The Good, the Bad, and the Lack of Internet: Eastbourne

in travel •  last month  (edited)

What a Week

Mostly good things happened. I'm settled now in Eastbourne, at least for a few months. That's a nice development. It means @michelios and I can get back to work on all things Steemhouse. All the moving about has been hard on both of us.

Eastbourne is a gem on the banks of the English Channel. This time of year it's quiet, homey, and secure, and I love it. Of all the places in England that I have visited so far, this one calls to me the loudest.





Even the names of some of these places make a Southern U.S. gal feel right at home.

I did have to survive five whole days without reliable Internet, though. That was tough for someone like me who needs to stay connected. I got no work done to speak of, fell out of touch with friends, family, and Steemhouse business, and watched with morbid fascination as Monsieur Polite with a French Accent descended into depths of grouchy I don't even think he knew existed.

Yeah. It's been fun.

And Not So Fun

In the middle of the connectivity crisis, @sk43's dad passed away unexpectedly. I can usually put a positive spin on almost anything, but that was a blow. Bill Kay was one of the finest human beings I've ever had the privilege to know and he will be sorely missed. The only way @sk43 could tell me was via Discord message that I couldn't even respond to right away because everything I typed turned red. (Meaning I had no connection.) I spent two bitter days trying to find plane tickets I could afford so I could at least make it to the funeral, only to discover that once I landed, I'd be unable to travel further. I don't want to waste a whole post on that problem or explain in the comments how I know beyond all question that U.S. airport car rental locations will not accept a bank debit card, so let's just say all efforts were frustrated, and I didn't have enough internet to beg anyone to pick me up at the terminal. That was a dark time for me and I was unable to be there in any way for @sk43 or his family, all of whom I love like blood kin.

I was, thank goodness, able to have a lengthy phone conversation with @sk43 yesterday and I'm reassured that he's dealing with things as well as can be expected. My deepest condolences go out to his mother, sister, and her three children, as well as everyone else who loved Bill for the fine human being, father, husband, and grandfather that he was. For sure, being five thousand miles away did not lessen the impact his passing had on me as well.

Before the Bad News

Before I heard about Bill's passing, I was mumbly-grumbly about the lack of internet but nonetheless completely charmed by this little town where I had made an unexpected landing. I'd found Eastbourne by way of Airbnb, where a listing for a "big budget studio on the sea front" drew my attention with its very affordable off-season price. Once we arrived, we learned that our hostess was not only quite accepting of all three dogs but also willing to offer us a month-by-month stay through the winter months. We'd researched short-term let listings in other English towns and knew what market prices look like, as well as what the "hidden" costs of renting an unfurnished apartment would be, like electric, gas, and water services. So there was no doubt we'd found a perfect solution for our dilemma.

That internet situation, though--the building here was once a fisherman's house located directly on the sand beaches of old Eastbourne. It's constructed like a tank, or more accurately, a medieval Faraday cage. Wireless signal has a very difficult time passing through these walls and even the shreds of service that leak through are faint and virtually unusable. I have no way to prove it (yet,) but based on interior architecture and neighboring structures, I suspect that the original home was set further back and the front room and facade were added in the Victorian era, around the time the modern streets here in Eastbourne were planned.

"Listed" architecture surrounds this building on all sides, meaning the structures are preserved by a historical society of sorts and have intact records dating back to the eighteenth century.

For example, the Sea Beach House, one of the "only grade 2 listed seafront accommadation in Eastbourne, where Alfred Lord Tennyson was reputed to stay," and 37 Marine Parade, or Ye Olde Bakery, "a simple, plain cobblestone-walled building partly faced with cement. It dates from the early 19th century and has a single window to both storeys with a dormer in the attic space above." Yes, it once was a real bakery, but now has been converted into holiday apartments.


Close-up of the old rockwork on "Ye Olde Bakery's" exterior walls. You can see both old world cement grouting and modern cement grouting in this photo.

This alley intersects the other alley running beside Ye Olde Bakery and fires my imagination--and yeah, triggers the bladders of our doggies every time we walk past.

Then there are the "two 'rather plain' houses of approximately the 1840s, these have their roofs hidden behind a cornice and parapet. Each house has three storeys with two windows to each, small iron balconies at first-floor level and a string-course above. Fanlights survive above the doors."

