A Brighton Diary: A day of change

Note: This is the third part in an on-going series chronicling my study abroad trip in Brighton, England. I am joined on this trip by my classmates and friends Cassie Jenkins, Claire Robertson, Vy Nguyen, Jhocelyn Alvarado, Morgan Collier, Abigail Pennington and Susan Salvo, led by director of student publications, Andy Coughlan.

Day three — June 14

Day three began the same way as day two. The same breakfast was enjoyed once again.

What I didn’t know when I first woke up was how eye-opening the day would become for me. I saw a new point of view and fulfilled a childhood dream.

First, we met up with Andy’s nephew Daniel (and Pebble) at the Brighton and Hove bus station for a tour of the facilities and a presentation on how the city has worked to make public transportation more accessible.

I’m not going to go into detail about what we saw and learned at the bus company because we will be producing several stories regarding the topic for the University Press in the fall, so, stay tuned.

After we left the bus company, we headed to a café near our house — Drury Tea & Coffee Southern — for some lunch.

I had a strawberry banana smoothie for £3.25 ($4.09), a chicken and salad (notice how I said chicken and salad, not chicken salad) sandwich for £3.95 ($4.97) and a bag of strong cheddar and onion crisps for 75p ($0.94), or pence — the English equivalent of cents.

Drurylunch
The banana strawberry smoothie (left) was delicious and served with a paper straw, a common practice in Brighton and Hove as a part of their environmental conservation efforts. Photo by Olivia Malick

After a short stop back at the house, we boarded a bus once more, this time heading to Andy’s parents’ house.

Time for Tea

We were going there to partake in a quintessential tea time. But, I think I can say on behalf of everyone in my group, it meant so much more than that.

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As we walked from the bus stop to Andy’s parents’ house, I got a rush of contentedness I hadn’t felt in a long time. This view alone was everything I had imagined England to be. Photo by Olivia Malick

We were greeted with a beautiful spread of sandwiches, scones and, yes, tea.

I don’t think I can explain exactly how these scones changed our lives, but they did.

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Now, a scone cannot be eaten plain. It is best served with clotted cream (bottom right) and jam (top right), preferably strawberry jam. Photo by Olivia Malick
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Here is the scone after being dressed and joined by its partner in deliciousness — tea. Photo by Olivia Malick

I can’t recall ever eating a scone in my life — if I have, obviously it wasn’t worth remembering. After this afternoon tea, I had at least one scone almost everyday until we left.

The clotted cream was life changing. It’s like a softer version of cream cheese, but tastes nothing like it. It’s sweeter, but not too sweet. It’s perfect.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, clotted cream is not available in the United States. It’s tragic, really.

I think Claire explained it perfectly in her blog post.

Not only were the scones life-changing, but so was the tea. The brand, PG Tips, is available in grocery stores in the U.S. Andy has been trying to convince us for years that this “crack tea” is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s not that I didn’t believe him, but I’m so reliant on coffee that I never gave the tea the light of day. There was probably no better way to enjoy it for the first time, anyway.

All the cares and stress in the world seemed to drift away. It might sound silly, but there was something so peaceful about sitting in someone’s dining room with friends and family and enjoying a simple delicacy.

Next up was the desserts. Andy’s parents, as well as his sister, prepared different cakes for us to try. By this time, however, we had eaten countless scones and also had a few sandwiches, so we were getting full. But we had a solution.

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We took a piece of each dessert and then shared the plate. That way, each of us got a piece without wasting food we couldn’t finish. Photo by Morgan Collier

We spent a couple of hours afterwards just relaxing in Ann (Andy’s mother) and Sam’s (Andy’s father) garden. We talked about ghost stories (more on that shortly), what we had seen on the trip so far, and what was to come.

None of us wanted to leave, but the day wasn’t over for us just yet.

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Family photo. Photo by Andy Coughlan

Ghosted

Next up was the Lanes Ghost Tour. Our tour was led by the lively Ebenezer.

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Ebenezer begins the ghost walk with a bone-chilling tale. Photo by Olivia Malick

If you ever find yourself in Brighton, I highly recommend going on this tour because it gives you insight to the history of the city in an unique way. Prices can be found on their website (linked above).

I won’t give away any spoilers, but I will say that Ebenezer made the experience inclusive — he got everyone involved in each story, most notably by asking members of the group to lead the walk by ringing his bell (seen in the bottom left corner of the picture above).

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this tour, but it was a good end to a good day.

England Brings it Home

After the tour ended, Andy reminded us that England was playing Argentina in the Women’s World Cup. There’s no better way to experience a piece of English culture than by watching football (mention soccer in England at your own risk) in a pub.

We went to the King and Queen pub and sat down at a table to watch the last half of the game. Spoiler alert — England won. It was nice to cheer for a team that wasn’t American (but when the U.S. plays England, my loyalty will always be to Megan Rapinoe).

UPDATE: USA! USA! USA!

It was also interesting to see how sports media overseas covers sports as opposed to ESPN. It wasn’t much different, but interesting nonetheless.

We intended on sticking around longer and eating at the pub, but the kitchen had closed. So, we had another mission.

We walked for a while, trying to find a place to eat that was still open at 10 p.m. Shops tend to close around 5-6 p.m. (except on Thursdays) in England. Restaurants don’t stay open that much later, so we were mostly running into chains. There was an unspoken rule that we weren’t going to eat at any chain restaurants so that we could gain the adequate experience.

We finally found a pizzeria.

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Margherita pizza and cheesy garlic bread (with water by the way). Photo by Olivia Malick

We went to Pinocchio’s Pizzeria and Vy, Morgan, Claire and I split a Margherita (cheese) pizza and garlic cheesy bread. The pizza was £6.95 ($8.76) and the bread was £4.95 ($6.24).

We finished our meal and walked to the nearest bus stop, reminiscing about everything we had done that day and how it would be a day we wouldn’t soon forget.

 

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