Welcome to Thee Nook

bits and pieces on Brighton and thee beyond…..

Archive for May, 2009

Paperchain

Posted by Sara on May 29, 2009

A new story has been added to our sister blog, Shadows Time. It’s called Paperchain and it’s about cards – cards  with mysterious powers – a sort of cartomancer’s Necronomicon I guess. Where would such cards come from and more importantly where would they lead to? To have a look click HERE.

teller

Advertisements

Posted in Short Story Shelf | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Barkingham Palace

Posted by Sara on May 27, 2009

barkinghamfront

At last – a bank we can all respect. While out wandering around deepest darkest Hove I stumbled upon the world famous Nat Westie Charity Bank. Defying credit crunchers (and town conservation planners as well by the looks of things) this oasis of  West Highland wonderment is home to some rather pampered pooches who are the inspiration behind a charity project that collects for a different animal charity each month through some rather ingenious collection tubes running down from the front of their home.

donatehere

So if you are ever in the Tisbury Road area make sure you pay a visit to Barkingham Palace and donate your cash to help  some very good causes. To date these amazing canines have collected over £2700 for 32 different  animal charities. There are even some leaflets left outside with added info on how much they’ve collected and for who, if you want to know more. This months charity is the Rabbit Welfare Association Fund in Horsham and next month they will be collecting for the Great Dane Adoption Society. Fantastic.

barkinghampalace

Posted in Brighton Bits and Pieces | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Harry’s English Restaurant

Posted by Sara on May 25, 2009

22.05.2009 Harry’s English Restaurant, Church Street Hove.

With the word restaurant in it’s name we may be moving a tad too upmarket for a decent fry up – but fear not, this is Hove after all and Harry’s English Restaurant has been earning a reputation for serving up great British breakfasts since the 90’s. Established in 1990 Harry’s is a family run business that specialises in wholesome traditional grub, using locally sourced ingredients and renowned for their generous portions. There is an array of breakfasts on offer, including porridge, pancakes and posh salmon as well as the traditional fry up and breakfast is served up till 4pm. If you don’t fancy breakfast there are also a range of light meals, main meals and delicious desserts – specials of the day when we visited included Homemade Cottage Pie and Grilled Crayfish with Avocado salad. They are licensed too with a range of beers and wines on offer.

inside harrys

But what about the breakfast? I ordered the Veggie – two eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, beans, fried slice, hash browns and toast (£6.80) and Dan ordered the Greedy – which is a traditional breakfast of bacon, egg, pork & sage sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes (or beans) and toast with extra black pudding and fried slice (£7.60). Coffee or tea is included in the price and allegedly includes one top up – though we’ve been here twice now and that’s not happened so, unlike in the good Ol’ US of A, I suspect the traditional English top up is one you need to make a point of asking for.

harrysmeat

The food soon arrives and is attractively laid out on big china plates. The portions, though not humongous, are fair sized and though you only get one slice of toast, the brown bread at least is of door stopper proportions. The eggs were cooked perfect and looked a treat as did the mushrooms. The fried slice was deliciously deadly as it always is and my only quibble is I would have preferred proper hash browns. Dan particularly liked the bacon and the generous slice of black pudding; this being the greedy breakfast he would have also preferred another slice of toast. All in all we both agreed the food was of high quality. Condiments on offer were top name brands.

harry's veggie

There is a nice relaxed ambience helped along by Blondie, the Buggles and David Bowie playing in the background and we were seated in a lovely sunny position just by the window. The inside is simple and tasteful; aqua marine walls combined with bare wooden floors to create an unpretentious relaxed family feel. For those who like a bit of visual stimulation while they eat, the high ceilings and collection of Art Deco mirrors provide  points of interest. Toilets are ok and come complete with baby changing facilities. Understandably this place can get very busy over lunch times so be warned but if you are ever in need of a breakfast in Hove we would definitely recommend this one. For more information on Harry’s and to check out their menu – click HERE.


Posted in Brighton Breakfasts | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Severn Beach

Posted by Sara on May 17, 2009

Even more desolate than a seaside town out of season is a seaside town that’s never in season, and the poem below about Severn Beach, once a popular seaside resort – alas no more – captures that sense of forsaken melancholy perfectly. This rather pensive piece of prose comes from our amazing Dominic – who has branched out with a blog of his own so check out: Poetry Shelf for more poems and discussion on all things lyrical.

