During the early part of everybody's lives, they have to go through family-related dutiful rigmaroles, such as attending Great Aunt Sneezebucket's 170th birthday party, making Cousin George put his trousers back on, and pretending that Granny Mavis is a really good storyteller, not some dribbling wreck with a moustache who always calls you Susan and who smells like weewee.
But us kiddies soldier on, because we know that at the end of the day, we can get back to the Disney channel, and the duties are over for another year and we can spend that £5 they gave us on chocolates, not put it in our Post Office accounts or War Bonds like they told us to.
As it happens, I have far fewer of these duties to perform, because either all the Great Aunts were childless, died before I landed on the planet, or were only-children. So really, now that Nanna and Grandma have gone, all I have left is Grandad and Obscure Cousin Margaret, and I actually like them so it's not a duty.
In this case, we were booked to see Obscure Cousin Margaret when Grandad rang to say I haven't seen her in a while, can I have a lift, then I'll buy lunch and you can get both of us out of the way at the same time. Now you're talking ...
So Grandad arrived and we piled into our bigger car and got stuck in traffic outside Chichester which is practically part of the contract. And at Obscure Cousin Margaret's house, she gave me a £5 note for being me and we drove off to Brighton. We passed the derelict house which got burnt in the Shoreham Air Show crash. Plus, when geography was being handed out, Brighton got all the hills designated for Portsmouth.
Now, I have been to Brighton before and we did the Brighton Pavilion which is a testament to show-off opulence if you let the Prince Regent play with his own money. But it was raining and windy and cold and tedious but this time it was sunny and hot. But the problem was, the traffic. As soon as we got off the A27, the jams started. As we inched along in 1st gear, we saw the signs for the Park & Ride and thought, that might not be such a bad idea and pulled off to the Withdean Stadium, where the car park was so full we had to park in the Sportsman's Pub car park and it said patrons only so we had an early lunch there, surrounded by wasps.
Although there was a carvery I had macaroni and the guy didn't say I could get my vegetables from the carvery, he just gave me my bowl of pasta so I had a sulk which fortunately I got out of before I did too much damage. Then there was ice cream and chocolate buttons so I was happy again.
Deciding to drive into Brighton anyway because the Park & Ride was so expensive, we parked on a side street for £6 and only had 2 hours so walked to the seafront. Our destination was the doughnut on a pole which is really called the British Airways i360 and is sort of like the London Eye in that it is a pricey tourist attraction with a silly name that lets you briefly go up high for a good view.
You queue up for the tickets, then you go through passport control, where the big bloke searches you for guns and bombs, then you sit in the departure lounge until your flight boards and you get in the doughnut with the mirror on its bottie and it trundles up the big pole for 20 minutes or something and you look at all the topless girls on the beach from above and I cannot understate how big this thing is. We have the Spinnaker Tower and it's large. This goes up 450 feet and it's only been open for 2 weeks.
While we were in the ticket queue, one of the flight attendants said that the next available flight was in an hour and a half. This was past our parking ticket time so we said Poldarks to this, we'll book online at a later date.
On Brighton Pier, there was a sign close to my heart which said We are a Pokestop, with free lures on Thursdays. Actually, it was 4 Pokestops, so I wandered the pier happily Poking madly and avoiding the numerous mad beggars with the staring eyes and tattoos and dogs, and the eye tattoos and staring dogs. Quite a lot of people live in tents under the pier. Many tacky tourist shops lurk around corners, smelling of vinegar and candy floss. Eateries abound, but having lunch in a sports centre was probably a good idea. Do not take your car, although trains no longer exist, probably better to own a town-house in Brunswick Square and walk.
But then our car ran out so we took the coast road back. Shoreham looks good for a visit, Hove looks expensive, but the whole thing took over an hour so if the trains weren't on permanent strike, that'd be the way to go. When we finally got home at 7, Jof was so happy to see me she didn't go to the gym. Today I have been Blogging for 6 years.