It has been a lovely sunny week in Worthing – always nice for funerals and house removals I find. Also the whole autumn-y vibe has been fitting: end of an era; death giving way to life; out with the mouldy old tat and all that … Autumn makes me think of one of my oldest friends Vicki, because she hates it. “It’s a mess.” she told me, “It’s pretending to be beautiful but look at it … it’s all just a great big mess.” Makes me giggle every time I remember that conversation.
I feel part of the very fabric of this town. By that I mean that I recognise people everywhere, and they’re familiar faces even if not actual acquaintances. Eg. a mum I waited with outside playgroup, then saw again at cubs, then saw again years later at a high school induction evening… you just sort of track people. Then there’s people we have named who don’t even know we exist: Road Runner, Maffro, Sonny Jim at Worthing High School, Eggy Peggy… we know them all. When I first started my office job I had to enter the details of tons of local addresses which took several days, and I remember thinking ‘wow, I just know every single corner of this place’.
This autumnal road reminds me of the time my friend (who shall remain nameless) was meant to be dog-walking for her neighbour and then, horrors, the owner came round to the house and we had to HIDE the dog amidst hysterical shrieks of laughter, terrified in case it barked, then we smuggled it out to the car and drove away holding it down between our legs so it was out of view. Sooooo hilarious…
Macaris on Marine Parade reminds me of the time we 3 mums went in with 3 double buggies and maybe a spare toddler or two, and SOMEbody smashed a whole glass dish of fancy ice cream, causing a lot of mess. The staff cleaned it up and replaced it, somewhat grumpily, then SOMEbody did the same thing again (!!) and my friend muttered “just go” so we grabbed all the kids and legged it. We never crossed their door again.
Even the gas tower provides a special memory for me!! When I was in labour for the first time in Worthing Hospital (God bless all midwives everywhere) I was staring out of the window, off my face on gas and air, and I remember being transfixed by the gas tower in the dawn light, thinking ‘Woaahhh, like.. what…. IS… THAT… ?? It’s, like, totally beautiful!!’
Then there’s Broadwater Road, upon which I swear I have spent half my life in Worthing. Sitting in queues on the way to school/ football/ street dance and suchlike. It was the road where we got married and where I trekked for years with a buggy, pausing to look at leaves/ diggers/ slugs/ whatever was called for. Treading water through those early years, living on Go-Slow mode. And of course the seafront where Colin and I first walked after he bought me a slice of pizza with his own money! We went all the way from the town to Goring then back again, swapping stories and dreaming about adventures. Then we did it again. By the end of the walk, I think I pretty much knew I’d found a good egg.
19 years later, we are finally heading off this Monday. Our visa is still not through for SA so we’re going to Dubai as there’s a little job for us there whilst we wait. So it’s goodbye Wonderful Worthing. Whenever you look at the gas tower, remember us! x