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Sunday, March 21, 2010

LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!!! It's the Gardners (and Lisa) out on a Family Fun Day!

I think I'm winning the 'Putting a Brave Face On It' competition. Lisa's wetter than Christine Bleakley after her cross-channel water ski, and Amelie's hoarse from all the moaning. We're clearly having the time of our lives in that multi-storey car park.

But if you think we look miserable there, you should have seen us five minutes earlier. It's not easy walking half a mile through a monsoon with no umbrella. Particularly when your coats aren't waterproof and Amelie won't keep her rain cover on. Frankly we cheered up considerably when we got back to that concrete carbuncle.

Anyhoo, what with my busy working life, Lisa's appalling medical problems and Amelie's outdated stand-up routines, it's been a tough week in the Gardner household. So when we got up yesterday morning, Lisa suggested that we leave our troubles behind us and go out for a Family Fun Day. Yes, that's right, it was all her idea.

The whole of Brighton was our oyster, but sadly we don't like shellfish, so we headed for Worthing instead. It has everything Brighton doesn't: good shops, a seafront, a pier... no, hang on a moment. Well, for whatever reason, we decided to go there. I last visited Worthing in September 2007, and a lot's changed since then...

Personally I think the situation on the right is more hairy.

The photo on the left was taken less than four months before Amelie was conceived, and looking like that, it's a miracle it ever happened. If I hadn't single-handedly cured cancer with that moustache, I don't think Lisa would have gone near me.

Anyhoo, our journey to Worthing yesterday afternoon took an hour and a half. Which is what happens when you're too terrified to stop in case Amelie wakes up. The plan was to take the scenic route across Sussex while Amelie had her lunchtime nap in the back of the car. And sure enough, our drive through the countryside resulted in peaceful sleep within five minutes of leaving home. Unfortunately that was just Lisa. It took Amelie half an hour to drop off.

So I criss-crossed the South Downs with Lisa asleep next to me, and Amelie looking out of the window, wondering just how much this fun day was costing me in petrol. Fortunately, by the time we reached Steyning, both my travel companions were asleep, so I was able to enjoy the scenery in peace, and drive around in circles without anyone knowing I was lost.

Once awake and in Worthing, we parked near Morrisons, strapped on the baby reins, and let Amelie toddle into town. It's a bit like taking an untrained dog for a walk. Albeit one which knows exactly where she's going. Here she is making an unscheduled flight into Wilkinsons for no apparent reason...

If you're wondering what she's holding (and throwing on the floor at the end), it's an Easter bunny that she won in the Worthing Cat Welfare Trust tombola. According to the charity's website, they raised £308 yesterday. I'm proud to say that without Amelie's participation, that would have been a mere £307. I'm taking that quid out of her trust fund.

Anyhoo, our intention was to look around the shops, take a stroll along the seafront, and then enjoy a family meal at a restaurant. Obviously that was before it started raining. Well, I say raining. It was more of a vertical river. Although I was surprised it fell as rain. It felt cold enough to snow. We stuck it out for two long, miserable hours, by which time we'd witnessed enough water that we felt we'd not only seen the sea but been in it too. Whereupon we decided that much as we love our food, we'd rather head home to a warm, dry flat, than sit in our cold, wet clothes and attempt to order a meal over the sound of Amelie crying. I knew it was a mistake to pay & display until 8pm.


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