The statue marks the shared boundary of Brighton and Hove. Its importance for me is that my maternal grandfather – who had had one leg amputated after a fall from a roof when working – just about managed to get enough to live from a shoe-cleaning service he provided at the north-western side of the wall, by what was, at that time, the sunken garden.
Fun to see him ‘at work’
To visit him ‘at work’ was always fun. He had a metal stand on which customers positioned the foot that was currently the focus on my grandfather’s attention. This was emblazoned with a large metal Cherry Blossom logo and it housed a prized collection of brushes, dusters, polishes and creams.
Marvellous mix of aromas
The regular customers always chatted to me and there was a marvellous mingling of smells of well-looked-after leather, and the scents from the flowers in the adjacent garden. The days of Brighton Racecourse meetings were always the best for business, when a host of bookies and larger-than-life characters would come to ensure they looked their best, especially if they had female company.
When I was a little older, the nearby beach opposite Brunswick Square was to be my favourite; it always seemed to attract a host of eccentric characters from the immediate area.