From this lookout, you’ll see three jewellery shops. Three! A slightly terrifying upmarket looking one, with antique gold and unusual vintage and collectors’ pieces in the window; a somewhat less terrifying one, which is promising ‘gold purchase’ for those who are in the extremes of hard times or flush with unwanted inheritance pieces; and an upbeat modern European one, full of Italian branded smart design and not too proud to offer silver alongside the platinum and palladium. All the stores along here seem to be independents and not chains: knit and craft; hot tubs; cocktail-making; a proper greengrocer, where you can buy purple radicchio.
We notice that we’re on the Steyne and not the Steine and wonder idly about spelling wars and standardisation.
The impressive church on the corner is ‘under offer’, perhaps soon to be another craft or upcycling centre. I remember buying my Christmas cards from here just – was it? – four years ago. The pace of change is hard to grasp.Our avo and scrambled eggs arrive, with ginger-turmeric shot and small batch coffee on the side. We could be in the other place – but the whole beauty of it is that we’re not. The price, the staff’s unpretentious friendliness and the leisured pace of the customers here are all attesting to that. So too does the lack of a gale force wind, which notoriously blows through all our memories of the seafront at the other place, with its alternatively spelt Steine.
Several of the regulars here look like they’ve had or are still having (despite evident battering down the years) interesting lives. Grabbing a couple of them for the mandatory question (Is Worthing the new Brighton?) results in a strong response: Worthing, it seems, is most energetically not going to be the new Brighton. Ever.
And happily so.