Brighton: a plethora of pattern

When I was down in Brighton over the weekend, it seemed as if everywhere I went I saw amazing patterns, embedded into the everyday fabric of the city.

I don’t know whether it was just that I was on holiday, so was looking around me with a little more interest and leisure than I normally do, or whether Brighton really has a lot more glorious patterns than London. (Okay, so I do know the answer to that, it’s clearly the first one, but it’s much nicer to think about an amazing city of patterns…)

I’m really fascinated by pattern at the moment. What with this whole fabric designing malarkey, I’m spending more time than usual noticing the way things are laid out, the geometric repeats of patterns and how you can take inspiration from all sorts of unlikely everyday objects to create really beautiful images.

Here, then, are some favourites that I spotted while we were away.

Mosaic floor, Brighton museum
I’d love to give you a bit of background history on this floor, but I’m afraid all I know about it is that it’s pretty…

We only made a brief visit to the Art Museum, but I had time to admire (and photograph) its mosaic floors (above) and tiled walls (below).

Tiled wall, Brighton museum
Stunning, aren’t they. Plus a little reflection of me for your added viewing pleasure

It wasn’t just in the museums and galleries I spotted nice patterns though. Oh no! Even Brighton’s car parks are beautiful. On the way to use the loo in Debenhams, I was temporarily stopped in my tracks to admire this pattern of sunlight coming through the grid on the side of the car park:

Sunlight in car park
You know, in London, we don’t have beautiful things like car parks.

But, let’s face it, you don’t go to Brighton to admire the car parks. Out on the beach, there was plenty of opportunity to photograph the floor as well.

Beach path
Wood and pebbles, especially lovely patterns

The pebble beach was edged with pathways made of wood. Some new, as above, some older, as below.

Beach path, Brighton
Pebbles and older wood: even better

The paths going through the middle of the beach were equally appealing:

Beach path, Brighton
Have you seen enough photos of different combinations of wood and pebbles yet?

As was this series of steps leading to the beach:

Paving slabs, bricks and wood. Not necessarily a combination I would normally think of as beautiful

And finally, out on the pier, a little more weathered wood…

Brighton pier
As I took the photo, the sea was glittering away through the cracks

…and is there, anywhere, a more glorious sight than white railings and a turquoise sea?

Brighton pier railings
Mmmmm, heavenly view

On a completely unrelated note, I’m off to the Pinterest UK party this evening up in King’s Cross. I was contacted by Pinterest a few weeks ago to ask if I wanted to come along, in a move that felt a little akin to your favourite band when you were younger noticing how much time you’d spend staring at their poster on the ceiling and deciding to ask you to come to tea.

(I have an idea that Pinterest has set up an algorithm that looked at the accounts of bloggers and correlated how much time they were wasting usefully pinning projects they are really going to make one day on Pinterest and then invited the most hopelessly addicted to come and meet them.)

I think somewhere in my subconscious the word “party” has struck terror though. Not having been out a huge amount since having the little sproglet, it’s a while since I’ve been to a party. Let alone one where I won’t actually know a single person. My body, in response, has behaved as that of an 18-year-old going on a date. I have a spot on my top lip. I got really sunburnt yesterday. I cut my ankle just now while shaving my legs.

So, if you’re going along too, and you see someone with a tomato red face, limping along unaccustomed to their heels, a smear of unnoticed baby sick down their back, blood dripping down one ankle and a huge throbbing spot on their upper lip, come over and say hi. That’ll be me.

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A weekend by the sea

I’m full of the joys of Spring this morning. Over the weekend, we went all Graham Greene, and headed down to the seaside at Brighton.

Brighton Rock sign
Brighton Rock

(Actually, ignore the Graham Greene reference, we did nothing even remotely approaching the sinister activities of Brighton Rock. Honest.)

I was there for my sister’s hen party, but the baby and partner sneaked down too on Saturday evening, so we had a few family days afterwards pootling along the seafront and window shopping in the Lanes.

The weather was unbelievably glorious. Blue skies, sunshine, a breeze off the sea to keep you cool.

Here’s a little pictorial evidence of our time…

Brighton pier
Sun, sea and Brighton pier. What more could you want? (Maybe a sandy beach)

The pier was everything I had expected: fairground rides, doughnut shops, arcades, music blaring out, flags flying. It’s the English seaside experience of the 1930s, still going strong today. I loved it.

West pier, Brighton
The burnt out shell of West pier, to the left of the photo

Our hotel was directly opposite the old, West pier, that burnt down in 2003. Now, the carcass of the pier and the metal rods that supported it are all that remain. The shell looks rather stunning, sitting out there in the sea, and the old metal supports look almost like an art installment sticking up in the beach…

Beach art, Brighton
Where there’s a beach, there’s beach art…

Further down the beach, is an actual metal beach sculpture, which I thought was equally glorious…

Shellfish stall, Brighton beach
Despite the promising “we pack to take home” sign, I wasn’t convinced that prawns or jellied eels would survive a car journey in the heat back to London. And at 9am on Monday morning, I wasn’t in the mood to eat any at the time. A decision I rather regret now…

…though not quite as glorious as this shellfish stall…

Prawn sculptue, Brighton
A human sized prawn. Surely the stuff of nightmares

…which also had its very own bit of beach art. A giant sculpture of a prawn.

Oversized prawns aren’t the only oddities in Brighton, of course, as it’s the home to the fabulously bizarre Royal Pavilion.

Brighton pavilion
Not quite the quintessential Regency period architecture

The pavilion was created for the Prince Regent, George Prince of Wales (who gives his name to the Regency period and architecture). Started in 1787, it wasn’t fully completed until 1823 and is a fabulously un-English building, taking inspiration instead from Indian, Chinese and Islamic architecture.

Brighton pavilion
It’s hard to resist the urge to walk under that arch…

History lessons finished, we ducked into the Brighton Museum…

Brighton Museum
Just by the pavilion is the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

…but we couldn’t spend too long indoors, when outside the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the trees were in bloom.

In the museum, and everywhere we went, I spotted a lot of glorious patterns in everyday objects, which I’m going to post here as well. But I think that can wait until tomorrow, since this is already a galumphingly long post. (Update, you can see them here: a plethora of pattern.)

Just time for one more photo. Because Brighton wouldn’t be Brighton without these:

Brighton seagull
They have no fear, these seagulls. I was standing right next to him and I think I was more wary…

Ta ta till tomorrow. Enjoy the sun.

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  • Hardly the same kettle of fish, but you can see my photos of Hong Kong if you feel like an armchair jaunt a bit further afield.