Well they didn't bring us marmalade.
They brought us Apple & Rosehip Jelly, made with ingredients from a pub beer garden and some bushes in Croydon. But it could have been worse - apparently they were right out of the stinging nettle jam.
Anyhoo, our meeting with the Chief Executives of J&M Preserves went well yesterday. Lisa had informed me that in order to get to Brighton station we needed to catch either a number 7 or a number 37 bus, and that nothing else would do. So having waited at the bus stop for five minutes, we got on a 54. We weren't too late.
We arrived at the station to find James in a Photo-Me booth and Marie in a winter coat, and successfully packed them onto a bus to the Ha Ha Bar - a five minute walk away, but a lifetime if you're wearing Lisa's shoes. Not that I was. But she was, so frankly walking was out of the question.
At the Ha Ha Bar (I'm laughing already) we bagged a cosy red booth, and ordered fish, meat and beans. Three of us went for 'skinny chips' and one for fat. The fat one being Melee (I only mention that for documentary purposes). But my "hand-ground burger" (I was expecting to find finger nails in it) was very nice, although James had finished his entire meal by the time I'd cut it in half.
Having eaten, we settled down to discuss important world issues such as Carol Smillie's personal habits, Anne Robinson's diction, and the possibility of dislocating your hips during childbirth. We also learnt that James's ear is producing enough wax to build the entire Vicar of Dibley display at Madame Tussauds, and still have enough left over for Fern Britten. More worrying was the discovery that he and Lisa share a deep and unrequited love for Ralph Fiennes. But still, it's nice to meet a man who's not afraid of that side of his sexuality.
After an hour and a half of looking at our empty plates, the waiter eventually turned up to clear them away, James giving him a helping hand by sweeping my crispy onions out onto the main concourse. I then ordered the star dessert, which apparently had been created by one of their chefs, and was an award-winning gastronomic delight. It was intriguingly entitled 'Hot Jam Sandwich', so my expectations were high. It turned out to be two slices of bread with a thin layer of jam in between, fried in butter. It tasted like a strawberry omelette, and cost £3.95. So I ate Lisa's pavlova instead.
Pigging-out done, there was just time for James to talk about micropenises (I think it was a cry for help), before we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways - Lisa and I to the bus stop, Marie and James to the Royal Pavilion Gift Shop to buy a snow globe. They phoned an hour later to point out that we'd never actually told them how to get to the Corn Exchange, and they were in danger of missing John Hegley. Yeah, like we'd know where the Corn Exchange is. We can't even get on the right bus.
Anyhoo, socialising over, I left Brighton behind at 8pm, and arrived back in Shotley Gate at 12:30am. I'm sure it shouldn't take me four and a half hours. I think it was being charged 65p for a packet of crisps at the service station that did it. I was too shocked to drive. But I did manage to finish all Lisa's After Eight Mints on the way. I knew I should've left at 7pm.