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Friday, March 10, 2006

Trophy NieceBefore going any further, I'd just like to publicly congratulate my niece on winning this fine trophy for her achievements at the Southend-on-Sea Swimming Club Gala, where she battled her way to 6th place in not one, but two different events. And all this a month before her seventh birthday. The girl's a prodigy.

Obviously I can't tell you how many people were in each race, for legal reasons, but suffice it to say it was more than five.

And less than seven.

But hey, she didn't just come last once, she came last twice. AND she got a trophy for it. Which in my book is a major achievement. So congratulations M, I'm proud of you.

But anyway, whilst my niece has been sinking in a swimming pool, I've been trying to keep my head above water amidst a sea of cardboard boxes and bin bags. There are now more empty shelves in my flat than in the flour section of Asda last time Lisa and I tried to buy batter mix on pancake day. But as we speak, I've left all that behind me, and am currently back in Brighton. In fact, I've been here since Wednesday. Anyone would think I was keeping secrets from this blog.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to pay a visit to my flat-to-be, to measure the height of the ceilings and find out just how high I can stack junk when I move in, but right now I'm in the lovely seaside town of Portslade, where [fanfare please] I've unexpectedly been reunited with the foul feline fiends that are... Timmy & Oscar. Last time Lisa and I did some cat-sitting, I said it would be the last time. In fact I stood there in my wee-covered shoes, clearing up cat-sick with a dead bird in one hand, and swore it would be the last time.

But here we are again. To be honest, it's an act of mercy. Lorraine has been going through a financial crisis lately, and two weeks ago reached the point where her business had no money coming in, and no obvious way to pay the bills. So she reacted as only a self-employed businesswoman can: she immediately booked a two-week cruise in the Mediterranean. Her reasoning being that with her business going down the tubes, this could be the last time she gets to sail the world. Which sums the woman up nicely. When faced with a sink or swim situation, Lorraine packs her bikini.

So once again Lisa and I have stepped into the breach at short notice. The place has changed quite a bit since we were last here - there's now a burn mark on the living room carpet where Lorraine left the iron on the floor, and half the food in the fridge is Japanese. Which is what happens when she lets out a room to a foreign student. Normally there's no food in the fridge.

One thing however remains constant. We arrived at 9pm on Wednesday night to find a pool of cat wee on the kitchen work surface, muddy paw-prints all over the dining table, and a load of sick on three of the conservatory chairs. Fortunately Lisa volunteered to clean up the latter. Until she actually saw it. At which point she decided she'd rather help by watching The Apprentice on BBC2.

Anyhoo, we've settled in nicely, and I've got used to the smell now. I do however need to go shopping, as I've just finished a toilet roll, only to find there are no more in the house. Lorraine's cash crisis is clearly worse than I thought.