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brighton is where the tale ends

February 24, 2011

If my life were a word right now, it would be whoosh. Not a stormy, windy whooosh. More like the sound a propane stove makes when lit. A whoosh without an exclamation point. The slow whoosh of winter. The whoosh of passing time.

I can hardly believe it’s been 2 weeks since my last post. I did pop into Astrid’s place ever so briefly to talk about why I shoot film but otherwise, I’ve been working and waiting for Spring to arrive. I’ve been up to a few other things as well, which I would love to tell you all about but I don’t want to get dooced. Besides, some things are better left unsaid. This is a sweet little something that I’m keeping safe in the cockles of my heart. (Don’t you hate it when people do that? They say they have a secret but couldn’t possibly divulge it because, you know, it’s a secret. So annoying.) But perhaps I can interest you in the last slice of my trip to England from a thousand years ago? Brighton with a sprinkling of snow, maybe? The seaside? Who doesn’t love a good seaside post?

My last few days in England were a whirlwind. A frenzy of friends and late nights and recovering and sleeping and packing and running for planes and pushing the thought of leaving as far back as possible in the recesses of my mind. Highlights include:

  1. Breakfast at Acoustic, where the spark was ignited 2 years ago. I love going back to places that hold memories. A little nostalgia with your coffee?
  2. Waking up at 5:30 to take the early morning train to Brighton. It was cold as hell. Sea smoke was rising off the ocean and the beach was covered in snow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a snowy beach before and I live in Canada for Pete’s sake. I suppose the tides usually eat the snow before it’s had a chance to settle.  Strange that I had to go to temperate England to see such a lovely sight.
  3. Going to the washroom in a café in Brighton, which had a two-way mirror  so that when you sat on the throne, you could see everyone in the restaurant and they (presumably) could not see you. Gives a whole new meaning to stage fright. Not really a highlight actually. More awkward than anything. And a little disconcerting.
  4. Challenging the boy to a couple of games of air hockey (my favorite) on the Brighton Pier. I have a sudden case of amnesia and can’t remember who won.
  5. Meeting the Hudson twins at Borough Market after spending the day walking around cold, cold Brighton. Ant was waiting for us with two cups of hot mulled wine. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Walking around the market with epicurean boys was such fun. They were so excited to have a new pawn. “Jeanine, taste this”, they said with much exuberance as they presented me with all manners of delicacies and went on to describe the intricate flavors that I was experiencing.
  6. One pub, two pubs, three pubs, four. Dare I say it… I may very well be pubbed out.
  7. Snowball fights in the streets of London. It gets old here where snow falls nearly every day. But in England, where it rarely snows, the childlike wonder of winter is very much present.
  8. Going to a nostalgia rave organized by a friend and dancing until 4:30am. Slightly overwhelming in terms of “How many freaking people does this boy know?” but there’s nothing quite like shaking it on the dance floor with your man looking oh-so-fine.
  9. Even better than the night before was the morning (or afternoon, as it were) after. Le British Boy made a wild mushroom and goose egg omelette (mushrooms and eggs purchased from the prior day’s market excursion). We then spent the day drinking tea and watching movies under a million blankets and white pillows of cocoon goodness. Our own little island of loooooove. We did venture out at one point to pick up pizza, which we brought back to the island straight away. Pizza in bed = awesomeness.
  10. The mad rush to the airport. I am a play it safe kind of girl. I don’t gamble with flights. I generally arrive hours early and putter around the airport. I don’t know what happened this time. Whether I threw caution to the wind or miscalculated or maybe the trains were particularly slow due to adverse weather conditions but before I knew it, I was arriving at the airport with only 50 minutes to boarding time (luggage still not checked). Joe and I plotted a plan on the train on the way there. “Ok. So you run ahead, yeah? And I’ll keep your luggage. And if you have to board, then run baby and we’ll figure out the luggage thing some other time” We said good-bye, right there and when the doors opened, I ran like a bat out of hell. Or so I thought. By the time I got to the check in counter, Joe was right behind me, saying “What the hell was that? My granny runs faster than that. Don’t you run marathons and shit. I know you can run faster than that.” The good news is my flight was delayed. Just moments earlier, it appears a seagull flew into the engine of the plane I was meant to board. And so it is that the British Boy and I were able to end the adventure in peace, at a little airport bar, sipping what we love best… double whiskeys, and snacking on chips and mayo (a little english-french fusion).

