I can’t believe I am 46 and I’ve never been to Brighton before. How did I miss this iconic rite of passage? Nary a bank holiday awayday or a dirty weekend in all my days. Well, I’m making up for it now – and in the best possible style – as writer in residence at the Hotel du Vin in Ship Street. It’s an awesome Gothic revival meets mock Tudor building done out with the usual Hdv flair and panache, a stunning two-floor bar and a buzzy bistro – and adjoining it is the unique Pub du Vin, encompassing tradition with a twist (pork scratchings and pickled onions available at the bar). I loved the pewter bar and the trompe l’oieul: peeling wallpaper shwoing exposed brick.
And it was here I met up with an old friend from school. When you are incarcerated in a girls’ boarding school for months on end, the bonding is pretty deep. Gilly and I didn’t miss a beat before plunging into three hours of catching up and reminiscence over as many bottles of wine (we had a bit of help!). Gilly now runs the idyllic Sussex House Party – a retreat for writers which also holds literary dinner parties.
Tonight is the launch of my latest novel The Beach Hut so I’m going to be celebrating with a glass of something chilled and fizzy in the Balfour Room with my colleagues from Orion – please come and join us in a toast.