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Monday, May 08, 2006

The artist John Constable claimed this to be "the grandest view in the world". But let's face it, he spent half his life painting wooden carts near Shotley Gate, so he probably had low standards. But this is where Lisa and I spent yesterday afternoon - the Devil's Dyke. Near Fulking. The signs to which have been noticeably defaced. Let's just say they no longer contain the letter L. But anyhoo, having visited the Devil's Dyke three times before - twice in the dark and once in thick fog - I'm finally able to say at the fourth attempt that the view is very nice. Apparently on a clear day you can see the Isle of Wight. Well you can if you don't follow Lisa's example and just lie there with your eyes shut for two hours.

Anyhoo, needless to say I'm back in Brighton, and the breaking news is that the flat next door to the one my brother's trying to buy has added window boxes to every sill, and planted pretty flowers, thereby brightening up the whole block. Which will make it all the more annoying when the sale falls through. So with that in mind, my mother came down on Saturday, and the three of us toured another five flats looking for a viable alternative. It would have been seven, but properties in Brighton are currently selling approximately five minutes after coming onto the market, so two appointments were cancelled within hours of being made.

But the five flats we saw were nice. If you're a midget with agoraphobia. If however you're of average size, with a dislike of living in a cupboard, and you'd quite like to be able to park your car within half a mile of your home, you might have one or two problems. But that said, we did see one flat we liked, of a reasonable size, and in a good location. It's just a shame the owners accepted someone else's offer about an hour before we got there.

So following an afternoon of hapless estate agents struggling to get keys to work, and trying to show ten people around a shoebox at the same time, Lisa and I retired to The Katarina at Brighton Marina, where we relaxed whilst watching a drunk attack the barman with a chair. Fortunately his girlfriend stepped in, and the chair which flew across the bar in my general direction, missed both me and the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire machine, so I didn't let it stop me ordering an ice cream dessert. The barman looked like he was about to burst into tears, but that might just have been a reaction to the amount of food I was ordering.

From there we made our way up onto the balcony opposite, where we watched the same drunk taking his revenge by attempting to steal all the patio furniture from outside the Beefeater. He was last seen walking off into the sunset with a table in one hand and a chair in the other. So at least he'd be welcome at a barbecue.

Sunday afternoon was far more relaxing though, admiring the views over the Sussex countryside, and trying to avoid being hit by a stunt kite. It was so nice, in fact, that Lisa suggested we buy a tent and never leave. Which if things continue the same way on the flat-buying front, might be our only option.