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  • Angela Louie and Allan de la Plante

The Balmy Beaches of Eastbourne

What’s the first thing you think of when I say beaches and sunshine? Let me guess…the UK? Who would have thought that we would have ended our trip on the balmy beaches of Eastbourne?

Actually the reason we stayed at Eastbourne rather than somewhere a lot closer to Goodwood is that we had planned to make the trip through the chunnel to France to visit Allan’s grandfather’s gravesite. He was buried there 100 years ago during WWI. But even with Allan’s ambidextrous shifting and only occasional forays into the right lane, we thought it would be wiser not to chance the possibility of problems in the chunnel. We would just relax and roam around the town.

Eastbourne is a seaside resort and the Queen’s Hotel marked the dividing line between the upper class hotels and the ones for the common folk. You could definitely envision the Victorian era in the buildings and the huge landmark pier. They even had fireworks. We wandered down to where the locals eat, The Harleywood American Diner with Supersize Me portions.

Just a few miles from our hotel was Beachy Head, a marvelous site where you could see the town below and the miles of ocean across the English Channel. There were white cliffs and a picturesque lighthouse. All around were rolling hills and fields. It was just beautiful. We had the best food of the UK at the Beachy Head Pub and watched the sunset.

We learned that Beachy Head was the major operational route outbound from the UK for the airmen of the RAF bomber command when taking the war to the enemy. For many Beachy Head would have been their last sight of England.

We also observed a couple of other things. There were quite a number of crosses just at the cliff’s edge and a truck that said Beachy Head Chaplaincy. The waiter explained that Beachy Head is unfortunately the 2nd biggest suicide site in the world (next to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco). The chaplaincy service operates 24 hours and they talk to people who look like they may be in distress. In fact, the servers at the pub are also tasked with making note and calling the chaplains if they come across people who need their help. You didn’t hear much about this. It would hurt business. But we were glad they had services available for people who needed it.

This fact aside, it was refreshing and relaxing seeing water as far as the eye could see. It set us up for the next 3 days of mayhem at the Goodwood Revival Meeting this weekend!

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