Note: I am leading Lamar University’s study abroad group to my home town, Brighton, to study travel writing and photojournalism. As well as writing features about Brighton and beyond, I’m keeping a diary, of sorts, about the class experience. Here is part 4.
BRIGHTON, England — One advantage of taking students to one’s home town is the chance to give them a slice of life that they would not get by just being a tourist. When I told my parents I was bringing students to Brighton, my mother immediately asked if they would like to come for afternoon tea in the garden. I said of course they would.
So on the Friday afternoon, following the bus company presentation, the eight students and myself were on the bus to The Avenue, a part of Brighton so called because, well, it’s an avenue, a windy road with a huge grass divide running up it.
We were running late, but that just gave me a chance to instruct the students on the art of bus jumping. We caught our bus to the Clock Tower, an area that is a central hub for most of the bus routes. There are two buses that we could take. The 49 runs to the bottom of The Avenue, leaving a three-quarter-mile walk, and the 48 runs up The Avenue, close to where we needed to be. Ideally we would take the 48, but the 49 hit our stop first and we clambered on.
Traffic held us up near the site where student housing is being constructed. I noticed that a 48 was in front of us. Both buses turn at the bottom of The Avenue but split off from there. I played a hunch and told the students to get ready to get off and run. Both buses arrived at “The Bottom of The Avenue” (which is literally the name of the bus stop) at the same time. There was a small group of people waiting at the stop. We jumped off the 49 and sprinted ahead to jump on the 48. Score! We saved at least 15 minutes, and some tired legs.
When we arrived at Mum and Dad’s the students were blown away by the spread. Sandwiches galore and cakes in abundance (far more than we could eat). Hot tea was served and the sprinkling rain disappeared so the students could wander around the garden. More than one said it was like something out of a picture book.
My auntie Jean told a few embarrassing young Andy stories (or Andrew as my family call me), and the students were thoroughly enchanted.
But the highlight of the afternoon, apparently, was clotted cream and jam on scones. I don’t think they could have been more addicted if we had force fed them crack. The students ate them, took pictures with them, basically fell in love with them.
When we left, the students filmed Mum and Dad waving after them from the front door. I have to admit, they did look rather cute. I can always rely on my parents to make me look good.
After tea we headed down to the historic old part of Brighton called The Lanes for the Ghost Walk.
We met our guide, Ebeneezer, outside the Druid’s Head pub. He was easy to spot in his black Victorian garb — and he was quite tall. The tour takes about an hour and costs 8 pounds a person. The walk is not taxing, especially after tackling the hilly streets in the rest of the town. Ebeneezer was amusing and armed with a lot of historical facts to back his tales of supposed hauntings.
Several of the “haunts” are on our to-visit list but it did not take away from anything. It’s well worth the money and is a pleasant way to kill an hour or so before hitting a restaurant.
Three days in, averaging about 6 miles a day, the students seem to be having a great time. They are gathering information for the plethora of blog posts and stories to come. It is hard to write when one is in the middle of the experience.
To keep up with their blogs and social media, visit the trip’s Facebook page.