Well I'm back home, and strangely the number of job offers I've received off the back of my play's three night run in Suffolk can be counted on the fingers of the Venus de Milo. I blame the East Anglian Daily Times. They'd rather preview Snow White at the Ipswich Regent than attend a genuine theatrical event. Mind you, in addition to showbiz legends Sooty & Sweep, the Regent's line-up this year features "arguably the nation's favourite panto dame, Malcolm Lord". Interesting use of the word 'arguably' there. But I'm sure the critics will be praising the Lord come Christmas. It's just a shame I've never heard of him.
Anyhoo, Lisa and I have had a fun-filled couple of days. Sunday was spent playing Monopoly with my 7 year old niece, who managed to wipe the floor with both of us, before challenging us to a game of Junior Trivial Pursuit. The questions are apparently aimed at 8-12 year olds, and are multiple choice, so Lisa rolled the dice feeling supremely confident, and immediately got the question "What's the name of Barbie's little sister?". It was all downhill from there really.
On Monday we ventured into Chelmsford for the opening of a new Tesco Home Style store, which is like a supermarket but without the food. They were offering £100 to the first person through the door at 9am, but having slept in all morning and then made it as far as the Next changing rooms, I couldn't actually get Lisa to Tescos until five, by which time the champagne had gone flat and there was a queue to get out of the car park.
We were supposed to return to the south coast on Monday evening, but as it transpired it seemed far more sensible to eat all my Mum's food and then veg out in front of I'm a Celebrity with a lemon meringue pie, rather than make the journey home. So we stayed until Tuesday instead. At which point Lisa's sister successfully lured us back to Brighton with the offer of cake.
Tuesday was the first birthday of Lisa's third nephew. We'd gone through a complicated and exhaustive selection procedure when choosing his gift, which basically involved standing in the queue at Clinton Cards, spotting a cuddly lion, saying "That'll do", and handing over the cash. Which didn't seem that generous until we arrived at his party to discover that his only present had cost £1.99 from Oxfam, and had been purchased by his parents under the principle of "He's one; he won't know the difference".
On the plus side, the cake was very nice, and just goes to show that when a gateau says you should defrost it at room temperature for two hours, there's no reason why you can't stick it in the microwave for five minutes instead. There's nothing wrong with hot cream on frozen strawberries, and I didn't break too many teeth on the sponge.