Friday, 12 June 2009

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Ever the jetsetter, I'm gadding off to Brighton tomorrow.

Okay, it's not by jet but by train, and it's strictly for work. But I hardly seem to have got back from Berlin, and Paris is on the horizon, so it all seems rather a whirl at present, with barely the time to get my clothes washed and ironed.

But the English seaside is a joy all of its own.

My current employer operates an annual exercise in democracy by having a conference of the organisation's membership every year. There are so many elected delegates that there are only two conference venues in Britain that are big enough to hold such an event – Bournemouth and Brighton, but on England's south coast.

We alternate and this year's it's Brighton's turn. Thankfully.

My first such conference was three years ago and came warmly on the heels of a first trip to France and Spain. Having really appreciated the food on that holiday, one of the things that I particularly looked forward to was eating out in Bournemouth.

My hopes were rapidly dashed with a series of meals that decreasingly hit the heights – and the bar had been set depressingly low to start with. Not only that, but it was far more expensive eating in Bournemouth than in Barcelona or Paris.

Still, Brighton the following year was better. There is, if nothing else, a very decent fish and chip restaurant on the seafront, just between the conference centre and the hotel I'll be ensconced in. And a decent modern Italian just over the road too – although from memory, their portion sizes are excessive. Why can't British restaurants give you the chance to ask for a small portion? I hate wasting food, but can rarely pack down a whole British two courses – never mind three.

Doubtless work will be busy. There'll be impassioned debate, plus the usual sort of: 'TUC get off your knees – strike now!' rhetoric.

But there's much to do and I hope to survive. And maybe I'll be able to find enough time to visit the Brighton Pavilion with camera in hand too.

Oh, how I do like to be beside the seaside.

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