Saturday, 8 August 2015

On the doorstep

I can't now recall quite why we ended up living in Brighton.  By "we" I mean my parents and my brother and I: and in truth, "we" never did all live in Brighton; we lived in Hove, actually.

It was nearly 60 years ago now, back in 1957, that my father retired.  He was only in his early-mid-forties, but he had served his time in the Royal Navy - more than 20 years - and he was retiring on pension.  That pension, however, would be insufficient to keep a family of four, two of those four being fast-growing teenagers, so it was essential that new employment be found.  Dad applied to the Civil Service and was offered a job in the branch that audited local councils' books.  To be more exact, he was offered the choice of three jobs.  Each involved the same work, but there were three teams needing someone and he was offered the choice of joining the team based in Bath or the one in Truro or the one in Hove.

Although by then my paternal grandfather was dead, my other three grandparents were still alive and kicking, and living in the same town in north Kent that we had been living in, Gillingham.  I rather suspect that it was this that pushed us to live in Sussex.  Bath was - and still is - in Somerset in the West Country while Truro is well down the peninsula of Cornwall.  Travelling from Bath to see my grandparents would be bad enough, but Truro would involve a three-day camel ride.  At least if we lived in Brighton (or Hove, actually) a visit to Gillingham would involve no more than a day out.

(Coincidentally, my brother, when he retired from the police, found work in Truro!)

I have no doubt that I would have been just as happy living in either Bath or Truro - although if I had I would never have met the Old Bat.  But I am very happy to live in Brighton where I have the South Downs National Park on my doorstep.  Well, nearly on my doorstep.  This is a panorama made up from six photographs that I took yesterday afternoon while walking round the Roman Camp.  The view is, very approximately, from north-west to north-east looking out across the SDNP.

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