RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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Countdown: my favorite dozen 2018 photos and a bonus

life is a canvas

San Gabriel Mountains from my roof deck in Culver City.

As if I don’t have enough to do, I decided to set myself the task of coming up with my twelve favorite photos for the year… one for each month. Some months I had fifty favorites and some months I wouldn’t have picked one for my top twelve… nevertheless I had to stick to my rule of one from each month. This exercise was a great lesson for me as I realized some months in 2018 I didn’t get out and about enough with my camera and I really struggled to find a photo. I need to be more consistent.

The above photo was taken from my roof deck on Christmas Day and is my New Year’s card to you all. One of my favorite quotes just happened to be floating around in the sky! Note the airplane just left of top center.

So here we go.

JANUARY

sunrise

Sunrise with resident crows from my roof deck, Culver City, California

FEBRUARY

Yosemite Upper Falls framed by tree branch. Yosemite National Park, California

MARCH

Huntington Library

Desert Garden at Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Los Angeles County, California

APRIL

Freddie and Frankie

A little out of focus but this photo really shows their true personalities. Frankie looking disdainful and obviously planning the next mischievous caper while Freddie is wide-eyed and innocent, ready to be splat in the middle of Frankie’s next big idea!

MAY

worthing seafront

Worthing Seafront, Sussex, England. The last place my parents and I lived before they decided to emigrate to the US.

JUNE

butterfly pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum

JULY

deck sunset

Sunset from my deck looking out on to downtown Culver City and Sony Studios

AUGUST

canadian rockies

Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canadian Rockies

SEPTEMBER

william s hart

The William S. Hart Park and Museum, Newhall, California. Detail of wall

OCTOBER

 

Los Angeles Flower mart

Succulents at Los Angeles Flower Mart, downtown

NOVEMBER

City Hall Christmas Eve

An early Christmas present to the people of LA as the tree at Grand Park mirrors Los Angeles City Hall.

DECEMBER

View from Baldwin Overlook

View of downtown Los Angeles and snow on the mountains from the highest point in Culver City, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (a California State Park).

I haven’t been on WordPress very much lately. I haven’t given up but I made a big decision and it’s going to be taking up a lot of my time. I probably won’t be posting much here but I will make the effort to go look at your posts to keep up with what you are doing. In the meantime, you can join me on my personal page on Facebook (Roslyn M Wilkins in Culver City). If you send me a friend request and I recognize who you are, I will respond. Or join me on my photo page by clicking on the Roslyn’s Photoart image in the right hand column.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019!

 


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day eight – morning: The Sistine Chapel

English Martyrs

I’m skipping ahead to day eight but I’ll be back to pick up days six and seven… sorry, there’s no avoiding it!

Yes, I’m looking at the Sistine Chapel ceiling. No, I’m not in Rome… still in Worthing!

English Martyrs

I’m at the English Martyrs Catholic Church in Goring-by-Sea.

English Martyrs

The ceiling is at 2/3 scale of the original Michelangelo painting in the Vatican. The colors match the newly cleaned ceiling in Rome.

English martyrs

The work was painted by Gary Bevans, a sign writer who is a parishioner of the church. He is a natural artist with no formal training. After a parish pilgrimage trip to Rome in 1987 to attend the Beatification of 85 English Martyrs, he gained permission from the Vatican and the bishop to reproduce the ceiling in Worthing.

english martyrs

Several years ago my friend JM and I enjoyed a two-week, two thousand-mile trip of Italy. Our first visit to the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel was very rushed so our tour guide could get us to the gift shop! So as J and I had planned some extra time in Rome at the end of the trip, we visited the Sistine Chapel again on our own. We sat for a good hour looking up at the ceiling. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

English MartyrsWith this reproduction you are much closer to the ceiling and it’s easier to see the details, even at 2/3 scale. It’s certainly impressive.

English MartyrsThe project took five and a half years to complete in the evenings and weekends. Gary also had to continue his full time day job. And spend time with his family!

English MartyrsIt was most certainly a labor of love.

