Sunday, August 22, 2010

Eastbourne pier & Memories of Whitebait

Eastbourne from Beachy head
Our holiday is going well the weather is still being kind and we have enjoyed the time with relatives catching up with the news.Our most recent foray was to Eastbourne again.This time to the pier.we spent the afternoon having a walk up the pier took tea and coffee in one of the cafes and I played some pool with my son in an games room in the arcades.
Playing pool brought back so many memories as I spent many hours during my time in Nursing training playing pool with a good friend in my training group.I was playing pool the night I met my wife in the social club of the hospital I trained in.Although the hospital  is now long gone, our memories are still strong, my wife even had a go at pool when we were playing, to show my son that she could play.
After we had finished we went to the town to find somewhere to eat and decided on a lovely little Italian restaurant where we had some lovely pasta and I found another memory booster on the menu.
Whitebait-small flour coated and deep fried whole fish. I have been looking for these for ages and was over the moon to be able to eat some again,I must explain why.
When I left Sussex and returned to Oxford I did so to be near my eldest daughter. The relationship with her mother had ended and she had returned to Oxford about the same time as I had got together with my wife.
I had made a commitment to continue a relationship with my daughter despite this.So when a new Regional Unit for Forensic Care opened in Oxfordshire I applied.
I had a great job in Sussex with good promotion prospects and my wife's family were local. But I felt that my daughter was more important and so I applied to Oxford.
I was offered the post and moved into the hospital.But before we opened there was a period of training this allowed us to work 9-5 for a few weeks while we sorted out the new clinic. A time for team building and sharing this was done in a local pub called the Waterloo (also now gone) just down the road from where I live.
We would spend our afternoons drinking and getting to know each other and having a great time.
Although I didn't particularly want to work in Oxford this was a good time in the Forensic Unit's history when we started out, as we had high hopes for the future.I remember fondly one of the specials served in the pub and a favourite of my ward manager Prem Calloo was fried whitebait served with chilli sauce washed down with lagers and dark rum, many a happy afternoon was spent there!
I was able to buy whitebait in the past, but have not seen it for sale for a long time, so I was so pleased to taste it again.My son tried it and he liked it as well.
Unfortunately Prem is also gone now, he died of a heart attack in front of me in the Clinic we started, just a few years later. One afternoon when we were working together he just dropped dead. He has a headstone in the local graveyard near Agatha Christie and is remembered fondly by me, when I eat whitebait, always with some hot sauce!

All in all this holiday has been steeped in memories for me and a realisation of the passing of time, it may be because I am getting near my birthday at the end of August, and birthdays of late tend to be reminders of the passage of time.But I do hope that there will be many more different memories yet to come after my transplant and maybe a few to revisit again, many of those will be in Sussex.

Whatever happens you cannot go back you must continue forward whatever that brings.

I thought that a couple of photos would be nice after that deep and rambling trip down memory lane so here goes;
Eastbourne pier
Beachy head

Sussex seagull

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