Beautiful seafronts have magnificent cliffs, or rocky shorelines or long sandy beaches. Brighton has pebbles – lots of them. It also has – or had -two piers, one a tawdry commercial funfair, the other a sad, sinking metal wreck. And it has a long promenade – a very long promenade.
If you love the sea, you love it regardless of whether there are rocks, cliffs or sand. I have spent hours sitting on the pebbly beach, mesmerised by the rolling waves, the swooping gulls, and the panoramic skyscapes. The sunsets towards Shoreham can be breathtaking and one grows to love the pebbles.
Then there is the magnificent backcloth of Brighton’s Regency squares and terraces, which luckily still hold their own in the battle not to be dwarfed by the less glamorous highrise towers and other blots like the Brighton Centre. Menacing in the future is the spectre of gigantic edifices planned to replace the King Alfred Centre, which could dominate the western skies at sunset. In our particular stretch of the front, we are fortunate to have the magnificent sweep of Adelaide Crescent, Brunswick Square and Brunswick Terrace and, at the bottom of Western Street (where we had our house), the freshly rescued thirties block, Embassy Court, formerly one of Brighton’s shameful eyesores.
There are other landmarks in this stretch, notably the rusting Victorian bandstand, the quintessentially Brighton caff on the front – the Meeting Place- and, as you walk towards Hove Lawns , the row of gaily painted beach huts.
Then there are the people. What a caste! Try a Sunday walk, for example. The place can be packed. – There are old, young, British, foreign students, gay couples, well dressed, others distinctly not. There are the families with children on tricycles, the skateboarders, the kite flyers, the dog walkers, the cyclists (ignoring all no cycling signs), the scooters, the joggers, the cricket players, and perhaps the odd person doing tai chi, or simply contemplating the horizon.