English Martyrs Three volunteers were working in the church when I was there. They were all really lovely people. One of them gave me a tour of the church and told me the story of the ceiling. As I told them I was considering moving back to Worthing, they gave me some recommendations for real estate agents to talk to (which I did) and some ideas for the neighborhoods that might suit me the best.

English MartyrsI enjoyed the visit to the church and recommend it to anybody who might be visiting the area. I didn’t get a photo of the outside of the church. The building was not what I expected… not the least bit pretentious… I would describe it as a country church. I almost walked past it.

English Martyrs

The English Martyrs window. The Roman Catholic martyrs of the English Reformation were men and women executed under treason legislation in the English Reformation between 1534 and 1680.  In 1571 legislation was enacted making it treasonable to be under the authority of the Pope, The standard penalty for all those convicted of treason at the time was execution by being hanged, drawn and quartered. Lovely.

More images from the church:









English martyrs

This painting is a modernized version of da Vinci’s the Last Supper. Local people from the parish were used as models.


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day five – the homestead

worthing

You might think I would be in a hurry to visit the old neighborhood right away. But I was enjoying getting the feel of Worthing first before making the trip over there.

worthing

I was now pretty familiar with the walk up to Worthing Station.

worthing

This was my first trip on a train since arriving in the UK. I had intended to travel by rail from London but that plan didn’t work out. And I had opted to take the bus for my journey from Worthing to Brighton two days before. So it was exciting to be on the Southern line as I LOVE traveling by train.

worthingMy destination was Durrington-on-Sea. When I was in high school I would travel by train between Durrington (where we lived) and the Worthing Station. I haven’t figured out the difference between towns designated as “on-sea” and those named “by-sea.” Durrington is about one mile from the sea front.

worthing

worthing

This is the street leading from the station. There certainly weren’t as many cars or as many buildings when I was walking home all those decades ago. It’s like another planet.

worthing

This pub was certainly there on the corner but I don’t recall if it was the Golden Lion back then.

worthing

The Strand Parade was our local shopping spot. My mother would send me to buy a loaf of bread or a can of beans. But for any big shopping we would take the bus or ride our bikes into Worthing.

worthing
Maybridge was the name of the elementary school I walked to. Now it’s called Orchards Community Middle School.

worthing

The bridge over the railway line at the end of Bolsover Road where we lived. My father rode his bike over this bridge to work every day. This bridge was the culprit in the decision to leave England and move to a warmer climate (which happened to be Florida). If my dad had just bought himself a car with a heater for the winter months, I believe we would have remained in Worthing!

worthing

The roundabout at the end of Bolsover Road. When I walked to Maybridge my cat Koko would follow me as far as the roundabout. I have memories of him meeting me there on the way back from school but that could be a fantasy, I’m not sure. I lived in Worthing from the age of approximately eight until twelve… so about five years. But they are the last years of my life I have a clear memory of until adulthood.

worthing

The Homestead. 45 Bolsover Road, Worthing, Sussex, UK. I began looking at The Homestead on Google Satellite about a year ago. And that spawned the idea of visiting Worthing. The house was brand new when we moved in. The area was newly developed in the mid 1950s.

worthing

There were no cars parked in the street back then. Each house had a tiny garage. But nowadays pretty useless to park a car in I suppose. We lived in the right hand side of the duplex or semi-detached house. This was, and probably still is, a pretty common configuration in England. You can see “our” side of the building is sporting a new roof! My bedroom was at the right side top with the small window. On summer evenings (when it was light until about 10:00pm) I would hang out of the window wishing I could be outside. I still vividly remember the wallpaper. Two walls with pink, highly patterned squares and the other two walls with a light grey background and pink dots.

worthingEvidently the Hosier’s live there now in my house. My mother (who was born in Argentina of British parents) named the house Mirasol (look at the sun). As none of the neighbors was familiar with Spanish, my mother recounted that they thought the name meant Miriam and Solomon and that we were Jewish. In fact, the neighbors on the left hand side were Jewish. And at the end of the street, lived a Catholic family. This is important to note because in the 1950s in Sussex, if not all of England, the population was primarily homogeneous: white, Anglo-Saxon, Christian, Protestant. That was us!

