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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I have to say, I had no idea how stressful it is studying to become a postman. As of yesterday, I'm in the process of applying to become the new Rottingdean Postie, a position I've been particularly keen to fill since hearing my Mum's reminiscences about her time on the Christmas relief staff at Royal Mail during the war.* She always wanted to go full-time, but those were politically incorrect days, and they turned her down on the grounds that she didn't have a penis. Fortunately things have changed since then. And I don't mean she's now got a penis.

So having spent the morning filling in all six sections of the online application form, and writing about my love of early mornings and dogs, I finally submitted my application at lunchtime today...

... only to receive an e-mail half an hour later which said "Well done! You have reached the next stage of your application, we would now like to invite you to take an on-line assessment."

Naturally I felt a sense of pride at having been sent an automated e-mail of this calibre, so I strode forth immediately to the on-line (with a hyphen) assessment. The 80-question personality test wasn't too bad, although I do wonder how many people read the statement "I can often be quite rude", and then tick 'Strongly Agree', but it was the Royal Mail Sorting Test which really scrambled my brain. By the time you've been on the receiving end of 200 rapid-fire addresses, and attempted to match them each to a postcode within a time-limit of about three seconds, you feel like giving up on letter-writing and sticking to e-mail. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown by the end.

But anyhoo, when I'm not passing the entrance exam for Royal Mail, I'm busy seeing out this year's Brighton Festival down at the Marina. My brother turned up on Sunday and asked me to babysit his wife and daughter while he went to an impromptu AGM for Kemp Town flat-owners. So having filled him in on the state of the partying Poles in flat 1, and the neighbours who bang on my ceiling, I fed my sister-in-law toast, tried to get a turn on my niece's Nintendo, then rounded everyone up for a trip to Pizza Express, where we encountered scenes like this...

PixilatedIt turned out that Brighton Marina was home to The Big Splash, a two-day event much like the Streets of Brighton spectacular, to round off this year's festival. This time around the street performers had come from as far afield as Mexico and Australia, which makes it all the more surprising that I couldn't find a single one worth watching. Even my eight-year-old niece was mocking them by the end. To be fair though, it must be hard to get a tune out of your singing fish when the weather's bad.

The BrimborionsI went back down there on Monday in the hope of better things, but when you've seen one mask-wearing foreigner on an electric scooter playing oompah music with an inflatable backpack, you've seen them all.

Tuesday was mine and Lisa's three year anniversary, so we did that lovey-dovey romantic thing that all courting couples do: we went to see a film about serial killers. I can recommend Zodiac (the movie, not the murderer). It's an interesting two and a half hours. Not quite interesting enough for Lisa to stay awake (she woke up near the end, just in time to see the main character and say "Who's that?"), but I enjoyed it.

* Falklands, not Second World.