I was hoping my first post of the New Year would be something profound and inspirational, you know the sort of thing - my dreams for 2014 - how I choose my word of 2014 and its meaning to me (it's 'Courage' by the way), or other grand designs. The fact is, however, I've been stuck at home since before New Year with the worst cold and cough I've had in years and while I'm managing to remain generally quite positive my brain really isn't functioning anything like well enough to do profound and inspirational. So instead I'm going to show you one of my favourite bits of Brighton, where we were staying with my mother-in-law just after Christmas.
For most people I suspect Brighton conjures up images of the Pavillion, the Seafront, the Pier ( or possibly piers though that's a mute point) but for me its the North Laine shopping area. Brighton's Lanes have been well known for decades sporting expensive shops and antique emporia, but within the last 30 or so years an different shopping scene has appeared full of alternative shops and well, fun.
There's fabulous graffiti
Brightly coloured shop fronts
And a host of ethnic, vegetarian and vegan cafes to choose from
Amazingly the sun was warm enough and the street sheltered enough to make sitting outside a positive choice even if you weren't a smoker - and of course here is always a story to tell
Then there are the goods - a huge variety and these are only what you see on the street
The shops are all quite small inside and many were crowded so I thought twice about taking any pictures
and finally the people - the Balloon Man
The inevitable mobile phone user
The stall holder
and of course the shoppers
The reason I really like it here is because it's vibrant and varied - and that includes both shoppers and shops. At a time when our high streets (if they still exist), are full of clones and the shopping malls are even worse, it is a real pleasure to see individual enterprises flourishing - and who could resist these feminist, empowered legs?