Last week we experienced some of Brighton’s usual wintertime gales and lashing rain. When I finally ventured out of the house again after days of bad weather, I saw that the local news headline on all the pavement signs outside the shops was "Another blow for West Pier". Another blow, I thought? What more could possibly happen to the poor thing?
I didn’t get the chance to find out until today. I strolled down to the seafront, half-expecting to see that the entire skeleton of the pier had been completely washed away by the storms. Relief flooded me when I saw that that was not, in fact, the case (I don’t really know why I was relieved, because the grand old lady has become something of an eyesore lately - I guess I’m just used to seeing it there, and it would be a shock if it were to disappear entirely all of a sudden). In fact, there were no immediately apparent physical changes to the pier at all, which led me to believe that maybe the "blow" they were talking about had something to do with funding or the restoration plans.
After staring at the pier for a minute, though, I realized what had happened. The last bit of the pier that had remained intact - a tiny little kiosk which somehow managed to survive the destruction of its surroundings - was finally gone. It turns out that a huge wave crashed into it on Friday, weakening the frame it stood on. Then sometime between Friday and Saturday, the whole thing was swept away for good.
Poor little kiosk. Nobody had the money or resources to save it, apparently, and now that last tiny flicker of life from the West Pier has been extinguished. Jeremy jokingly said that maybe the kiosk has gone off on an adventure. I like to think that it saw which way the wind was blowing (ha ha) and went off to start its own pier somewhere else. Or maybe it’s just joined the rest of the wreckage off Brighton beach, rusting away under the water or crusting over with barnacles to become a man-made reef. Whatever the case, I’ll miss seeing the jaunty little thing.