of the trail. We kept going, working our way around this guy. By the time we got to the Chattri, I was concerned that this might just be an out-and-back hike. But we unpacked and ate lunch there which helped revive the flagging Sam. That allowed us to continue northward joining the Sussex Border Path up to the South Downs Way where we at least made it to the Ditchling Beacon. I managed a good amount of time to catch up more with Si; a treat to be sure.
When we arrived at the Ditchling car park, we had some ice creams from the entreprenurial “Mr. Whippy” who parks there summer weekends to service weary travelers just like ourselves. Alas, on Sunday, the buses run only every hour, and on our arrival, we found that we had missed the previous bus by scant minutes. Fortunately, Leah had offered to pick us up — an offer which we’d gratefully accepted.
Si and Leah dropped us at our flat in time to allow a little bit of recouperation before we headed out to meet Anjali and her parents Chulanthi and Bob who were all just back from a little time in London. It didn’t take Sam and Anjali long to reacquiaint themselves with one another and soon they were rolling down the hillside together. The intent had been to take the girls to the beach, but they had so much fun in Palmeira Square that we didn’t really make it to the beach.
One of the traditions that we indulged in during our 2010 life in Brighton was on Sunday we’d often get Bombay take away to eat back in our flat watching either some World Cup football or Top Gear depending. It was definitely a favorite in our household and one of the things that we wanted to reprise on this trip. (Only we’d decided we’d eat there instead of doing take away.) Bob had other plans, but Chulanthi and Anjali joined us, and the girls continued to entertain themselves while the adults got at least somewhat caught back up. After dinner and a walk back dropping Anjali and Chulanthi off, we headed back to our flat where we reprised one of our other favorite foods of the British Isles — sticky toffee pudding. And, we got ourselves packed up. Our too-short stay had come to an end, and we need to get to France tomorrow to begin that leg of our holiday.