I love Spain. Spanish Spain. My wife and I must have our Spanish holiday! Despite the efforts of the NHS, it looks likely that we will not be able to enjoy a visit to our favoured haunts this year − again! What to do?
The profiteering hospitality of the West Country, much as I love the area where I was born, is not a real substitute. The grey East coast still less, and I do not want to drive further afield. I need my taste of Spain. I am pining for its sights, sounds, tastes, culture and atmosphere. For years I have shown my commitment, not only by regular visits, but also by learning to understand and speak the language enough to make all this more relaxing. This should not be allowed to go to waste. I am not getting any younger. Que lastima!
There is only one thing for it: I shall have my Spanish summer – in Sussex!
What?! How? Well, let us break it down. What is required?
Accommodation? Got that. I live in East Sussex. No hotel or AirBnB required. Tick!
Beaches? Eastbourne’s is lovely and we have access to a beach cabaña there. There is our very own Costa Creta [Chalk Coast] between there and Brighton, with great beaches, fabulous views and walks along the way. The paseo? Ever been to Brighton seafront? Tick!
Food? Things are looking encouraging for our favourite pescado y patatas fritas places and the odd bar at least. Both Eastbourne and Brighton have Spanish restaurants to explore, assuming they have survived and we are allowed in. Merluza; pulpo; rabo de toro; fabas – all plentifully available locally to cook at home. Apart from the tapas offered by the supermarkets, we have also discovered chefs and wholesalers who deliver authentic Spanish dishes and ingredients – even complete meals, at a price. Since we will not have to pay for travel, we could manage to splash out a bit here. Tick!
Drinks? Not really a problem except for the lack of sun-warmed oranges. We can make our own cortados. We are already Spanish wine drinkers and there is no shortage of vermouth or sherry, cocktails too. True, we may struggle to replicate a caña for a Euro but I actually prefer English ale, so: Salud!
Language? Well, my lovely Spanish conversation group friends will still be around for a charla; the grandchildren are learning Spanish so may be up for some extra practice; BBC Mundo’s announcer is a joy to listen to; and I have a pile of Spanish novels waiting, so … Vale!
Culture? Maybe there will be something opening up at one of Sussex’s great galleries, or a day trip to London may provide. Farleys House and Gallery may have just what we need. There is Spanish art online and in books to remind me of what I am trying not to miss and maybe inspire some emulation. There is a Lorca DVD waiting for a wet evening. Could we be lucky and there be some live flamenco in Brighton? Who knows; there is always Spotify. Olé!
Which leaves the climate. True, Spain is pretty special that way, but Sussex in summer can be pretty fabulous, so you never know your luck. I just mended my sunglasses in case. Ojalá!
Place? No, Sussex is not Spain and I shall be impatient to go as soon as possible, but for England it is about as good as it gets, as well as being very convenient for seeing family and friends, so … Hasta verano. Nos veramos?