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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hands Off My Cocoa BeansWell another Easter is over, and as usual I've eaten enough chocolate to keep a dozen small children in work on a West African cocoa farm. Hurrah! I had a double excuse this year though, as Easter Sunday fell on that other great chocolate-eating event of the Christian calendar: my niece's birthday. So I not only had to help her eat eggs, but also do my bit to rid the world of Dougal cake. She's a big fan of Father Ted The Magic Roundabout.

My Easter started well, when I prepared breakfast in bed for Lisa, and discovered (thanks to my mother's liking for own-brand products) that the Asda version of 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter' is called 'You'd Butter Believe It'. That was enough to make me smile for a good couple of days.

But from there it was all downhill to diet hell, as I started eating at around 1pm and didn't stop until ten. I was already full when my niece arrived at 4pm, but I didn't like to appear rude, so I forced down some pavlova, and asked for second helpings of Dougal. And that was before the Easter Eggs arrived.

My niece is currently into the Nintendo DS (I say 'currently', as she'll probably have taken up hockey or hang-gliding by the end of the week, and have chucked the Nintendo in the bin), so Lisa and I decided to give her 'The Chronicles of Narnia'. Which is a game. And not a book. Obviously. After which we had a slight panic, changed our minds at the last moment, and gave her The Sims 2 instead, on the grounds that people are better than talking beavers, and neither of us like Turkish Delight. That left my mother to give her the Narnia one, and my niece to immediately declare it to be the best game she's ever played. The Sims will be on Ebay by the end of the month.

As for Easter Monday, well my brother left at 6:30am to go and play golf, thus proving that I'm not the most insane member of the family, leaving me and Lisa to spend the morning playing Animal Crossing with my niece. Given the title, I was expecting it to feature zebras and pelicans quite heavily, but apparently not. Personally I hadn't read the instruction manual or played the game before, but still I was expected to know how to post a letter to Pippy and plant an orange tree. It's endearing how much misplaced faith my niece has in me.

All good things must come to an end however, so Lisa and I left Chelmsford at 2:30pm with my niece promising to bring her Nintendo down to Brighton so that I can help her some more. We sped around the M25, made it to Sussex in record time, then hit a traffic jam eight miles from home, followed a diversion, took a wrong turn, and ended up in Shoreham. But it's always good to see the South Downs on a Bank Holiday Monday. In a heatwave. With a cat in the car.

Easter in BrightonIt could have been worse though. Apparently Brighton attracted 150,000 visitors per day over the weekend, and the seafront looked like this. I'd never have been able to get around the charity shops with those crowds. And it'll be even worse tomorrow - I've invited my brother and sister-in-law down for a property inspection. I plan to gloss over the state of my flat, then whisk them off to the pitch 'n' putt course before they ask for the rent.