worthing

Looking back from the end of the street.

worthing

worthing

The walk from our house to Orchards MIddle (or Junior) School, formerly Maybridge Elementary, is a little over half a mile. I didn’t even need Google maps, the route was still in my head. It was like I had walked there yesterday.

worthing

This circular building is new (since my time).

worthingThis is the building I remember. Mr. Last was the last teacher I had at Maybridge before transfering to Worthing High School for Girls. I loved that man as a teacher. He was a kind soul. That final term I was the top student in my class. And I think that was the last time I really liked school… until AFTER I graduated from UCLA and started attending continuing education classes at UCLA Extension in my mid twenties!!!

worthing

I walked back to Bolsover Road and over the bridge on Shaftsbury Avenue. This was Goring Congregational Church where my mother forced me to go to Sunday School. It is now Goring United Reformed Church. Goring and Durrington are both districts (along with seven others) within the Borough of Worthing. As far as I remember, our address was always Worthing, not Durrington.

I kind of got the heebie jeebies as I was passing this building as I never really did grasp the idea of religion, much to my mother’s dismay.

worthing

Still walking on Shaftsbury Avenue on the way to the beach.

worthing

Here we are at the Worthing Sailing Club at the end of Sea Place. My mother and I would walk down to the beach on a summer evening (when there was no school) around nine o’clock… a less than half hour walk. The tide would be way way way out and we walked through the tide pools looking for sea anenomies and crabs. Life was good at that point in time. Would be nice to freeze it right there.

worthing

Looking east from Goring to downtown Worthing.

I walked along the sea front snapping random photos sucking up the sea air, reliving memories of life at the beach in Worthing. Click on an image for slide show:

I walked to Marine Gardens where I stopped for lunch. Fish ‘n chips and apple cider. I was soaking up the moment.

worthing

How wonderful life is! No matter what has gone before, I am thankful and fortunate to be here now. And in Worthing, no less!

worthing
worthing
It seems this seagull was attempting to impress his potential mate with a gift. If you look closely it is actually in the shape of a heart. Seagulls are not stupid.

I continued on with my walk towards Worthing Pier and my hotel. Click on image below for slide show:

I was intrigued by the custom of placing flowers on the benches. I saw this on multiple occasions. Very nice.

So Day Five’s adventure came to an end… and looking forward to Day Six!

 

 

 


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The UK – Brighton, Sussex – the big day (day three)

brighton

Six years ago I was on Brighton Pier in Sussex, England for a big birthday. I was staying in London and East Anglia with friends. Then on May 9 I took the train to Brighton, where I was born. Rain was coming down in giraffes and hyenas. I had booked a Hop on Hop off bus tour of the town. I was the only passenger on the bus! But I had a great time anyway. What ya gonna do?

Brighton

So last year, another even bigger birthday (they get huge after a while) came up and I had intended to visit London again with a friend. But I couldn’t get my head wrapped around it.

Brighton

And I gradually came to realize it was because I needed to go back to Worthing, the last place my parents and I Iived the first time we emigrated to the US.

Brighton

So this year I decided to stay in Worthing for nine days to check it out.

Brighton

One of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life!

Brighton

So on my birthday I took the Stagecoach #700 bus to Brighton. It was a super day. A day I will never forget.

Brighton

I was fortunate to have such great weather on this visit. It rained one afternoon during nine days.

Brighton

I bought my fish ‘n chips at the same place at the entrance to the pier. Found a seat and ate. I don’t have words to express how I feel about this. So many emotions.

Brighton

My view as I ate my fish ‘n chips.

Brighton

The cousin of the seagull who stole my fish ‘n chips on my birthday on Santa Catalina Island (see post here).

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/my-private-island-part-one/

I love piers. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere there was not a pier! How else can you walk out into a serious body of water?

I walked all the way down to Hove and the West Pier, closed in 1975 and destroyed by fires in 2003.

BrightonFrom Brighton, my parents and I (what choice did I have?) moved to Argentina where my mother had happy memories of her childhood. But apparently living there as an adult didn’t quite cut it… at least for my dad. When we returned to England we settled in Hove. Brighton and Hove combined and were granted city status by the queen in 2001.