Out on Severn Beach

Out on Severn Beach

The shingle feels the rain

set upon forgotten earth

away from all that’s sane,

the sky frustrates the light

dictating moods below

the bridges’ shadow casts across

that takes away the glow,

voices pass through the air

then descend in to the sea

nothing lasts to tell a soul

nor pass the words to me,

pity takes the evening

when the dormant sleep

for pity stalks the coastal path

where it earns its keep.

Dominic

 

Posted in Poetry Shelf | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lucky Stones!

Posted by Sara on May 15, 2009

Pebbled beaches, who’d have them? They hurt your feet and are rubbish for making sandcastles. However, from this day forth I will complain no more, since I have recently discovered that, crunching beneath my poor tortured tootsies, these shingled shores hold an ancient and forgotten secret – the secret of the Lucky Stones.

So what’s a Lucky Stone ? Well, it’s a stone with a hole right through it and there are more found along the Sussex coast than anywhere else in the world. Collected and treasured as talismans from as far back as the Neolithic ages, these holy flints where considered to have magical powers and believed to be able to ward off illness and misfortune. Fishermen would not sail without them, keeping them on board to increase their catches and farmers would nail them to their barns to protect their livestock. In the Victorian days it was considered especially lucky to spit on the stone, and toss it over your left shoulder  chanting:

Lucky stone lucky stone bring me some luck
Today or tomorrow at Twelve O’Clock.
lucky horseshoe

It’s good luck to find a stone, even better to be given one and extra lucky to steal one from someone else. Rub them over any afflicted area of your body to relieve pain and sickness, or wear one for luck and to ward off witches, the devil and the evil eye. It was also believed that a stone hung over the bed of a woman in labour would make the birth go much smoother.

If all this is beginning to sound a bit Finbarr – fear not, for this isn’t something I’ve just hastily scribbled off the back of some  dodgy new age cereal packet. In fact, I recently stumbled across an amazing book at the bookstall down by the West Pier called Lucky Sussex by John Behague. This wonderfully entertaining and informative book contains everything you need to know about flint and Lucky Stones and is a treasure trove of  information and anecdotes on local characters, history and superstition. I loved this book and had great fun reading it. The book was published by Pomegranate Press in 1998 and might be out of print.

luckysussex

Of course if you aren’t lucky enough to find a copy for yourself or if you don’t live anywhere near any lucky beaches, you can always fall back on that old comic book classic and just Rub the Buddha for money.

Good Luck!

Posted in Brighton Unexplained | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Royal Alex

Posted by Sara on May 11, 2009

royal alex2Would you believe this beautiful building is still under threat of demolition from developers Taylor Wimpey? This week, developers Taylor Wimpey are appealing to get permission to demolish this building and replace it with a block of flats.

RA turretsSituated on Dyke rd, in the Montpelier and Cliftonhill conservation area, the Royal Alex was opened in 1881 and was childrens hospital until it’s closure in 2007. Designed by respected architect Thomas Lainson, the Alex is built in a red brick Queen Anne style with terracotta decoration and is a fine example of Gothic revival  architecture. This is an important local landmark, full of character and historical interest and unique buildings such as these, once they are knocked down, can never be replaced.

Shortly after buying the site, the developers have claimed that conversion of the building was beyond economic repair – despite submitting no evidence to show this and despite the fact that this was a fully functioning hospital shortly before they took it over. More worryingly, it is alleged that Taylor Wimpey continue to treat this building with a lack of respect, leaving windows open and the property vulnerable to the elements and vandals.

ra3

Taylor Wimpey put in an application to demolish this building and replace her with 149 flats, a GP’s surgery and 66 parking spaces. This was refused by the planning committee in December 2008 but Taylor Wimpey are appealing the decision against both the refusal to demolish the hospital and the refusal against their application to construct a new block of flats on the site.

The hearing is due to start at 10am on 12th May 2009 at Brighton Town Hall and is expected to run for four days. It should be very interesting and I’ve heard there are going to be some very good speakers in opposition to the plans. The more people who can show up and demonstrate that they care about the fate of this building, the better.

royal alex end

Posted in Brighton Bits and Pieces | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Journeys end in lovers meeting

Posted by Sara on May 10, 2009

ra2Having spent a fair amount of my childhood growing up in crumbly old houses, hotels and hospitals, I like to think I’m a bit of a connoisseur of creepy buildings. Very few books and films ever manage to capture the essence of what makes some buildings  ‘hold darkness within’ but The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is a genuinely chilling tale that perfectly encapsulates just the right blend of psychological suspense and supernatural menace found in all great ghost stories and hauntings.