And so, months later, we find ourselves back at the beginning… back at passport control, which bears repeating because passport controllers who are not only nice to sad Canadian girls but say the perfect thing to cheer them up? Yeah. They pretty much rock.

So much happened between the moment I landed at Heathrow airport and the day I left, when, eyes stained red, the man at Passport control asked me “Are you alright, Miss? You look like you’ve been crying?” Everyone knows that if you show the broken hearted the least bit of sympathy, a mysterious thing happens. It’s as if kindness is a trigger for tears. More tears. So I replied, a bit of a mess “Yes. It’s just that I’m going to miss England soooo (sobbing) soooo much“. And he said the best thing he could have possibly said: “It’s ok, Miss. You can always come back.

I intend to. Home is where the heart is. And mine is somewhere in England.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2011 5:26 pm

    yes…i relish and hate knowing about secrets. they bring such a smile to the keeper but make me chomp at the bit to hear the happy news. i hope it’s happy news. well, i am fairly convinced it’s happy news. i’m writing down what i think it is so i can see if i was right.

  2. Alison permalink
    February 24, 2011 6:36 pm

    sigh sigh sigh. Beautiful post. Beautiful pictures. I love gnomie in the rocks and I love the idea of spicy pumpkin soup that was on the menu in the window. And you running slower than Joe’s granny is hilarious. hee hee

  3. February 24, 2011 10:55 pm

    i love your post about film. it’s so true. that magical sound of the shutter and manually advancing the film? ugh. so much love.

    and ooh, beach + snow. how bizarre. i’m a californian and that just doesn’t make sense in my head. haha.

  4. February 25, 2011 10:25 am

    right back at you, friend. I can feel the ‘coast’ and the ‘cold’ in these. so awesome.

  5. February 25, 2011 11:42 am

    just stumbled upon your blog – great photos and writing! I, too, have just recently discovered the phenomenon of snowy beaches (in Seattle)!

  6. February 25, 2011 11:58 am

    I hate when people partly share/keep secrets…but I do love the anticipation of the final reveal (can’t you tell I’m Canadian? I never make up my own mind!)..and I bet you’ve got something good going on, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you! 🙂

    I wish my romantic situation with my Britboy (who moved here…not to be with me though) was headed in a positive direction as yours! *sad sigh*

    Absolutely stunning images as always, I soooo miss the UK.

  7. February 25, 2011 2:38 pm

    charlane’s comment made me laugh! i was thinking the same thing only she said it so much better than i could have. i love the last shot from this set, it is priceless.

  8. February 25, 2011 5:16 pm

    oh, I love your posts. So much!

  9. Ashley Erin permalink
    February 25, 2011 5:39 pm

    So many beautiful photos and memories. Though I have to say that the photo of the gnome in the rocks makes me smile extra wide. 🙂

  10. February 25, 2011 10:04 pm

    I never imagined snow on the beach. England not getting much snow, equally unimagined. See, I not only enjoy your photos and narrative, but I’m learning too! It doesn’t come any better than that.

  11. February 27, 2011 5:17 pm

    Gorgeous captures, Jeanine! I’ll take the photos of the beach right about now, snow and all….

    Loved your post over at Astrid’s – and I couldn’t agree more about film photography.

  12. February 28, 2011 9:51 am

    snow on brighton beach, that’s a sight i need to see. love your words and photos as always, you make everything seem beautiful. and secrets are sweet, i bet yours is beautiful x.
    i know, i owe you an email, i’m sorry. one day soon x.

  13. February 28, 2011 11:13 am

    tears in my eyes, feeling (but not really knowing) how hard that farewell must have been, and how each reunion must feel, knowing that there’s going to be another farewell not long after.

    gawd i love you. come back to london soon okay? joe isn’t the only one here that misses you

  14. February 28, 2011 7:32 pm

    amazing pictures !
    such a particular atmosphere…
    snow on the beach is always pretty fascinating to me, not that i’ve ever seen it…
    i really love your photos.

  15. February 28, 2011 11:02 pm

    I really love these photos! I’ve never seen snow on a beach before! It’s so strange to me, but so cool to look at!

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