Tuesday, September 08, 2009

a day in saltdean

I had some time off last week, and spent it in the least interesting, but most psychologically valuable, way possible – doing nothing. I’ve not had a week off work in years (unless you count those when I’m moving house) so to have a few days of doing nothing was not so much a treat as a necessity. Funnily enough, I didn’t much enjoy it, finding it hard to really relax, but since I’ve been back at work this week I’ve been able to notice the difference. My concentration has improved, my spirits imperceptibly raised. So I’m glad I took a break.

On Saturday, though, I woke feeling like I’d wasted, rather than used wisely, my time, and decided to get out of Brighton. I’d toyed with getting up to London during the week but not done it, and felt that unless I did something I’d feel like an opportunity had been missed. So, glancing up approvingly at the blue sky, I jumped on a bus and made my way East along the Sussex coast, disembarking at the nearby town of Saltdean, intent on taking the air, and a few photographs.

Saltdean isn’t exactly a pretty town, but a characteristic of the English coast holds true; that there is something glorious about the feeling of sea air snapping at one’s neck in the summertime, and that the plainest of towns are immeasurably improved by a clear sky. Saltdean is actually, nominally, part of the city of Brighton and Hove, but really it started as an off-shoot of Rottingdean, the nearby town that was once home to Rudyard Kipling, and a key inspiration for the League of Gentlemen’s Royston Vasey. When Rottingdean’s population rose in the 1920s, the farm land of Saltdean was developed and the small town emerged.

It's not by any means without its charms; although the majority of buildings are poky and functional, there are some real oddities at the Southernmost tip, with kooky nods to Bauhaus and Cubism sandwiched next to suburban bungalows. It's most famous building is Saltdean Lido, a Grade 2 listed outdoor swimming pool which is a lovely, Art Deco landmark on the Sussex coast. It's listed status is no guarantee of its preservation, but it seems to be doing pretty well for itself, although it’s invariably empty when I pass it.

And along the coast in Saltdean is a lovely, small, pebbled beach and promenade, called the Undercliff walk. It was here that, for about four glorious hours, I simply sat on the sea wall and watched the water and the gulls swooping up over the cliffs, ‘til Dan joined me and we started leaning over to take photos of the waves, and got so comprehensively soaked by them that we had to retreat to Rottingdean and have a couple of pints as we dried off.


Anonymous said...

Dan looks like the moon.

Laura said...

Lovely photos. The last one looks like you're sitting inside a cannon and your friend is about to light the fuse.


Anonymous said...

Lived in Saltdean for nineteen years. God it's shit.