Seaside postcard 1: Eastbourneseafront Nobody goes to the seaside in February, not unless they already live there. You won't find holidaymakers sauntering up and down the classy Eastbourne seafront, not yet, just elderly locals out walking their dogs or taking a midwinter constitutional. This is the retirement zone, where the afternoon pre-Countdown slot is best filled by a healthy stroll from the WishtowerTearooms to the terraced Italian Gardens and back again. I felt positively juvenile compared to most of the couples I met along the promenade, many of whom I suspect will continue their daily walks until the time comes to have their own dedicated memorial bench.
Eastbourne Pier[photo] may be open, but don't visit expecting to be entertained. Most of the shops and kiosks are closed for the winter, so if you've come in search of a tattoo or a lucky crystal you'll be disappointed. Artificial flowers and chips appear to be available all year round, however. The pier's owners are taking the opportunity to spruce up the external blue and white paintwork, and hopefully after they've finished they'll rub down the seagull-splattered deck seating too. At the end of the pier the Atlantis nightclub boasts live entertainment on the first Thursday of each month (perfect if a Village People tribute band are your scene, probably best avoided if not). A pair of forlorn grubby staircases lead up onto the nightclub roof, and then ascend again to a peeling wooden dome. Inside is the pier's pride and joy - a Camera Obscura - although at present the door is locked and this is just an unvisited, elevated dead end. It's all too quiet, from tip to shore. For those who work here, spring can't come a day too soon.