Endless Summer Gatherings

Dyke road park is mainly seen from the road and looks like a collection of tennis courts, formal gardens and a kids playground, they all hide the field at the back. There’s nothing particularly exciting about the field, it is similar to other parks in Brighton, but it offers a brilliant view of the sea from its position perched high on the hill. It feels a world away from the traffic and busy road that sits meters away. And frequently it provided a quiet spot when the city filled up with holiday makers at the height of summer. No matter where I’ve lived in Brighton this park was my local park.

On the edge of the field is a little cluster of trees that have offered shade for endless gatherings. They are a popular spot, with little groups of humans all occupying a little circle of shade. This spot gets the sun the longest, drawing out the daylight to the very last moments before it goes down behind the large trees on the far edge of the park. When I first met my partner we spent a summer under those trees eating picnic food and drinking cheap fizzy wine. When we moved a little closer, it became our garden, the outdoor space that our flat did not provide. During the Covid lockdown it was a place we’d go to distract ourselves, trying, with very little knowledge, to identify the birds. There were so many species, sharing the city, that we’d previously failed to notice. It was the venue of choice for surprise birthday parties on late summer days. And when our time in Brighton was coming to an end it was the place we chose to say goodbye to our friends.

Emily, 2022