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Sunday, January 24, 2010

This little rosy-cheeked cherub of cuteness is me, hanging out with the pigeons in Cornwallis Gardens, near the centre of Hastings, in 1976...

Those pigeons are dead now.
I think my Mum used to bleach my hair in those days. She's responsible for my clothes too.

But thirty-four years and a few fashion trends later, here's Amelie in the same spot this morning...

Girlz n the Hood
She's perfected the trademark Gardner pleased-with-yourself expression, and taken it to new heights with the use of both hands.

Anyhoo, Lisa was keen to spend some time alone with Facebook this morning, so while my parents were at church, I took Amelie out for a walk down memory lane. We left St Leonards behind us (because frankly I don't remember that at all) and headed along the seafront to the White Rock Gardens in Hastings. As a small boy, and borderline sporting prodigy, I regularly played tennis there during the holidays I spent at the home of my Auntie Jean. Who wasn't my real Auntie, but could hit a tennis ball with the best of them.

The place looked much as I remember it (apart from the massive gym they've built next to the bowling green), so I decided to take the old shortcut through the private hospital over the road, and give Amelie a look at Auntie Jean's old flat in Clifton Court. The hospital turned out to be a housing estate, but Clifton Court hasn't changed a bit. Although it looks about half the size it did when I was six. Probably because I'm twice as big.

From there it was over to Cornwallis Gardens, where I fed the pigeons about three times a year until I was ten...

That 70s Show
They all seem to have flown the nest now. The only birds we saw were the chav women walking their pitbulls past the homeless alcoholics.

Clifton Suspension
That's Clifton Court in the top left. I tried to position Amelie's buggy to hide the empty gin bottle lying on the ground, but sadly it's still visible. To be honest, the area's gone downhill since I spent my happy childhood holidays there. Amelie seemed to like it, but let's face it, she's used to spending time in the hood. Although hers is fur-lined, so it's not surprising.

We made our way back via Bohemia, which is not as unconventional as it sounds, and arrived back at my parents' bungalow in time for lunch. After which Lisa and I made a swift getaway. So swift, in fact, that we accidentally drove off with Amelie's clothes. So it's a good job she likes that coat. She'll be wearing it to bed tomorrow night.