Brighton Look at that wonderful pebbly beach. I love that more than the sandy beach at Santa Monica. You can wrap your toes around pebbles.

Click below for photos I took as I walked down to Hove and then back to the Brighton Pier.

I stayed on the Brighton seafront this time. I’ve visited other areas of Brighton on previous trips including a tour of the Royal Pavilion. I’d like to do that again on my next trip. You only have one birthplace. Honor it.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day two afternoon

 

worthing

Upon returning from Highdown, M and I retreated to our respective hotels to freshen up with the plan to meet up in an hour. Neither of us was interested in dinner as the late lunch at the Highdown Teahouse had filled us up.

When I first arrived at the Chatsworth Hotel the previous afternoon I stepped out on to the little terrace outside my room.

worthing

I wasn’t terribly thrilled with the view of the Stagecoach bus depot next door but the idea wasn’t to spend too much time in the room anyway so it wasn’t a big deal.

I heard cats meowing and thought some strays were living out on the roof. I thought it would be a good idea to report this to the front desk.  I looked around for the cats but couldn’t see any felines.worthing

worthing

Is this a plush nest or what?

Thank goodness I didn’t report the cats.

With my zoom lens I noticed on the roof of the building across the way there were several seagulls nesting.

worthing

Dad is on lookout while Mom sits on the nest

The baby birds were quite vocal. “Meow, dinner! Meow, dinner! Meow! Meow!” I would never have lived that down as the crazy American tourist who can’t tell seagulls from cats…

M and I met up and decided to walk eastward along the Worthing seafront. Worthing sits on The English Channel about 60 miles (96 km) south of London and approximately 160 miles (257 km) from the nearest point in France.

worthing

This had been another lovely day but both of us needed to be up early the next morning. M was returning to his home in Chelmsford and I was headed for Brighton, so we said our goodbyes.

worthing

When I’m in England there are certain things I absolutely have to eat. One of those is Cadbury Flakes. Marks & Spencers sold them in packs of four so what could I do? My plan was to eat one a day… yeah, right. So the pack was my dinner. Oh, yum.

I was rather restless and getting my second wind after eating the chocolate so I wandered on down to the lounge area in the hotel. I was in time for Happy Hour so I decided to be happy. I purchased a glass of Merlot and sat by the open window watching the cars go by and some young men playing football (soccer) in the park across the street…. the Steyne.

worthing

worthingLife doesn’t get much better than this. I was determined to suck up every moment and engrave it in my mind, because as much as I would like to return, I don’t know if I will ever have the opportunity to visit Worthing again.

worthing

 


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day two – Highdown Gardens

highdown gardens

My friend M and I met up on Tuesday morning at the Stagecoach bus stop near my hotel on Marine Parade. The #9 bus dropped us at Northbrook Metropolitan College. It was a short walk along the A259 to the Highdown turnoff and a pleasant trek up the hill to the gardens.

Highdown GardensFrom the Highdown Gardens website:

Highdown Gardens are nestled on the South Downs situated between Ferring and Goring.

These stunningly beautiful chalk gardens on Downland countryside, overlooking the sea, are a tranquil haven for all to enjoy. The gardens are home to The National Plant Collection of the Plant Introductions of Sir Fredrick Stern – a unique collection of plants and trees, with many unusual plants to be discovered all year round.

HIghdown Gardens

Highdown Gardens is one of the hidden gems of the area and home to a unique collection of rare plants and trees. In fact the whole garden has been deemed a National Collection.

The Gardens looks their best in spring and early summer when there is a colorful succession of spring bulbs such as Crocus, Daffodils, Anemones and Snowdrops followed by Paeonies and Bearded Iris.

As we were there the second week in May this was an ideal time to see the gardens at their best.

HIghdown Gardens

The gardens, internationally important because they are home to hundreds of rare and exotic plants and trees uniquely grown on chalk soil, are visited by tens of thousands of people every year.

HIghdown Gardens

Worthing Borough Council owns and maintains the gardens which are free to visitors.