And this one, which stands "on the site of an earlier building in which the 'Society of the People Called Methodists' was founded in 1803 to encourage the spread of Methodism."

This particular section of Marine Parade contains many buildings known as the "Sea Houses." These buildings are fascinating in both their history and construction. The photo below, dated prior to 1850, was taken of the approximate area where Sea House Square (next two photos) now stands. As you can see, the sea front was much closer to the buildings before the construction of either Marine or Royal Parade but the modern town had definitely started to take shape.

Interesting item of note: Fusciardi Ice Cream is a local landmark. No, I haven't eaten anything there yet, but it's on the short list.

The area around Sea Houses Square is one of the oldest intact "modern" settlements in Eastbourne. But human history can be dated on this coast as far back as the Stone Age. Ruins of a Roman town called "Anderida" survive here in the form of a stretch of ancient pavement and a Roman bath buried beneath the town. Evidence of an impressive Roman villa still exists between the Queens Hotel and the Eastbourne Pier, hidden from time beneath the "Carpet Gardens." In 2014, skeletal remains of a sub-Saharan African woman were discovered near Beachy Head that date back to early Roman history. More recently, Charles Darwin drafted sections of "Origins of Species" in one of the sea houses near Marine Parade around 1850. There is no shortage of ancient artifact or lore in this region.

One thing that enraptures me about this locale is the pervasive love and acceptance of doggos. I've never been anywhere, even in England, where our furry friends are more revered and welcomed.

A post I plan for the near future is "Dogs of Eastbourne." I intend to spend an hour outside on Royal Parade capturing vignettes of all the dogs, native and visiting, who romp around me in the space of just sixty minutes. It will stun you.

I can't conclude this post without a word about the locals. In the short time I've been here, I've met some fascinating people. Some I've exchanged contact info with and remain in touch with on Facebook. (Hi, Nicola!) Just like Linda from the subway in New York earlier this year, these people will most likely become permanent friends who I arrange to visit with again in future travels. I vascillate wildly between hating people and loving people--I've met such diverse types in my life--but so far only the bus drivers in Eastbourne have triggered even the slightest spark on my truncated fuse. (They can be rather surly.) On the whole, this is a friendly town that loves its visitors and seems to regard them with great fondness. I've heard multiple tourists comment on the friendliness of drivers stopping to wave pedestrians past and the overall cheerfulness of the population. I could not agree more.

One example of this is the gentleman Michel and I met at Crown and Anchor tavern one afternoon as he took a beer at a table by himself. Oh, what a delight! He broke the ice by commenting about my rapt focus on the laptop, and how our society lives with its noses buried in technology and barely notices the world around it anymore. After my reply that plunking around on a laptop in a tavern was far preferable to working in a stuffy office somewhere for eight hours a day, he conceded that technology might have its uses--but was quick to show me his own mobile phone that...gasp! Just. Makes. Phone calls. I didn't catch his name, but this gentleman made my day.

Life is good in Eastbourne!

Click the video below to see a time lapse of Royal Parade in front of the Sea Houses transform from 1895 to 2019.

And as a bonus, here's the video Michel grabbed at a stoplight in London on our way to Eastbourne--this is the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery. These animals took my breath away.

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Glad to hear you're settled! Eastbourne's nice enough - one of the oldest age profiles in the UK.

Not too far from where I grew up in Medway, North Kent.

Beautiful part of the South East!

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Hey there, you! How've you been? North Kent, huh? Yeah, that's not far from here at all. Seems like we might have passed through there on the drive down from Clacton-on-Sea, or at least come very close to it. Pennsif talks about a meetup in another comment here. What are the chances we might see you there?

Hi - I'm based in Hereford now but am down in Kent several times a year, so if a London meet coincides I'll defo be there!

Although I'm staying in Thailand for a month after SteemFest so I probably won't be making any UK meets this year!

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  ·  last month (edited)

Hi dear friend @rhondak
I very much sympathize with you for this sad event. So the internet sometimes fails. A few days ago, due to lack of internet, I couldn't turn on Google Maps and find my way in the middle of the field.
I'm passionate about Eastbourne.
The English city looks cool but at the same time solemn and exciting.
I also really like the stoneware on the buildings.
The parade of horses is terrific!
What is this building in the distance in the first photo?

