Monday, 2 January 2012

Go Wilde in Lancing

When I learnt that Lancing isn't a town at all, but is in fact a village (it claims to be the largest village in England) everything I thought was a bit odd and maybe even a little eerie about the place suddenly made sense.
     Lancing has a bottomless pond. It has a large and bleak looking retirement home where the residents are lined up in a row of wheelchairs in the front window to stare at the main road ahead for eternity. It has several good charity shops. It's the place where Black Beauty author Anna Sewell lived and where Oscar Wilde's famous lover, Lord Alfred (Bosie) Douglas died.* What I most like about Lancing (apart from the retro children's paradise Brooklands Park aka Diddlyland) is its coastal cycle path.
Leaving behind the relative metropolis of Worthing, Lancing's seafront cycle route is a place where time stands still. It stirs memories of a 1970s childhood, roaming free, scrubbing around in dirt, skipping on concrete and spending every spare moment outdoors under grey skies. It's a place I love and return to when I need to escape people and feel the wind in my hair. I cycle past the Widewater Lagoon nature reserve and on to the wannabe bohemian nesting ground of Shoreham-by-Sea for a cup of tea.
*Wilde's working title for The Importance of Being Earnest was Lady Lancing.
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