I've put up some photos on flickr of my recent enforced trip to Brighton with work. The less said about the work part, the better, as it's a well-known fact that being negative about your job on the internet can get you fired.
Brighton itself was surprising - I think I expected something louder and tackier after the reactions you get from most Britons when Brighton is mentioned. But it seemed quite sedate and regional, with the added bonus of a beach. There was also the tangled wreck of the West Pier, which I found fascinating and had to go and research the minute I got home. (I hope that gentleman won't mind me linking to his site. Please let me know if you do, sir!) Here is one of the photos:
I also visited the Royal Pavilion, which I'd never heard of before. It was built for George IV as Prince Regent during the 1800s as a seaside retreat, and later used by Queen Victoria and family (although they found it wanting, and soon sold it to the local Council). After seeing so many grand old building lately I was prepared to be underwhelmed. But the Pavilion was quite amazing, with this monstrous dining room over which 5 huge chandeliers covered in crystals and dragons and lotus flowers hung ominously. (I've been searching for a photo of this room as I really can't do it justice with my words, and photography wasn't permitted, but no luck. You can see an artist's rendering here
although it doesn't really show how much that dragon on the centre chandelier dominates the room.) I had thought it would all be a bit like The Hermitage in St Petersburg - beautifully decorated but sort of run down and bare - but it was quite different in that each room has been fully restored and set up as it was in the Prince Regent's time - so it looks as though people live there. In outlandish levels of comfort and luxury!
The hotel was also comfortable and luxurious, in an old-fashioned kind of way. That is always the one bonus of having to go away with work - the accommodation is usually good. Also, as an extra bonus, my lowly junior associate-level room was not ready, so I got a suite on the top floor! Anyway, you can see some photos in the flickr set. Interestingly (and sadly, I suppose) the hotel was actually bombed by the IRA in 1984 (which you can read about here) and when I looked at the photos on Wikipedia, it seems my room was right in the spot (or perhaps above) where the bomb went off.
I'm looking out the window now at some very miserable looking grey sky and drizzle. What a lovely start to the weekend! It's actually warmer in Brisbane today than it is in London. Summer is a totally different concept on this side of the world.