What could be a better cure than a little break at a place which I could socially distance. Indeed Seaford isn't a place that would immediately come to mind but recalling the Seven Sisters Cliffs (not to be confused with the stop on the Victoria Line) , I decided that it would be the ideal location to lose the claustraphobic side of the city just before the autumn season. The departure to Sussex was uneventful to say the least. No missed trains. No missing luggage. As I lounged in the seat of an almost empty Southern Rail Carriage, with a rapidly shifting transition and sunlight streaming through the window, it occurred to me that the compartment itself was unusually tall. At least in comparison to the usual London Underground dimensions which I had grown accustomed to. This was when I decided to do a quick study on improving the space for those of a shorter stature such as children, especially when it would be unusual for them to have a step ladder handy. The need was to have an extension to hold onto, especially during peak times. As I bit a square from my strawberry and white chocolate bar, my sketches resulted in a device which latched onto the bars at the top. Yet it was still necessary to be easy access, modular and easy to store away. With one stop over at Lewes I was greeted by the sight of the distant white walls of the coast, an ethereal sight which lit up the eyes of a city boy. As I reached Seaford, I had replaced the urbanised chaos with open grass, dotted shrubs coupled with islands of settlements.
At arrival, my hurried breakfast had long departed. Passing Cup A Cabana, my eye was caught by the red and white striped awning which shadowed a small neat cafe. With only a couple tables separated by social distancing screens, it was a blessing that they would allow me to sit at a booth which seated four. Looking around it was clear that it was different. From locals bantering with the waitress to solitaries focusing on their meals, surrounded by this older generation I settled in with Elizabeth Wilson's Bohemians. Before long I was tucking into an English Breakfast, which the waitress had kindly allowed me replace the tomato with an extra hash brown. The real classic. In conversation and observation, it became clear that cafe had been indefinitely affected by the pandemic. Plastic screens, antibacterial bottles and crowded signs populated the vinyl printed walls, metal tables and the light selection of pastries in the counter. Surrounded by the lull of warmth and accompanied by a cappuccino, I began to sketch again.
The most mesmerising moment was reaching the sea. As my steps approached the pebble shore, a white shimmer met my eyes, dazzling my senses. It had been years since I last been in such close proximity but now a rippling expanse was at my fingertips. And I began to walk, the opposite way to the cliffs to try and reach the pier which lay in the distance. Along the cascading beach, my feet would find a grip that would shortly fall away. With regular intervals, I gave myself time to listen to the rhythm of the incoming layers and even some skimming attempts as the water receded. There was a certain sense of playfulness that comes with getting in touch with the ocean and even surprised myself at the distance of my stone's throw. It would be a few hours before I would reach the end of the beach, but I was met with an area of soft sand washed by the regular tides. On the pier I was met by more fishermen, who had set up for a long day. Amidst some banter, I was told that the rest was separated by water and the only way would be to go a long way around. Or to swim across. Not particularly in the mood for a dip, I decided to make my way back into town, meditating and taking in the fantastic views ahead. On the way, I passed Tide Mills; the now derelict village which had been a part of East Sussex's rich history. Crumbling stone walls and rocky outcrops seemed to decorate the overgrown wetlands, recalling the bygone days of industrial service and the remnants of the wealthy landowners' haven.
With the evening quickly approaching, I would be needing some much needed rest as I checked into a room. The woman of the house, Delores, was a kindly mixed-race matron who quickly settled me in and was adamant that I should only be enjoying my stay. The sun had begun to shift, I was determined to watch the sunset on the cliffs. As I walked back along the beach I begun to walk up the rising line in search for the spot to watch the setting. Instead of climbing all the way to the top, I found a small white stone outcrop which allowed me to watch the golden rays enveloping the sea. There was a small boundary placed but I had decided that as long as I was wary of the cliff edge and the possibility of land fall, I could be unrestrained by the view. An incredible sight awaited as I watched the shadows emphasised in the ripples of water, and the silhouettes of the a small pier which drew a short way into the sea. The white stone did not match the feeling of the town at all. Instead it felt like I had climbed a mountain with surrounded by the snow of a tundra-based environment, with little bed of moss and plantation which were signs of new growth of the season. The night was quickly approaching and under the violet hues I climbed up the rest of the cliffs. On the bench, peeling a tangerine, I watched the town below slowly twinkle to life.