My cousin is moving to Brighton. She is also one of my best friends (hence we call each other ‘frousin’), so this is exciting news. It’s also a good chance for me to look at my adopted home city through new eyes.
Brighton is a lovely place to live. They say it’s the home of people who can’t make up their minds – it’s a city, by the sea, surrounded by countryside. I’ve been living here for over a decade, and I probably take it for granted in some ways by now – but I do know that if I moved anywhere else, there are a lot of things I would miss.
My frousin came to stay at the weekend, and it was lovely to show her around some of my favourite haunts. My well-worn running routes, hidden gems and the little local things that are of no interest to anyone but residents. Brighton is such a recognisable place but – I guess like many tourist cities – most of it goes under the radar. I sometimes go weeks without seeing the sea (sadly). It’s certainly easy to plan out your life so you never have to see a tourist, if you like. (Although I must be the only long-term resident of Brighton who loves going on the pier at any opportunity.)
It’s fun to show someone else your favourite places. The great cafes that are so important to a Saturday afternoon (at the moment, my friends and I barely seem to go a weekend without popping into Pelicano, home of the best cake in Brighton). Slightly out-of-the-way parks for a moment of calm (Blakers Park being my current favourite). Local restaurants (Pizza 500, at the very far end of London Road, under a viaduct, makes me feel like I’m on holiday). The best charity shops for records and the best ones for household tat (mostly along London Road and Blatchington Road). The list goes on – hit me up if you need obscure recommendations, seriously.
I feel quite proud of where I live, which is nice. All this also takes me back to the time when I first washed up in Brighton – on a total whim and with a brave/stupid lack of resources (no job, no flat, no friends and barely even any acquaintances), which seems to be surprisingly common among Brighton residents. I had no idea where I was going; I had only ever been to Brighton once, for a weekend, and like most people I had pretty much only seen the seafront and the Lanes. I wasn’t particularly expecting to stay long. But I found my feet and now it’s my home. It’s nice to share it.