Saturday, and I didn't have to get up early because my Foreign Student opted to miss breakfast and stay in bed. Since I started taking in students, I have discovered that almost the best thing you can offer them is a lie-in at weekends. They (the young ones mostly) just love the idea of not having to get up and make conversation. I can't say I blame them. This student is 21, and a german-speaking Swiss. He doesn't have a german accent at all; if anything his accent is slightly American and his spoken english is very good. He is very small and dark, and looks the way you imagine a Hobbit would look, apart from the furry feet of course. (Though who knows what his feet are like!) He also has dark rings under his eyes, and seems to be permanently tired. Even when I call him for dinner, I often have to really shout because he is asleep! We were talking this evening about the Health Service, don't ask me why, and he said that there is no "Welfare State" in Switzerland. Everyone has to pay to go to the Doctor, or to the Hospital, and he pays about £250 every three months for his Health Insurance! That sounds very pricey to me, as I'm sure that if any 21 year old wanted Private Health Insurance here it wouldn't be more than about £15 a month. It seems that we are pretty lucky here, after all. Apart from worries about MRS, the Winter Vomiting Virus, and the thought of Bird Flu hanging over our heads, we do at least have (relatively) free Health Care.
Today we had a break from the strong winds and driving rain of the last week. It was a glorious day, of the sort we are often lucky enough to have here. Blue sky, sunshine and very little wind. I had to walk to the Post Office to post a recorded delivery letter, but then cut down to the sea and made for my favourite Beach Cafe. I was just in time to catch Daughter and Grandson, and have a quick kick about with him before they had to go home for lunch. Grandson was on good form, dribbling the ball with his usual skill, and only hampered by the fact that the little scrap he was playing with kept picking up the ball and running away with it. It seems to me that my Grandson is about the only three-year-old I've seen who actually knows what to do with a football. He dribbles and kicks it. I have told Daughter that I believe it's a natural talent, because he doesn't need to practise, he just does it, and has done since he was two. Anyway, I've already bought him his first pair of football boots, silver ones which we spotted in a sale last week. I can't wait to see him in action on a football pitch, and preferably playing for the Spurs - though I may have to wait a few years, I guess.
After they had gone, I sat in the sun outside the cafe and had my usual cheese on toast and a cup of tea. It was really warm, almost too bright, with the sun beating a silver path to the horizon. There is always someone to talk to at the cafe, even complete strangers seem to be ready for a chat. That's one of the great things about Brighton - you never need to feel lonely or alone, unless you want to.
I walked back along the seafront, feeling light of heart - and realized that all my anxiety of the past year has just melted away. It's such a good feeling. I strolled up Adelaide Crescent and into Palmeira Square, enjoying the sun and the view, looking back at the sea from time to time. And I thought to myself, it's not the world that changes, but how we feel about it. Simple really..