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Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's Lisa's birthday tomorrow, and I still haven't got her a present. It's not that I haven't thought about it, it's just that I've had a lot of important work to do. Mainly involving a high-level international project called Babala, which is Czech for 'free game you can download and use to procrastinate when you should be out gift-shopping'. I may be empty-handed come birthday morning, but I'm already up to level 39, so three more and I get to keep Mark King.

Personally I blame Lisa's mother. If she hadn't got over-excited at the horse racing thirty-seven years ago, and given birth two months early, Lisa wouldn't have been born on a bank holiday weekend, and I'd be able to book a hotel for her birthday. But no. Despite trawling for two hours yesterday morning, the best I could come up with was £4 off a ticket to Brighton Sea Life Centre. Which right now looks tempting.

Then of course there's Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack, as featured on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. I peered through the window of their new premises on Tuesday (it's down an alley next to Brighton Town Hall), and decided it would be the perfect place for a birthday meal. Unfortunately, having been condemned by the country's leading chef on national television, Momma Cherri's is naturally booked up solid for the next eight weekends in a row. There's clearly no such thing as bad publicity.

I stole this photo.So instead I resorted to roaming the Undercliff Walk in search of inspiration. It was closed in 2001 due to large chunks of cliff dropping off and landing on passers-by, but after tireless work by men with big hands (which apparently won an award from the Institute of Civil Engineers), the cliff has been declared safe again, and the walkway reopened in honour of my arrival in Brighton. According to, fossils of very old hippos have been found there, so it seemed like the perfect place to think of Lisa, but despite walking up and down for an hour, the only flash of inspiration to hove into view was the sight of the drive-thru McDonalds at the Marina. I think I'll buy her a double cheeseburger and leave it at that.