All along the pier, the fishermen are out in fishy force. Despite the beautiful sunshine, it’s bitingly cold in the wind blowing off the sea so we only stop for a few minutes to enquire after their catch. As
in, have they caught anything?
They tell us they are mostly waiting for high tide when the mackerel will be up for grabs (that’s my description but it seems
appropriate). Mr B tells the story of his trip across the English Channel with his friend, Britain’s most successful Channel swimmer Kevin Murphy, many years ago, and how the mackerel virtually committed hara kiri, so keen were they to be caught. I’ve
heard the story lots of times before, but (unlike some) it’s not one I tire of hearing.
We are walking along the pier (it’s just like walking
on water, according to the promotional blurb) because we are keen to pay a visit to the Southern Pavilion which has just re-opened as a kind of cafe / wedding venue (see picture courtesy of The Worthing Journal.) The building has been empty for ages
– my children and their friends will remember it from the days when it was Worthing’s prime night club. My Boy still likes to tell the story of how someone offered him a good deal of cash if he would sell him his shoes – trainers not being
allowed inside the club. He reluctantly turned down the offer for fear of what I would say if he came home having exchanged his best shoes for a smelly pair of trainers.
But that was many years ago – now the Southern Pavilion has been restored to something like its former glory. A smartly dressed front of house man greets us and directs us to join either the “Drinks Queue” or the “Food and Drinks
Queue.” Both queues appear to be extremely slow-moving so we reluctantly decide to come back when they are not so busy. We try to sneak out without the Meeter and Greeter seeing us because we don’t want to appear less than supportive
of this brand new venture.
There is lots of new art work along the pier to admire, scenes from Old Worthing at the time of the First World War. One picture shows
horses being seized from their owners and corralled on the sea-front, ready to be shipped off to France. Thanks to the story-telling talents of Michael Morpurgo, people know all about the fate of the War Horses now. Theirs was a tale that needed to be
Back home after a successful shop, I spend the afternoon pottering about. I stick the latest cuttings in my Limelight Theatre Group scrapbook, put our
red choir files in order and start printing out the reports of our Questers visits which I have been re-formatting ready for inclusion in a “Wish You Were Here” book to accompany a U3A exhibition in July. I break off from all this activity to enjoy
half an hour Skyping with the Middle of the Darling Daughters and Young Faris.
Faris has learnt lots of new tricks which his Mum encourages him to demonstrate
for me. These include the actions to Wheels on a Bus and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star; pointing (though not necessarily at anything specific); wiggling; and scooting along backwards on his scuttlebug. He has also discovered how to climb upstairs and that the
cupboard behind his toy box contains an exciting assortment of DVDs which can be hurled about the room making most satisfactory clinking noises as the boxes open and the discs inside cascade onto the floor.
After that I check Facebook and discover that the Swift Family are faring somewhat better at the Charing Point to Point than they did at Brighton dogs the other night. I post a comment asking Eleanor the Hopeful if she
bought any raffle tickets but she says she was too busy concentrating on the dogs. “Or even the horses....” her mother posts, by way of correction.
there you have it, a quiet and – some might say - mostly uneventful day. But, hey, the sun is shining, the mackerel are leaping, there are many more people on the pier because of the new attraction and some of them may even pause to find out about
Worthing’s own War Horses and other local stories from the War That Didn’t End All Wars. Plus my Little Soldier is thriving again after his hospital stay.
I am counting my blessings. How many?!