OUT IN THE FIELD: Eastbourne family-run coach firm is a little gem

I have been off for the odd days here and there recently. My annual mini-Christmas and Guinnessfest with the Irish rellies (it didn’t rain but the chill in the air was deadly) and before that on a day trip to Belgium for Remembrance Day.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 4:00 pm

My other half has an interest and deep passion for all things First and Second World War related so last Christmas I bought him (and me obviously) a day trip to Ypres to coincide with Monday November 11. We booked with reputable Eastbourne firm Lynns Travel and it really was a terrific day out. Two coaches from Eastbourne left at 4am and we were looked after so well by the drivers who were a font of knowledge.

There was plenty of time at all the stops and despite the driving rain we managed to fit in to British cemeteries, a German cemetery and of course, the Menin Gate Memorial, where the names of more than of 54,000 Commonwealth soldiers who died in the Great War but whose bodies have never been identified or found are inscribed.

We landed back in Eastbourne just past midnight and everyone agreed that not only was it a great day but how lucky we are to have an independent coach travel firm specialising in day excursions, short breaks and holidays right on our doorstep. The shop front in Seaside Road on the corner of Cavendish Place has a lovely family feel about it. They only take cash or cheques, tickets are handwritten, and would you believe, they even have an Annemarie Field working there (I am assured she doesn’t get any grief from people confusing her with her namesake)?

At this rate if restaurants keep opening in Eastbourne I am going to have a backside the size of a small country by Christmas. First I was at Taylor’s Restaurant and Sports Bar in the Beacon and then Bistrot Pierre and no doubt will be heading to The Bok Shop fairly soon. Taylor’s is a great addition to the town as is the new restaurant at the Wish Tower. Bistrot Pierre has been a long time coming and co-owner Rob Beecham was clearly delighted to see it all come together last week. Do bear in mind if you venture in there, it is all new and sparkly and the staff are doing their very best. There’s bound to be teething problems in any new premises opening so give them a chance.

Thank goodness there are some plans lined up for Bolton Road and Langney Road. The news the area could be paved and pedestrianised and could effectively become a Town Square will be a God-send to businesses along Langney Road and up the seaward end of Terminus Road. What with TJs closing, Phase Eight relocating, Gerry Weber closed (although I see TReds has opened in there) and Debenhams set to shut in January, that part of town will start to look very sorry for itself. Benches, a water fountain and feature paving will brighten up the area no end.

Talking of Debenhams and if you’re out doing your Christmas shopping in there, do chat to the staff. Many of them have been working there for donkey’s years and as they get ready to close the store down, are more than happy to share their memories of life in ‘Bobby’s’ and listen to yours too.