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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sunday in Brighton was warm, still and sunny. Monday, in contrast, was grey, cold and drizzly. So guess which day I chose to throw a surprise picnic for Lisa (that's if it's possible to throw a picnic, surprise or otherwise)? Let's just say it wasn't Sunday. But the good thing about buying picnic supplies from Asda in the pouring rain is that there's no competition for the sausage rolls. It might also explain why they'd reduced their 20-piece plastic picnic sets to just £2.43, which is a bargain in anyone's book. I spent more than that on the scotch eggs. Well ok, I didn't. But I wanted to.

Anyhoo, I spent the morning loading up on supplies whilst simultaneously praying for sunshine, and eventually came away from Asda at 11:45am with enough food to hold a buffet for ten, and the most important component of any picnic - lashings of ginger beer. Which I don't actually like. But I like the idea of it. Along with potted meat and hard boiled eggs. Which I didn't buy. I was, however, tempted to knock on the door of a nearby farm, and ask the farmer's wife for some milk. But in the end I thought of Fred Barras, and decided against it.

Fortunately, by the time I met Lisa from work at midday, the rain had stopped, and I'm sure the biting north wind had died down a little. Or maybe my face was just numb by that point. I could tell Lisa was both surprised and bitterly disappointed not to be heading to the pub for her lunch hour, but I didn't let that put me off, and besides, she hadn't seen the ginger beer at that point.I didn't take this photo.
So I confidently drove her to the pitch & putt course overlooking Roedean Girl's School, which always reminds me of Mallory Towers. What better place for a picnic (if you ignore the threat posed by flying golf balls).

I'm pretty sure Lisa's excitement was growing as I took out a load of napkins and started sweeping the large pools of water off the bench at the top of the hill, but just to be sure, I pointed out that the seat bore a plaque dedicating it to a dead pensioner who used to sit there. It was the icing on an already perfect cake.

So we spent an enjoyable 45 minutes looking at the view and eating sausages with our coats on, whilst wondering what the driver of a nearby coach was doing wandering about in the bushes. It took me approximately half that time to get into a packet of goat's cheese with a blunt plastic knife, and open a bottle of low-alcohol wine with a 47p Smart-Price corkscrew, but I successfully distracted Lisa with a Cadbury's Flake dessert, so I don't think she really noticed.

A close encounter with a grass-cutting tractor later, and I brushed the flies from the goat's cheese, picked a beetle out of my wine, and returned Lisa to work, another romantic surprise successfully accomplished. Although next time I think we'll just go to the pub.