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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Amelie's just taken her first steps. At about 6:20pm this evening she successfully walked three paces from the sofa to the crockery cupboard, where she wrestled with the child lock for a few seconds and tried to break a few mugs, before spotting my NHS ID card across the room, turning in the opposite direction, falling flat on her face and hurting her nose. She won't be trying that again in a hurry.

But on the subject of suffering, this time last year, I was on the verge of a sleepless night, as Amelie started fidgeting her way out of Lisa with her hands up. Twelve months on, I'm set for a short night again. Having been out all day in East Grinstead, I'm packing my bags tonight for Newcastle, where I'm due to spend twenty-four hours (you wouldn't want any longer) at the British Association of Retinal Screeners' annual conference.

It's taking place over two days at the Marriott Hotel in Gosforth Park, but we're not staying there. Oh no. We're staying in the pub next door. Apparently it's a lot cheaper. My boss, who arranged the accommodation, described it to us as "the adjacent hotel", but frankly when an establishment sends you a booking confirmation which states "Please check-in at the bar", you have to wonder if it's quite five star.

The owner's called Peregrine.So assuming I can get up before the sun, I'll be at Brighton station at 7am tomorrow morning, on my way to The Falcon's Nest (which I think was an 80s soap opera). We're the only people heading away from Brighton for a conference this week. It's a shame, because news has reached me from this chap that the Prime Minister and his wife like to eat out in Preston Street. As do a lot of people with strong stomachs and no taste. My pals S & A were sampling some Lebanese cuisine there last night (Preston Street's a lot like Beirut), and they bumped into Gordon and Sarah outside the tattoo parlour. They were probably out buying a copy of The Sun.

But whilst it would be nice to stay in Brighton and stalk the Prime Minister for the rest of the week, it's time to say Auf Wiedersehn, Pet, and head for Newcastle. Unfortunately, anyone hoping for a pictorial review of my trip at the weekend will be sadly disappointed. Lisa's insisting I leave the camera at home so that she can take photos of a birthday party she's throwing on Friday. It's some kind of family do. I won't be going myself.