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Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Amelie out on another Gardner Family Fun Day!

It's basically the same as the last one, but this time she's armed.

Anyhoo, our day out in Burgess Hill yesterday was actually very nice. Which is probably the first time those words have ever been written. Admittedly, the amount of time we actually spent together as a family was limited to about fifteen minutes, but that's what happens when you sit down at an AA convention, the first speaker takes to the stage, he begins to share his experience, strength and hope, and Amelie promptly announces to the entire hall that she "Don't like it". Repeatedly, and in a loud voice.

Mind you, it could have been worse. Lisa handed her a cuddly duck to keep her quiet, not realising that she'd chosen the one that quacks loudly for thirty seconds the moment you press its tummy. I almost had to jump on it like a hand grenade and throw it out of the window.

Unsurprisingly, Amelie and I left after about five minutes before we drove everyone to drink. There were three sessions to the convention, each lasting between an hour and ninety minutes, so we returned at the end of each one for coffee, lunch and quality time with Mummy, but other than that, Burgess Hill was our oyster.

And what an oyster it was. Admittedly you're more likely to find 9ct gold than pearls, but they do have a steam train in the high street...

Ninky Nonk
The shop on the left may only sell brown paper, but they've got one heck of a window display.

On top of that, Burgess Hill is the only town I know that caters for people who want their living rooms to look like the inside of a betting shop...

I bet they're good.
I expect their carpets are sticky and the chairs smell faintly of tobacco. If you click on that photo, you'll see the reflections of me and Amelie in the window. I'm the one with the bulging stomach (which is what happens when you deal with your stresses by eating a whole tub of Haagen Dazs on a Saturday night), and Amelie's the one swigging juice from a bottle. I had to buy her that from Wilkinsons after she threatened to blow up the Martlets Shopping Centre using the power of her voice alone.

Having explored the town centre during the morning, Amelie announced that she wanted "Chips!" and "Cola!" for lunch (I've no idea where she learns these words), so we decided to eschew the barbecue in favour of a trip to McDonalds. I've never seen a toddler so happy. She's only 21 months old, and she can already point to a menu and shout "Burger!". It was the only part of the day when she stopped saying "Don't like it".

With Lisa safely returned to the convention, Amelie and I set off in the car, in the hope that if I drove around for a bit, one of us might fall asleep. Fortunately the plan worked, and better still, it wasn't me. Whilst awake at the wheel, I noticed signs to the Bedelands Nature Reserve, so I decided to follow them, in the hope that we'd arrive at a tranquil beauty spot where Amelie could nap for an hour by a babbling brook (and I don't mean Kelly). As it transpired, we ended up at the ground of Burgess Hill Town FC. I don't know what they're doing playing football on a nature reserve, but they probably wipe out an endangered species every time they enter the penalty area.

Anyhoo, the 14th West Sussex AA Mini-Convention closed at 4pm. Much like the nearby Waitrose. So having popped in for some essentials, Amelie and I collected Lisa, and the three of us returned home relaxed, de-stressed, and with a new positive outlook on life.

A feeling which lasted right up until the moment we walked through the front door and found that shortly before leaving that morning, Amelie had shut the door to the cupboard where Chloe keeps her litter tray. Thereby forcing her to use the hallway as a toilet. A fact I discovered only after I'd trodden it all down the hall and into the living room. Nothing says 'Gardner Family Fun Day' like getting down on your hands and knees with a bucket of disinfectant, and scrubbing cat poo out of the carpet. Where's that Carpetright Slate when you need it.


Dave said...

I almost feel like a member of your family as I read your blog.

I mean the sane member.

The cat.

Phil's Mum said...

I thought Amelie would have taught Chloe to jump up and open the cupboard door by now.