HIghdown Gardens

Sir Frederick Stern created his gardens during a period when many expeditions were going out to China and the Himalayan regions collecting rare and beautiful plants. Many of the original plants from their early collections can still be seen in the Gardens today.

HIghdown Gardens

Sir Frederick received his knighthood in 1956 for Services to Horticulture.

HIghdown Gardens

The 8.5 acres of Gardens were created out of an old chalk pit overlooking the South Downs, where there was little soil and very unfavorable conditions for plant growth.

HIghdown Gardens

I really lucked out and experienced Southern California weather all the time I was in Worthing, except for half a day when it rained. The weather on our visit to Highdown was sunny and warm. Very pleasant for walking around.

HIghdown Gardens

The tadpoles were enjoying a school outing on this beautiful day!

HIghdown Gardens

And this little red fellow came along to say hello.

Click on an image below to enjoy the slideshow!

After such a feast for the senses it was time to fill our tummies so we headed to the Tea Rooms.

HIghdown Gardens

HIghdown Gardens

I chose the Ploughmen’s Lunch and M ordered Welsh Rarebit.

HIghdown Gardens

Such a delightful afternoon. We walked back to the bus stop through the fields.

HIghdown Gardens


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – part one

Worthing, Sussex

I met my friend M the first evening in Worthing and we walked out on to the pier to see this spectacular sight.

So the burning question is, can you go back again?

I decided to answer that one way or the other.

Fishing area on the Worthing Pier.

Worthing, Sussex, on the south coast of England was the last place my parents and I lived before emigrating to the US the first time. At this point we had already lived in Brighton (Sussex) and Argentina and Hove (Sussex). So it was with relief that at the age of eight I thought we had settled into a good life in Worthing. But not to be!

At the age of twelve I was uprooted once again to move to Florida, USA. We arrived in New York on the Queen Elizabeth. And one day I should write a story about that!

We lived in Tampa and then Clearwater and then Tampa again. After that we moved to Houston and then back to Tampa, or was it Clearwater? I began to lose track after a while!

Looking east from the Worthing Pier. At first I was having trouble with east and west!

Worthing shuts down around 6:00pm. A few restaurants and pubs remain open but shops, forget it!

Then we moved to Los Angeles, California. That was quite a trek and some wild and strange experiences. I should write stories about that too!

We moved around to several neighborhoods which meant different school districts. My dad never seemed to take into account that moving me around from school to school to school to school to school to school would have any affect on my life…

This seagull was just about the only resident we encountered on the streets in the evening.

Then we moved back to England. First to Norwich in East Anglia, then to London.

I was expecting zombies to appear any minute on the empty streets.

Then back to Los Angeles where my parents finally settled. And I graduated from high school. At that point I counted I had been to fifteen schools! Very few people believe me when I say that most of my teenage years are a total fog!

For several years now I have thought about Worthing. What would my life had been like if we had stayed there, or at least in England? I fantasized I would I have attended the University of Sussex and attained a degree in art history. Or anthropology. Would I have lived the life I was supposed to live instead of never knowing who I was?

Who can say? Certainly not me. Maybe I would have been hit by a train and never made it to adulthood. I can never know what my other life would have been. But I am grateful for who I am now.

Stay tuned for the rest of my adventures in Worthing and Brighton!


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Not exactly LA – from Santa Monica Pier to Brighton Pier in Sussex, England

Image

Brighton Pier at Brighton, Sussex, England with pebbly beach

The last time I visited the Santa Monica Pier in sunny southern California, it was pouring with rain so I suppose it was only justified that my visit to the Brighton Pier in Sussex, England, should be equally soggy.

Of course, where I live in the Los Angeles area you are never really prepared for the wet stuff, and when it does fall from the sky you can never totally accept that it is raining. In England, you expect rain and give thanks when the sun is shining.

england-brighton pier

Brighton Pier in the lovely rain

But on this day I was prepared. For several years now I have visualized myself eating fish ‘n chips in the rain on Brighton Beach as a present to myself for making it to a certain birthday (it isn’t necessary to go into detail about which one!) I was born in Brighton a few decades ago but had not been back to visit the place in twenty five years.

