It's me and Lisa at Newhaven Fort!
But not just me and Lisa. That blob at the bottom which looks like someone doing a shadow puppet of the top of a Fairy Liquid bottle, is, in fact, my mother taking the photo.
Newhaven Fort may be closed to the public from November til March, but fortunately for anyone hoping to get a job there in January, it opened today for five hours to play host to a Christmas Fair. So the three of us took our chance to visit - me so that having sat in a job interview for half an hour claiming that history is my life, I'm not caught out by the question "Have you ever been to Newhaven Fort?"; my Mum in the hope of collaring the fort manager and demanding he gives her son a job; and Lisa because having walked around Hadleigh Castle in her heels two months ago, it seemed about time she trekked through the mud in unsuitable footwear at an historic location again.
Anyhoo, Newhaven Fort turned out to be very nice. I particularly liked the way they waived the £5.50 entrance fee for the day. But as if that wasn't enough, they'd brought over a group of market traders from Dieppe and stuck them in a Nissen Hut for three hours with a few trestle-tables and some price tags in Euros. It was like the Dieppe Raid in reverse. That's if they really were from Dieppe. Having passed on the chance to buy some Chili Jam, and headed instead to the Honey Stall where I bought a jar of finest French honey for my Mum, plus some Honey & Propolis Sweets (which according to some sources can cure cancer), the stall-holder placed my purchases in a carrier bag which said "Les Marches de Saint Germain en Laye". Now, I'm proud to say I achieved grade B in GCSE French, so I happen to know that 'Les Marches' means 'the markets' (it's knowledge like that which got me through the oral), but a quick search on Google reveals that Saint Germain En Laye is near Paris. And nowhere near Dieppe. So frankly they were all conmen and charlatans. But the sweets are very nice.
Back outside, we spent an hour climbing the fort ramparts, touring the gun emplacements, and wiping the mud off Lisa's heels with a tissue, before stumbling across the Worthing and District Amateur Radio Club holed up in a munitions store. Having almost lost Lisa down a cliff for the second time in my life, we made our way back to the relative safety of the indoor exhibits, and took part in 'The Blitz Experience', which basically involved being shut in a cupboard for ten minutes while someone flickered the lights and played a recording of Bill Pertwee through the door.
It was all very interesting though, and well worth the price of admission (see above). Especially as it included a performance by the Newhaven Youth Marching Band, who were very good (if you like hearing 'Phantom of the Opera' on the xylophone). Although half of them did look like they were on anti-depressants. My Mum said they'd probably just been told to look serious, but frankly there's serious, and there's suicidal, and one or two of them had crossed the line.
Anyhoo, the good news is that 24 hours on from the closing date for the Fort Custodian job, a visit to my potential employers has only reinforced my desire to work there. And I saw a fair few crisp packets on the floor which wouldn't be there on my watch, let me tell you. In addition Lisa spent £2.99 on a visitor's guide so that I can impress them with my knowledge, so I'd better get an interview after all this, or she'll be asking for her money back.