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Saltdean lido

Saltdean lido

OK, so we’ve yet to embark on a Lost Promenade adventure blessed with sunshine, but this is getting ridiculous. The rain twatted down like a barrage of angry slugs, pale and relentless. We tried to get nearer to glorious Saltdean Lido, one of the finest remaining art deco lidos, and damply balanced on railings to get a good shot. But we soon admitted defeat and legged it back to the nearest bus stop. Saltdean was built in the 20s to be a “garden city by the sea” and a 1950s promotional leaflet boasted of its ultramodern houses, “Italian, Spanish and Cubist mixed with beautiful bungalows’. We didn’t see any that day, our feet were too soggy and our hearts too sodden to face any major exploration, so instead we headed back to neighbouring Rottingdean in search of a comforting tearoom.

Tea and buttered crumpets perked us up, and while we munched, the sun came out, so we were able to explore Rottingdean under more agreeable conditions. Rottingdean is a chocolate-box-y English village with traditional cottages and a village duck pond co-existing with smuggling legends, a literary past and the odd dash of Hollywood Modern. Past residents include authors Enid Bagnold; best known for National Velvet, and Rudyard Kipling; best known for an overrated poem Des Lynam once read out after a football match. Yeah, yeah, the Jungle Book, imperialism, exceedingly good cakes, yadda yadda. And what kind of a name is Rudyard anyway?

Tamsin

Equine Friends

However, he did leave as a legacy the lovely Kipling Gardens, a walled garden full of yellow roses and an intriguing wooden gate saying, “Croquet players only.” After a walk around them we wandered up a muddy track and encountered some friendly horses. Tamsin lost her heart to a dappled grey who licked her ear and nuzzled her tweed jacket. Nhung struggled to decipher the Russian instructions on her new camera, puzzling over something described as a “shutter of the dog mechanism”.

St Margarets

St Margarets

We wished we had sugar lumps for the horses, and then later, bread to feed the ducks, but we had neither, so we wandered aimlessly through the town, peering into the windows of shops with names like Rottingdean Tele-Radio (in ye olde lettering) and Caligula Shoes. We passed Rottingdean Club, said to be haunted by the angry spirit of Cary Grant, who had wanted to buy it but was rebuffed. We hoped to see Nick Cave, who we had heard had moved here from Hove, but we didn’t. We wandered why getting caught in the rain would always lead to Galloping Consumption and certain death for classic literary heroines, when we had never had so much as a sniffle.We concluded it must be something to do with the invention of penicillin and the availability of galoshes.

Rottingdean

Rottingdean

On the seafront, we spotted some intriguing junk shops, but sadly, as it was Sunday, they were all closed, so we headed instead for the beach where, ignoring the warning notices, we clambered on some rocks and shouted at the sea. Nhung took multiple photos of her prized Wellington boots, but none of the pictures were to her liking. The cliffs were white, the sea was grey, the air was fresh. It was all very pleasant but it was time to go home.

undercliff

undercliff

Lost

Saltdean

Feeling in toes

Nick Cave

Found

Interesting junk shops for future visits

Equine friends

Wo!

Wo!

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