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Monday, February 07, 2005

If there's one thing I've learnt this weekend it's that having children leaves no time for blogging. It barely leaves time for sleeping. Well not when you have Lisa's five year old nephew jumping up and down on the bed at 8am, and his one year old brother sticking a fire engine in your ear.

But anyway, I drove down to Brighton on Friday afternoon in time for an intensive bingo session with Lisa and her mother. After my last experience of bingo drove me to the brink of tranquiliser dependency, we planned to get there earlier to allow time for deep breathing exercises and a thorough read-through of the exam papers. Sorry, I mean bingo cards.

It started well when we arrived in good time, only to find the car park was full, forcing us to park across some pretty yellow writing on the road which read 'Keep Clear'. I decided that if we parked on top of it, no one would know it was there. We then made our way inside, where we were abused by the receptionist, who clearly wasn't happy that we didn't have a degree in bingo procedure and had the nerve to ask her what to do. We considered complaining, but the manager's name turned out to be Mr Manyweathers, and frankly we couldn't have kept a straight face.

We then moved on to the bloke at the ticket desk, who struggled to grasp the concept of three people standing in front of him and Lisa asking for "three please". He proceeded to tell us there were six rounds of bingo that evening, not three, and gave us enough cards for one person. So that went well. This is what happens when you have low unemployment. We need another recession if you ask me. Or possibly a war. With Mr Manyweathers in the front line.

Anyhoo, the evening's entertainment soon started, which was the point where Lisa and I discovered that our pens didn't work. Cue much panic, stress, swearing (on Lisa's part), and numerous cries of "I can't wait for the interval". Needless to say we didn't win anything. At half-time I bought us three bingo pens (£1 each - bargain) (not extortionate at all), which allowed Lisa to spend the second half squirting purple ink all over her bingo card, while her Mum managed to accidentally play two games on the same card and still not win.

So for the second time in two months we got highly stressed and came away significantly poorer than when we went in. And the strange thing is, we're considering going back for a third time.

So that was Friday. (Ever get the feeling this could be a long blog post?)

On Saturday Lisa's nephews arrived. Their parents are currently moving house, so we'd agreed to take the little darlings for the weekend, to avoid them being trodden on by removal men. Personally I thought it was a risk - never take possesion of other people's children without a forwarding address, it's asking for trouble. I wasn't expecting to hear from Lisa's sister again til we got the postcard from Honolulu. As it transpired, however, they did turn up to collect their offspring on Sunday. The fools.

I spent Saturday shooting Nephew Number One with big guns, throwing steel girders at him, and hitting him over the head with an axe. Unfortunately he's better at Playstation than I am, so I don't think I won anything. He also had the nerve to blow me up with a grenade and then make comments about the state of my body parts which were strewn across the floor. Honestly, some people are so insensitive.

But on the bright side, he did ask me how old I am, and when I said 31, he replied "I thought you were about 15". I told him I do look about 15, but I'm just naturally youthful.

Having put the kids to bed, Lisa and I took part in The Great British Memory Test on ITV. We bet a pound on it, but I can't remember who won.

On Sunday we left Nephew Number Two in the capable (if slightly stressed) hands of Lisa's mother, and took his older brother to the theatre to see a stage version of Roald Dahl's 'The Witches'. We drove along the seafront to get there, and with much excitement spotted Phill Jupitus, big-boned comedian, and star of 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks', waiting at a pelican crosing with his wife. I drove within two feet of the man, which makes it even more of a close encounter than I had with Chris Eubank two weeks ago. Brighton is just choc-full of celebrities. Which is probably why I fit in so well.

At the theatre I was inwardly congratulating myself on getting a seat just outside of the 'restricted view' zone, from where I could see the whole stage, whereupon Nephew Number One decided he'd like to sit on my knee throughout the entire performance, leaving me with an unrestricted view of the back of his head. We'd been told that children under 7 might find 'The Witches' too scary. As it turned out, he was far more concerned about the possibility of toppling over the balcony, than being boiled by a witch.

Having learnt that Roald is actually pronounced Roo-ahl, we made our way home for another death-match or two, before the boys were (surprisingly) collected on time. Nephew Number One immediately asked his mother if I could move in with them. She said no. He said "pleeeease" in a whiny voice. Astonishingly, she still said no. Honestly, some people are so ungrateful. I looked after their offspring for 24 hours - the least they could do is let me move into their house.