Sometimes, the journey home seems longer that the trip away. This proved the case with our return from visiting Seven Sisters. The muddy path demanded even greater concentration than before, and although it had stopped raining, we were still cold, and lunchtime had long since passed.
At one point, a hearty-looking gent breezed past us, taking his three dogs out for a walk and a romp. He threw the ball for them, and barked commands, and they obeyed him joyfully and without hesitation. While we skated along as if on ice, he strode along in wellies, the rubber boots making easy work of the soft, squishy earth. His example reminded me of Compo, the small, scruffy character in "Last of the Summer Wine." Having visited Holmfirth, and knowing how changeable the weather in Yorkshire can be, Compo's decision to always wear wellies, regardless of how sunny and bright the day began, suddenly seemed wise.
By the time we reached the road, it was after 2 p.m., and for some reason, neither of the food places nearby appealed. So we boarded the bus back to Brighton.
At one point in our walk, we had noticed a rabbit watching our slow, steady progress. While not as large as the Giant Rabbit Guardian of Sacramento Airport, he had nonetheless seemed large for a rabbit. On the bus, we overheard a woman tell her friend about an old lady who lived in a cottage at the outskirts of her town. The old woman's husband had died a few years back, and she kept to herself, and spent her time caring for small wild animals such as our friend the rabbit. The woman seemed as skittish of civilization as the animals she cared for, so the lady on the bus occasionally brought her a hot meal, and sat down to talk with her for awhile, before returning to her everyday life in the city.
Of all the nearby towns, I had wanted to visit Rottingdean. Rudyard Kipling, a writer perhaps best remembered for The Jungle Book, lived there. I thought it would be nice to see his house and the gardens named in his honor. But we were tired and hungry as we left the bus, and a pub called The White Horse promised hot drinks, good food, and above all rest for our cold, weary bodies. We heeded its siren song.
A woman with open wounds pulled drinks behind the counter, and a young man with a darkened face took our order. We found a comfortable table inside, and watched the storm clouds looming overhead. I felt sorry for the two behind the bar: death seemed to have claimed them so early in life, and their bodies were rapidly decaying. Then I remembered what day it was, and I took heart.
Even Zombies return to life on the day after Halloween.
The staff at The White Horse served us two pots of hot tea, and plates loaded with more delicious food than we could eat.
We tried our best to honor the cook's glorious efforts.
By the time we finished our lunch/dinner (Linner?), the sun was setting, and the male zombie informed us that the Kipling Gardens were most likely closed, or soon would be. Outside, the air had grown colder, and the sky was spitting down rain again. So we clustered under the shelter of the bus stop, and waited for the bus back to Brighton.
Farewell, Seven Sisters! Farewell, Rottingdean! Perhaps one day we can return, and visit you both again!
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