Brighton - or to give the city its full title, Brighton & Hove - is not particularly big as cities go. In fact, with a population of about a quarter of a million, it's really quite a small city. But it sometimes feels as though that population figure almost doubles, particularly on a fine summer weekend when visitors flock into the city in their thousands. The proximity of Brighton to London doesn't help, of course, and from mid-morning on a fine Saturday or Sunday, the only main road into the city from the north is reduced to a snarl up as trippers try to drive into the city, down to the sea front, and then start searching for somewhere to park. If they are lucky enought to find anywhere within spitting distance of the beach, parking will cost them an arm and a leg.
That main road from the north almost exactly bisects the city, so trying to drive from one side to the other can be a frustrating business at times, even if one has no wish to go into the centre. The traffic jams spread from the sea front right through the city and about a mile or so beyond the northern boundary. We got caught out last Saturday. Our daughter has spent a few days with us and suggested that we had lunch at a country pub before she headed back to the Midlands. On the way to lunch we had to cross the stream of traffic heading into town, but that took only about a quarter of an hour. It was coming back on a quiet(ish) country lane when we really had trouble. It must have taken the best part of an hour to travel no more than a mile, the traffic was so bad.
That was admittedly the first warm Saturday we have had this year, so we really should have expected the problem. If the weather is the same next Sunday, Brighton will most definitely be a city to avoid as that is the day on which the town will be pretty well closed down for the first ever Brighton Marathon.