Before I left LA I bought a ticket online for the hop-on, hop-off double decker bus tour of Brighton and Hove. That way I would be forced to do the tour or waste the money. I arrived in Brighton late morning, and as the weather was already not very welcoming, I was glad I had the ticket. The bus stop was directly across from the train station and I didn’t have to wait too long.

View from pier along Brighton seafront

View from pier looking along Brighton seafront

Rather than a live tour guide, the bus had a canned narrative that didn’t always line up with the location we were passing. But I actually learned a lot about the history so I didn’t mind too much. As a tour guide myself, I would have preferred a human being, but whatever…

The first time around (yes, I took the bus tour twice just to make sure I didn’t miss anything) I got off at Brighton Pier. It was already lunchtime and I was ready for those fish ‘n chips. But first I decided to walk the length of the pier to see what my options were.

Walking along Brighton Pier

Walking along Brighton Pier

There are plenty of things to do and see on the pier including restaurants, food and coffee kiosks, sweet shops, an amusement arcade, carnival games, rides and plenty of places to just sit. I enjoyed the informational plaques at intervals along the pier with historical facts.

Before I left LA I had planned to buy some Brighton Rock for a souvenir, but when I looked at it in the shop it gave me an instant toothache. Knowing myself only too well, I could see myself sitting in my hotel room in London breaking my teeth on the stuff instead of packing it in my bag, and it just wasn’t worth it.

Back at the beginning of the pier, I bought my fish ‘n chips. They came in a box, not wrapped up in newspaper like I remembered. A little disappointing but maybe more hygienic… although what’s a little hygiene compared to tradition?

Fish 'n chips on Brighton Pier

Fish ‘n chips on Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier view

My view as I ate my fish ‘n chips

By now the rain was really coming down. I found a dry seat, opened my box and tried my best to capture the moment so I could remember it for the rest of my life. Brighton Pier. Fish ‘n chips. Rain. My birthday. Ah, I was living the dream!

brighton pier railings

View from Brighton Pier through decorative railings

The rain let up for a while. I did the circuit on the bus again back to the pier and got off. I walked along the pier one more time, realizing I would probably never be back. Then I walked along the sea front in search of souvenir stores.

Brighton Pier view from Promenade

Brighton Pier view from Promenade

I found one that looked suitable and bought some Brighton trinkets. A metal tray, a shot glass, a tea towel and a fridge magnet. And don’t forget the postcards. Now I could prove to myself that I had actually been in the place of my birth.

Brighton Beach with seagulls

Pebbly Brighton Beach with seagulls

As it happens, the sales lady at the shop was planning to visit California in the summer. One of the stops on her tour was Santa Monica. She wasn’t very excited about that. She said, we have a pier here, why do I need to see another pier in Santa Monica? I was almost lost for words but I did my best to explain how she would enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches, the view of the coastline and the city of Santa Monica itself, which is so different from Brighton. Well, what can you do?

I was ready to hop on the bus back to the station and the train to London. I had achieved the number one purpose for my trip to England and the rest was all icing on the cake.

Brighton hotels along seafront

Brighton hotels along seafront

For those of you familiar with Brighton, you may be wondering why I didn’t do a hop-off at the Brighton Pavilion. I decided to forgo another tour of the place as I still have photos and vivid memories of it from my previous visit. I was probably shooting slides in those days, so I must search through my file cabinet in the garage and scan them… yeah, right, I am sure I will take the time to do that… well, maybe. It is a fascinating venue and not to be missed if it is your first visit to Brighton.

brighton view from bus driving through town

View from bus touring through town

I was very, very happy with the way the day had turned out. Originally a friend was supposed to accompany me but he opted out at the last minute. I was actually glad as this was MY day and I am sure anybody else would have been bored silly.

Brighton Grand Hotel

View from bus of Grand Hotel which was bombed in 1984 in an IRA attempt to assassinate Margaret Thatcher

I was the only passenger on the way back to Brighton Station. But I think my smile must have filled the entire bus.

(Photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)