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Saturday, May 30, 2009

It's always nice, when you're forty-eight hours away from starting a new job, and your one and only chance to make a good first impression is looming, to wake up with a major allergic reaction in both eyes. Frankly I look like Sylvester Stallone at the end of Rocky. At least I think I do. To be honest, I can barely see the mirror.

But here I am in happier times...

It's the only way.That was yesterday afternoon in St Leonards. If you're wondering why my head's so shiny, it's because I plastered myself in Amelie's sun cream. Hence the allergic reaction. The irony is that the reason I smeared it all over my face (and into my eyes) is because I didn't want to turn up for my first day at work looking like a lobster. But frankly, with eyes like a chameleon, I don't need sunburn to feel red-faced.

Anyhoo, Lisa went out and bought me some chlorphenamine tablets this morning (if only I hadn't left that job - we had hundreds on the shelf), and having taken one a couple of hours ago, the swelling has eased enough for me to see a computer screen and write a blog post. Although every time I catch sight of my reflection in the monitor, I think I've got an Elephant Man screensaver.

But medical disasters aside, we had a very nice time at my parents' yesterday. Not that we spent much time there. We basically just took advantage of the free babysitting service, and went out for the day. But before you start thinking that yesterday's photo was taken in some exotic botanical garden, I should point out that it's actually my parents' backyard. As the saying goes, all rhododendrons lead to home. Fortunately I've got the hayfever tablets now, so I can go back there any time I like.

As luck would have it, we didn't just get the chance to abandon my parents. We were also able to ignore my aunt. She's the Roy Orbison impersonator in this photo, and she'd spent three and a half hours driving down to St Leonards on Friday morning. So she must have been thrilled when Lisa and I promptly went out for the afternoon. But hey, she got to spend time with Amelie. What more does the woman want?

Bird on a wire.So with the carefree and joyful attitude of two people who've dumped their baby on the relatives, Lisa and I headed off to celebrate our anniversary with a romantic walk along the seafront to Hastings. I think we'd gone about fifty yards before we stopped for ice cream. But having recreated my childhood holidays by kicking a stone along Broken Bottle Alley, we arrived in the town centre, where I was conned into paying five quid for the bent coat hanger on the right.

According to the Chinese man who made it for me on a street corner, I could have the name of my choice bent out of wire for just £2. Obviously with a name like Lisa, I wasn't really getting value for money, but I agreed to it anyway, and having written it down on a piece of paper for him (naturally he didn't speak English, and had never encountered anyone with such an exotic name), the man made it out of wire in about twenty seconds flat. At which point he held up a plastic flower and wire heart, said "Yes?", and before I had a chance to shake my head, he'd added it to the name and charged me a fiver. Admittedly you can't put a price on love, but I thought that was a bit steep.

Anyhoo, it was a good five hours before my eyes started swelling up, so we were able to enjoy a full afternoon in 1066 country, and having battled our way through Hastings, bought sunglasses in TopShop and eaten an anniversary sandwich in Subway, we eventually looked at our watches, realised it was an hour past Amelie's tea time, and started the long walk back home.

On the way, we passed this place...

Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta Pasta
As Lisa said to me at the time, "I dare you to go in and ask for fish and chips".