To force you all to read the post, the punchline will be posted with awful comic timing at a random point in this post.
Following a historic British Summer Holiday tradition, I visited the seaside. However, that is where my following of the tradition pretty much stopped. I did not endure traffic or travel chaos. I had no kids screaming at me asking whether we were there yet. It did not piss it down with rain the entire time I was there. I did not vow never to go on holiday in Britain ever again. I did not end up horrifically burnt. And no seagulls decided to attack me for one of my chips. In short, it was not miserable and I did not moan about it the entire time I was there. No, my trip to Hastings was a delight. Why does anyone ever complain about the seaside in Britain?
My day did, however, begin rather dramatically. Having caught a Thameslink train that was actually on time, I had barely recovered from the shock when a woman loudly starts effing and blinding as she boards the train. Having sprinted to make it, she realises she was on the wrong train just as the doors are shutting.
She does not have a ticket and she starts screaming at the train manager. The situation quickly escalates and ends with a rather loud crack as she slaps him and then, in a move that I still do not understand, she phones the police before running away as soon as the train doors open at the next station. She, a white woman, also managed to accuse him, a black man, of racism in a play that has fulfilled my irony quota for the next few weeks.
Hastings, upon arrival, has a slightly odd feel. Looking and wandering around, I felt slightly like the locals had built the town specifically to welcome tourists and whilst the buildings were clearly "old" they seemed to have been designed that way rather than actually being old. It was far too perfectly stereotypical, at first glance, to be an accident. I compared it to those recreated Victorian towns I once went on a school trip to that were specifically designed to give you an impression of what a Victorian town might actually have been like, rather than actually being a Victorian town. Regardless, having been assured that the locals were in fact locals and not cleverly disguised actors, I let my guard down and enjoyed the sunshine. The place itself is rather beautiful, especially when bathed in sunlight as it was the entire time I was there. The shops, small and quaint; the pubs, busy; and the atmosphere, relaxed and simple. In our attempts to fulfil part of the British seaside trip, despite the good weather and lack of screaming kids, we had fish and chips and a 99 covered in chocolate sprinkles. Despite being on the constant look-out (on my friend's ominous advice) for seagulls, the fish and chips were heavenly and who does not love a good soft-serve ice cream?
We played mini-golf. I won. We watched the Princess Diaries. I cried. (Yes, cried.)
I was then treated to dinner cooked by my friend's 12-year-old brother. He made chickpea burgers. I don't think I knew what chickpeas were when I was 12 and I had an healthy obsession with hummus and here's a kid making me actual vegetarian burgers, which he then followed with a vegan apple and cinnamon cake. I have never felt so inferior in my life.
Oh. Because otherwise they would be called bay-gulls. I like this joke for two reasons. First, it's just simply awful. Second, it reminds me bagels exist in the world and this is enough to make anyone's day better.