Sunday, 25 October 2015

Chicken tits!

The autumn leaves in the UK this year are quite unlike any I've previously seen. I think it may be due to the fact that we've not yet had any gales, so the leaves are shrivelling and changing colour on the trees rather than being blown away. We drove down to Brighton this morning, marvelling at the reds, golds and oranges lining the M25. Nature is certainly putting on a fine display for us!

We had a very quick lunch with Fiona. She was rushing off somewhere with David so we had a Pret sandwich sitting on a bench near The Laines, whilst a busker played a guitar (rather well as it happens.) He was, however, somewhat upstaged by a fella further up the road who was playing folk reels on a violin whilst standing on a tightrope! Only in Brighton.

Fiona reminded us of a little story she'd recently been told about an American friend of her's whose English girlfriend sent him off to a supermarket with a shopping list of things to buy. As a little flirtatious joke, at the bottom of the list, she added the word "cunnilingus." Now, the problem she didn't foresee was that the Americans don't actually use that particular word, so the poor bloke went from staff member to staff member asking them where he could find the cunnilingus. It was only after several people had shuffled away, red-faced and angry, that one of the shop staff identified the problem, asked the guy who'd written the shopping list and suggested his girlfriend might have been playing a little joke on him!

A similar thing happened to my ex partner (an MP) when, as a child, his Mum sent him to the local butcher to ask for some "chicken tits!"

Anyway, our main reason for being in Brighton was to see Meriel and help her to celebrate her birthday. It's become something of a tradition to go to the pier, play the Dolphin Derby, shove a few ha'pennies and have a quick spin on the waltzers.

Our plans were thwarted somewhat by a new "promotion" which was being tested today which effectively precludes going on just one ride. This new initiative means you have to buy a £15 wristband which enables limitless goes on the handful of rides at the end of the pier. The system is riddled with flaws... Most people stroll down to the end of the pier and think how nice it would be to spend a couple of quid on a single ride, largely for the experience of having that experience. It's not Alton Towers. The rides aren't fabulous. They're old school and a bit rough around the edges and one is often enough.

More worryingly, if a child is over about 4 foot tall, he or she is no longer classed as a child and is forced to pay full whack. We were with a nine-year old today who was "too tall" for a child's ticket, and, despite only being brave enough to go on a handful of rides was told that because she was "eligible" to ride them all, she had to be treated like an adult. Later on, my nine-year old godson, who had a child's ticket, was thrown out of the queue for the bumper cars because his ticket only allowed him access to rides in the "children's zone." When I asked where the children's zone was, I was told it was "all over." Apparently those buying a children's ticket are expected to memorise a list of the eight rides they're allowed to go on!

I was fairly staggered that nothing seemed to have been thought through by pier staff. That place will sink without trace if they don't have the foresight to offer discounts for families. A family with three kids going to the end of the pier with the sole intention of a three-minute spin on the waltzers would have to pay £75, which is insane. The organisers call it a promotion, but with nothing else being offered it becomes an ultimatum: £15 or go home!

Anyway, despite only really wanting to go on the waltzers, we decided to buy a limitless armband and vowed to get our money's worth by riding every single blessed ride (except the big scary one...) We even did the terrible ghost train, and got soaking wet on the log flume. After a couple of hours of being flung around and buffeted about on rickety rails, hydraulic lifts and undulating metal platforms, we decided, for a laugh, to accompany one of the kids on a baby ride, namely the spinning tea cups. It was the most innocuous, pedestrian-looking, tragic thing. That was until the ride's operator spotted adults and thought he'd spice things up, letting it run for at least five minutes, during which time he manually spun us at such high speeds I thought my eyes were going to burst. When we eventually stopped I couldn't even stand up. Memories of a night in Nerja came flooding back when I was so drunk I couldn't control my legs. I had motion sickness for the rest of the day. Defeated by a sodding tea cup!


All over the pier were adverts for a Hallowe'en event called "Fear on the Pier," the dress code for which was listed as "scary casual." What the f**k is scary casual? What if I wanted to dress as Dracula? That would be scary, but certainly not casual. What on earth would you get if you went to Angel's costumers and asked them to kit you out with something "scary casual?" Whoever's in charge of the pier plainly doesn't have their head screwed on effectively!


From Brighton we went to Lewes where the party continued with chilli and chatter at Uncle Bill and Rupert's house. It was also my godson, Will's birthday, so the candles on the birthday cake were blown out, relit, and blown out again as we all sang happy birthday with a new set of words.


Later in the evening Hilary and I pulled a piano apart to show Will the internal mechanisms, which would have been great fun had either of us been able to put it back together again!

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