We’ve had a virtual wander around and chatted to my allotment neighbours, oohed and ahhed (hopefully), taken in the views, wondered why the hell we all do it and are secretly thankful you are not as nutty as we are to garden the way we do, and maybe picked up some hints and tips.
Fear not, you have had a cuppa and piece of cake, I know a few of you were asking about that – I appreciate your focus on the important things in life my friends. But now it’s time for the return journey, a different route so we take in a park and views, wander through streets that have their own tales to be told, and yes past a couple of pubs – whether we choose to go in is entirely up to you.
You are all with me on this walk. I have a wonderful image in my mind, of all of my blogging buddies wandering along with me – I can hear the accents and languages spoken; I can hear the laughs, imagine the stories being shared, the sheer noise of the babble of chatter as we walk along together. We are a merry eclectic bunch of writers, photographers, farmers, philosophers, artists, foodies, gardeners, travellers, poets and yogis – full of interest and curiosity in our world and our fellow friends. Welcome aboard the Promenade Walking Bus, to all my old friends – old and new, so many of you subscribe to my blog and you are all special and oh so welcome company on my walk.
We walk back up the lane and onto the road, we retrace some of our steps past ivy covered walls and wrought iron gates, peering through to homes and gardens. Now we head downhill to a specially picturesque part of town, (remember this is a real living place full of quirks, positives and negatives, a mish-mash of urban seaside dwellers), this is a part of town with grand buildings and a leafy park. We have our smattering of famous residents – Britain has a Blue Plaque Scheme to note famous residents and where they lived, and here’s Alan Turing – the founder of computer science, without him I wouldn’t be able to chat to you like this.
Down the hill we go, there are benches along the way, I can see some of you dawdling along, we can take a breather in a minute after we pass through the arch. Can you imagine living and sleeping in a building that has an arch – I still wonder what that must be like, being suspended by physics and stone.
We have reached the park, St Leonards Gardens originally a private park for the Burton family but later purchased by the Council in 1880 for the benefit of residents and visitors alike. There are trees to shade us in summer, a pond to gaze at, spring bulbs to enjoy, benches to take a rest and lawns to lounge on in summer and if we are quiet …. sshhhh at the back there, we might hear a woodpecker at work in the trees. The views are a favourite of mine, maybe we should go back there properly another day, but for now we will keep walking along the road – don’t you love walking in the middle of the road. I do and we can do just that on this stretch!
And here we are passing along viewing the fun and the folly of British building, a house with a clock tower, and more views down to the sea and the Royal Victoria Hotel.
But we don’t head to the sea we turn left to wander past splendid houses with pretty balconies, tall terraced houses, on past the old school and now a mosque and onto Mercatoria, so named as this is where business was transacted – remember St Leonards was a place that was planned. Here we will find St Leonards oldest pub – a fine watering hole and regularly mentioned in best pub and CAMRA guides for its British beer.
But I’m going to drag you along and finish our walk, you can always go to the pub later. We walk down a bit and on the left a group of houses known as Lavatoria – you see they are all set back off the road, with long drives – that was for the washing to be hung out. Remember St Leonards was built for pleasure and at a time when services like these both needed and provided. I love this view down the hill and then back up again over the rooftops and the steeple of the church and on towards the Castle (a ruin). You can see there are plenty of smart windows and shops selling all kinds of antiques – no stopping no shopping today my friends!
Round the corner we go, to more humble streets, the grand architecture of the smart villas and houses are behind us now, these are streets built for the workers of the new seaside resort – two and three storey terraced houses, packed in check by jowl, some with teeny backyards others with small walled gardens. Imagine these streets in years gone by, picture the hustle and bustle in your mind, with the clatter and clang of work; there were coal merchants, dairies, bakers, small home industry, haberdashers and hatters. An industrious place, all on a small scale.
Home, a reviving cup of tea or coffee? Or are you all making a mad dash for the antique shops and the pub?!
Thank you for joining me, thank you for sharing my world. It’s a wonderful world isn’t it.
- All aboard the walking bus! (promenadeplantings.com)