The regency building in the Pantiles used to be the Royal Victoria and Sussex Hotel. The young Princess Victoria stayed there with her mother before she came to the throne. A massive royal coat of arms stands above the door. The building now incorpororates an indian restaurant. Sitting opposite in this morning's sunshine, I notice, not for the first time, and with a sneaking admiration, that the name of the restaurant, Masala, is majestically inscribed just beneath the coat of arms, which gives the restaurant a surprisingly elevated status, as though it is by royal appointment. Perhaps, the spirit of the former Empress of India presides.
Outside a cafe in the High Street this afternoon sits a woman with a woollen hat, a thick scarf and a heavy overcoat. She is dealing with a cup of coffee, but doesn't seem to be enjoying it, for the wind is getting up and the sun has gone.
I stand close under under a huge oak and look up as though I were a camera searching for an unusual angle, and the branches spread out from the thick, towering trunk in all directions, and take over the sky.