Sunday, 21 October 2012

Dolphin Derby

We're traveling back from East Sussex, stuck in another traffic jam somewhere on the M25.

We've been in Brighton all day, attending the final instalment of Meriel's 40th birthday celebrations. 

We hit the pier with Raily, Uncle Bill, godson Will, Nathan and Meriel, and were joined briefly by Fiona and Paul, who's back over from the States. 

We went on the merry-go-round, the Crazy Mouse and a bizarre flight simulator which took us on a roller coaster ride to the centre of an alien earth. Will, who has a wonderfully active imagination, loved this particular ride, but was scared stiff by Crazy Mouse. I wasn't entirely surprised; it looks innocuous enough, but the tracks are covered in brown rust and I'm sure, one of these days one of the little carriages is going to hurtle off the end of the pier into the English  Channel. As we zipped up and down and round and round, and I laughed hysterically, I thought what a crazy way it would be to die! Raily told me that she'd once had exactly the same thoughts on the very same ride. 

We played the Dolphin Derby, which involves 15 people sitting in a line, throwing balls into a series of coloured holes, which trigger a set of giant plastic dolphins, who race over a series of 2 dimensional waves. I'm sure I've made it sound absolutely pointless, but it's a Brighton familiar and I've played the game every time I've visited Brighton Pier since 1994. It's always open. Daytime, night time. Rain or shine. In all these years, I've never ever won, but am proud to say that Paul and Raily won the races we played today. I managed to come last. That's right. Last. Twice. I'm hugely competitive, but am forced to take great comfort from the fact that gays simply can't throw. 

We went from the pier to Fiona's flat in Hove, where there was tea and apple cake. Whilst Fiona and I looked through books of old photographs, Paul, and then Nathan fell asleep. It's a perfect thing to do on a Sunday afternoon and as we journey home, and the motorway lights flash with the rhythmic bounce of tar-macadam, I feel my eyes beginning to close...

350 years ago, and London was somewhat restless. The City gates were  locked and guarded every evening. Pepys wasn't sure why the extra security measures had been brought in, but they made him feel uneasy. 

Dunkirk  had been sold to the French. I write this a pro pros nothing .

Pepys went to see The Villain by Thomas Porter, breaking all vows not to drink, watch plays or do anything which kept him from his business. The play had been cried up enormously across the capital in recent days, and Pepys felt powerless to do anything but go and see what the fuss was all about. Probably because his expectations were so high, he didn't end up enjoying the experience a great deal. There was some good dancing. A few good songs. But that was about it. On his way back to the office after the play, he put money in a poor box. That'll do it. 

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