A North Laine walking tour: exercising the mind and body

On Friday evening, I organised a guided walk around the North Laine for members of Japan Club. I had appointed myself as guide, which led to lots of last minute fumbling through reference books for scraps of information.

In the early evening sunshine, 10 of us strolled around the quiet commercial and residential streets of the North Laine.

I tried to balance the walk with some guidance in Japanese and English while at the same time allowing the group to take an active part by share their own knowledge.

( Tom-san, is that because you don’t have enough knowledge yourself?)

“Er, yes maybe.”

After not guiding people in front of a bus, my most important job on the tour was explaining the different definitions of Laine and Lane. My determination to do this has been repeated readings of the brilliantly pedantic sign on Ju-Ju clothes shop.

In a sentence, the Laine means a field, and lane means a narrow road.

Apparently there were once 5 Laines in Brighton. Now we just have the North Laine.

We strolled around the the sun-soaked Pavilion Gardens, went up to Orange Row, the world’s first Body Shop on Kensington Gardens, Japan Town on Sydney Street and finished at the Kissing Coppers, Banksy’s famous artwork sprayed onto the outside of the Prince Albert pub.

Heading into Orange Row, Britain’s worst slum………..in the 1840’s

The mental benefits of walking are often more than the physical ones, especially when in a group. I felt great after it, perhaps because for once my mind was forced to focus on what I was doing, rather than fretting about what I should be doing.

Not being distracted by ever-present technology was also a nice change.

The walk has energised me enough to plan a few others. We are going to Devil’s Dyke on July 6th, , Lewes on and the Lanes on July 12th, and Lewes on July 19th.

Please join us if you can.

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