I wanted to go to the seaside.
I stepped off the Brighton train at midday and walked downhill on West Street, my face expectant and alive. I could smell the sea!
All afternoon and into the evening I strolled up and down the beach. I popped onto Brighton Pier a few times, delighting in the purity of its pleasure: the hypnotic 2p machines, the raucous rides, the fairground music.
I paused on a deckchair and looked out to sea. I dozed off for a while and was awoken by a seagull which was laughing at me. I wondered if it was the same one that stole my ice cream when I was there on my birthday in June. What a dude.
I continued my strolling into the evening. As darkness drew in, my iTunes randomly skipped to Now The Night Is Here, by Paul Weller: ‘Let us not talk harshly now, our time is to reconcile. Now the night is here to tell us, to be in love, oh, to be in love.’
My room was overlooking the sea. I threw my windows wide open and left them that way overnight, the noise of passing revellers and traffic a price more than worth paying for an evening of sea air. It filled my lungs and my imagination.
I took an early-morning walk by the beach. I watched as stall holders and cafe owners quietly prepared their premises for the day’s fresh intake of visitors, who would themselves simultaneously be preparing for their trips.
After breakfast I sat and read on the Pier, alongside newspaper-browsing locals who, judging by their familiarity, sat and read here every morning. Imagine that.
Then I gathered my things and bade a silent farewell to the seaside, which had served me so well. As I did so, a seagull looked on, its breast puffed out with the pride of a successful host.
I walked uphill on West Street, against the flow of new visitors, their faces expectant and alive. They could smell the sea.