Bugavi! I always love hearing from you. Please say hello to your mother for me. Maybe things will work out for us to bump into you two again soon. We haven't planned to visit the Ukraine, at least not this year, and we're not going to Steemfest this time. But who knows what the future holds! There's always next year.

The building in the first photo is the Eastbourne Pier. I went there today and took a lot of photos, so I'll be sharing those soon. :-)

Whenever you're in France again you might try to catch @bakingjazzpower, an incredible guitarist and composer who recently joined Steemit. He can play covers of Django Reinhardt, Tchan Tchou Vidal and Eddy "Bamboula" Ferret' - and his own compositions (and his artwork!) are fantastic. https://steemit.com/music/@bakingjazzpower/gypsy-jazz-guitar-covers
I haven't even listened yet to today's, https://steemit.com/dsound/@bakingjazzpower/20191019t152114070z-ciudad-mante

I have never actually been to Eastbourne that I can remember.

But it looks like an interesting place.

You are not too far from London. @steemlondon is looking to organise a meetup there soon.

Not too far from London at all, no. We plan to find some meetup events there next month, and there are folks there we want to see. Will you please keep me posted about the steemlondon meetup? If it's in November or early December, I'm almost certain we can be there. :-)

The start was not easy--the pressure to find an affordable place to stay before we had to leave our first airbnb, spending hours hunting online and crossing the entire country to visit places...
but fortunately Eastbourne feels every day a bit more like home.

And maybe some day soon, I can set enough alarms, brew enough coffee, and bang on doors loudly enough to get you up and moving before five p.m. so you can actually go swimming....🤣

Thanks for taking PYPT on a tour of Eastbourne! Love the Old World architecture and wish we could have buildings like that here! 😊

Fun look at this little town!
I am really enjoying this. AND LOVE the pier shot to start with. Well done

thanks for sharing on #PYPT @PYPT

Thank you, Bluefin! :-) You know what's sad? I have a really nice Lumix camera just sittin there on a shelf staring at me. I know it's wondering why I keep using this iPhone camera to take photos of this lovely place, when it is completely available to capture the moments. sigh I do wish I had thought to take it with me on that walk. Next time!

You hustled to find a plane ticket on short notice. You made it to America. You couldn't get a rental car. And you couldn't get to the funeral? NOBODY could come give you a ride, nobody was for hire, no bus, no Uber, nothing short of hitch-hiking with a stranger? That is just surreal. Is it because you had dogs or a dog with you? WTF

On the bright side, your new setting is heavenly. May you dust off the stains of your whirlwind trip and the missed funeral, and be well, and safe!

No, no--that's not quite it, thank God. I found tickets that I could have afforded, but knew I couldn't get a rental car from the airport so there was no sense buying them, and I didn't have enough internet to message folks looking for someone to come get me. I certainly couldn't call...I have a UK phone now and no international calling. I could have gone without the dogs. Even Her Highness Paige loves Michel enough to stay with him in my absence. Miracles never cease.

Ah, so you didn't fly to the States for nothing. phew But you did miss the funeral, all over the stupid rental car glitch. Make me wonder if the mountain mafia had a hand in that, but surely they don't have that kind of reach... right??? Pulling strings to make sure that "waste of skin" never sets foot in our neck o' the woods again -_-

Heh. Alas, no conspiracy in this. It's a general policy that all rental car companies have adopted to protect their assets--they can go after a major credit card company if the vehicle is damaged or lost much easier than they can go after a bank. Therefore unless you live in the same zip code where you're renting, and most of the time not even then, you can't rent using a debit or prepaid card of any type.

Wow. Cash wouldnt' work either, then.
What a world!

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looks chilly!

The craziest thing--I went to school with a girl named Elizabeth Harvey. She and I never had a really close friendship, but I always liked her.

It can be chilly here, yes, but oddly enough that's the one thing I've enjoyed about UK weather. Heat and direct sunlight are torture for me. If I can eventually move here to live long term, I'm quite sure I will. :-)

That's interesting!

I love these! What a lovely place to be able to spend some time. I also like that particular alley beside Ye Old Bakery. How awesome!

Very sorry to hear about the bad news; it is certainly never easy, particularly when you're so far away.

Thanks so much for sharing on #pypt!

I'd be lying if I said I never stop beside that alley at night and wait to see if a ghostie comes walking down it. 😂

Exactly! It's very haunting. :)