BLT

Last night I went to see an adaptation of this book at the Brighton Little Theatre and it was fab. I won’t say too much, as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone going to see it, but the set and the cast were brilliant and did a fantastic job of bringing  Hill House to life and staying faithful to the eerie, sinister atmosphere of the book. It’s on every night from Saturday 9th to Saturday 16th May. Tickets only £8.50. Some still available from their box office.

ra3

And talking of Gothic Victorian Mansions, please look look out for updates on the fate of the old Royal Alex Hospital. Situated on Dyke road this beautiful local building (photographs above and the subject of most of my ‘spooky house’ photos) is still under threat of demolition from developers Taylor Wimpey. A hearing to decide the fate of this unique and important historical  landmark starts at Brighton Town Hall on 12th May at 10am. The more people who attend to show their support for the Royal Alex the better. Please don’t let them destroy this beautiful building.

Posted in Brighton Bits and Pieces | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Victorian Death and Mourning

Posted by Sara on May 6, 2009

angelBank Holiday Monday. While most of Brighton was busy rioting away on the seafront we  were peacefully ensconced up in the blissfully tranquil Woodvale cemetery and crematorium for an illustrated talk on Death and Mourning in the Victorian era.The venue was the Extra-Mural Gothic Chapel, built in the 1850’s and our speaker was the wonderfully informative Sarah Tobias.

windowthumbnailUnlike today, death was very much a matter of fact part of every day life in Victorian England and with big families and high mortality rates, many people were often in constant mourning. Mourning itself was an intricate and symbolic affair filled with ritual and lasting for up to two years (Queen Victoria herself was in mourning for forty years). As such it spawned a whole industry dedicated to remembering the dead – including clothing, photos, jewellery, death masks and casts of limbs. The talk was illustrated with slides featuring all aspects of Victorian undertaking, including dress fashions, accessories and memento mori. For added atmosphere we were joined half way through by two mysterious figures kitted out for the occasion in full Victorian mourning dress.

We were told about some of the fascinating aspects of this part of  Victorian life, as well as some of the more unsavoury – like the rise of the resurrectionists who made their living robbing graves to supply the medical industry (That dastardly duo Burke and Hare being a famous example) .Particular reference was also made to local history and Extra Mural cemetery itself. In the mid 19th century the dead were buried in local churchyards but disease and overcrowding led to the creation of large rural cemeteries. These new cemeteries, of which Brighton’s is one of the most beautiful, were called Necropolis – City of the Dead and were laid out as cities complete with avenues and streets.

drapestone3

We learnt about the two stages of mourning, and the etiquette involved in visiting the dead -including the importance of the Victorian death bed and why the use of narcotics was discouraged so as to keep the dying more lucid – in the hope their last dying words would contain something revealing and enlightening. Bodies could be laid out in the home parlour for up to 12 days (though this practice was frowned on for health reasons and 5 days deemed more sanitary) and during this time, straw would be strewn on the road outside to muffle the noise of the horses. The correct etiquette in dress was very important; though men  need only worry about the correct width of hat band, women were required to be cloaked top to toe in dull black fabric for at least a year and a day, with nothing allowed to shine lest the souls of the departed catch their reflection and become confused.

angel23

This was a fascinating talk full of interesting and revealing insights into Victorian life. There is another date scheduled for this talk on 16th May. Coming up in July, Sarah will be conducting a guided walk through the Victorian part of the Extra Mural cemetery. This cemetery is a beautiful place steeped in history and the grounds are vast and enchanting – full of grand mausoleums, beautiful stone statues and some nice examples of 19th century Egyptian-style funerary monuments  – all surrounded by ancient trees and wonderful wildlife. The Great Cemetery tour will be taking place on July 5th at 11am from the Bear Road entrance.

If you can’t wait tilll then there’s the Original Brighton Cemetery Tour Special taking place Surndays 10th, 17th and 24th May as part of the Fringe Festival. Starts at 1.30pm at Woodvale Lodge, off Lewes road.

For more information about what’s going on at a cemetery near you – click here.

bluebells

Posted in Brighton Walks and Talks | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Enough Said

Posted by Sara on May 3, 2009

nuffsaid1

I’m a big fan of Banksy, especially his rats – I’m not sure this is actually one of his but it made me smile nonetheless; it’s a little blurred but the writing on the bag reads YOUR CASH.

Posted in Brighton Graffiti | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Tower

Posted by Sara on May 2, 2009

lowtidewestp

Children play beneath

the towers’ unwashed lost souls –

lost as they will be

By Dominic

Posted in Poetry Shelf | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »