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Friday, August 27, 2004

I haven't been near the internet for over 48 hours, which I believe is a 2004 record, and has only been bettered this century by my week in the Isles of Scilly last summer, where they're startled by the sound of a text message and still refer to cars as 'iron horses' (probably). This time however, my web-seperation is more due to a lack of inclination to get out of bed and turn on the computer. Oh, and my extreme dedication to the joyful celebration of Lisa's birthday. ("Web-seperation, lack of inclination, extreme dedication to the joyful celebration"... is it just me or is this blog turning into a rap?)

Anyhoo, the riches came a-rollin' in on Wednesday afternoon when I put a £2 bet on a greyhound race, correctly predicted the first two home, and won £39.70. I celebrated by letting Lisa's mother buy me lunch, and a good time was had by all.

Lisa and I then popped over to Hove (the bath chair capital of Europe, I'm told. Or possibly I just made that up) for a birthday meal at 'Leonardo's' (who's famous for being one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Sadly we chose to make our way there via an official Brighton & Hove taxi, driven by a lovely lady who clearly had never visited Brighton before. Fortunately she's now seen a lot more of the place, having driven us to entirely the wrong road on the wrong side of town, before asking us for directions, looking blank, then driving along at 40mph with a map in front of her face. She then graciously tried to avoid knocking anything off the bill for her mistake, by claiming poverty and stating that "it's my petrol money". Lisa, who's hard as nails, was clearly having none of it, and handed the woman a ten pound note for the £12.70 charge, saying "I don't care if your children do starve".*

*Not strictly true.

The meal was shared with three friends and a sister (the family kind, not a nun), I was relieved I didn't order a Hawaiian pizza, and we all discovered just what a good idea it is to secretly arrange for the management to play Happy Birthday at full volume over the restaurant loudspeakers. I think Lisa's developing quite a taste for the Bach Rescue Remedy.

We returned home to the joyful news that we hadn't won the lottery. Thanks a bunch, Mystic Smeg.

Thursday... where did Thursday go? I don't think there was one this week.

But I left Brighton this morning, choosing in my infinite wisdom to drive home on the Friday immediately preceding an August bank holiday. But hey, four hours on the motorway in the pouring rain never killed anyone.*

*Not strictly true.

I've returned home to the following:

1. An e-mail informing me of an almighty travesty. Yes, it's true - I've failed once again to win the Writers Weekly 24-Hour Short Story Contest. Reading the winning entry, I can see where I went wrong: I failed to put in enough references to wombats. I also fell into the trap of giving the judges what they asked for ("if you love us, make us laugh"), instead of following the example of the three major prize winners by ensuring my story was devoid of any humour whatsoever. Fortunately though, the judges saw fit to add insult to injury by leaving me off the 'honourable mentions' list, and instead awarding me a random 'grab bag' prize for managing to successfully write my name at the top of the piece of paper. Thanks guys. And thanks too for helping with my weightloss efforts by awarding third place to a story which makes me want to throw up.

Not that I'm bitter, obviously.

2. A postcard from the lovely Melee, addressed to "MR PHIL GARDNER & EVIL CHLOE", with 'proof' (and I use the word loosely) that Persian cats are alien beings sent to Earth to spy on us. For which da Melee deserves to have an embarrassing photo of herself aged 15 posted here.

3. Earth-shattering local news...

I love you Julie

Yes, the lovely Julie Reinger (or Jules, as dedicated fans such as myself like to call her), who does a lot of good work for charity but doesn't like to talk about it (apart from having posters printed), is putting in an appearance just outside Ipswich in two weeks time. Sadly I'll be in Brighton that weekend, but as luck would have it, I'm a close personal friend of the minister of Capel St Mary Methodist Church. I can't name him here for legal reasons, but there's enough of a bond between us for me to be confident of a signed photo (of Julie, not the minister of Capel Methodist Church) in 15 days time. With a bit of luck he may be able to pass on my website address too, so she'll probably turn up here in a couple of weeks time and start posting comments. Ryan O'Really will be thrilled.