I went for a stroll this morning along the seafront to the West Breakwater, in an attempt to take advantage of the fact that it was a still day, and therefore possible to walk to the end without drowning. I was already slightly unsettled, because I'd popped into the bank en route to pay in a cheque given to me by Lisa for services rendered, only to discover that Lloyds TSB were training up a woman with Parkinson's Disease. Obviously I'm not medically qualified (although I have a lot of experience as a hypochondriac), so I can't say for certain it was Parkinsons, but the woman clearly had no control over her hands, and looked like Michael J Fox on a wobble board. Which made it difficult for her to initial my cheque without looking like she was conducting an orchestra with her pen. I'm all for equal opportunities, but when it takes you a good thirty seconds and a hell of a lot of concentration just to hit the right button on your keypad, I do begin to wonder if you wouldn't just be better off claiming disability benefits. Not that I'd ever do that.
But anyhoo, cheque paid in, I made my way down to the seafront and along to Black Rock. In 2009 it's due to look like this...
... when the Brighton International Arena opens, featuring "two ice rinks, an 11,000-seat concert hall, a 100-seat cinema, flats, a museum, recording and dance studios, bars, shops and restaurants" (I should point out that I'm quoting from the Brighton Argus there, so when it occurs to you to wonder just how small a 100-seat cinema would be, don't come running to me - they're not my figures), but at the moment it's just a patch of waste ground which allows me to cross from Madeira Drive to the West Breakwater.
Or at least it was when I was last down there a week ago. It now seems to be a festive travellers' site. Twelve caravans have moved in, complete with Christmas lights, meaning that to get to the breakwater, I either had to walk a long way round via the main road, or cut a path through the middle of an illegal camp, past small children running around in their pyjamas, and a couple of unleashed dogs. Needless to say I went for the latter - I'm not going the long way round for anyone. I was glared at by a woman with a bucket of water, and almost hit by a tricycle, but apart from that I got through unscathed. I did notice that one of the vans had a German numberplate, so I suppose I should be grateful they're not claiming asylum.
Right, so that's travellers, asylum seekers and the disabled covered. Let's move on to ethnic minorities. I had a phone call from my sister yesterday. She'd just finished climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge in a space suit, and was ringing mainly to give me her views on Aborigines. I'd pass them on, but I think you can be arrested for saying things like that in public, and I'm not entirely sure she wasn't winding me up. To be honest, she hasn't yet convinced me that quokkas exist, so I'm not about to accept her top ten facts about Aborigines.