With less than a fortnight to go until the royal wedding, Kate Middleton could turn up at any moment...
And she won't be happy to find footprints on her throne. Mind you, we're lucky Amelie's wearing shoes at all. We bought her those last week, and according to the reviews, they fall apart in about five minutes, so she's done well to ascend both Whitehawk Hill and the throne without ending up like Sandie Shaw at Eurovision.
Anyhoo, contrary to initial impressions, Amelie wasn't attending another Princess Party yesterday afternoon. She was talking to strangers at the marina. It's a well known fact that I do a lot of charity work, but in addition to supporting sick animals in numerous horse races, I also like to do my bit in the community, helping those less fortunate than myself. I'm like Angelina Jolie and Madonna, but while they rescue children from war-torn Africa, I invite people down from Burgess Hill. I feel their need is far greater.
So at 4pm yesterday we met up for the first time with Chappers, the man behind Burgess Hill Uncovered. He's like Julian Assange, but with better hair and a shorter criminal record. I expect. To be fair, I didn't ask. But he had an honest face. Having visited his home town a week ago, it seemed only fair to invite Peter down to Brighton to show him what life would be like if he lived somewhere with decent facilities. It was like a cultural exchange, but without the culture.
Being classy individuals, we arranged to combine at The Harvester, which seemed like a good idea right up until the point when we walked through the door and saw the clientele. The only spare table was next to a man who looked like one of the Transylvanians from the Rocky Horror Show, and was openly taking the piss by smelling strongly of urine. Mind you, he had a heart of gold (to go with his yellow-stained trousers). He told us they do free Coke refills, and offered us his dirty glass.
Following a quick change of plan and an even swifter exit, we ended up across the marina at the West Quay. Which is like Key West, but with less chance of being shot. They had a two-for-one offer on yesterday, so as well as Peter, we got his girlfriend Claire for free. She's a senior nurse at A & E, so she's met a lot of the murder victims from our block. It's a small world.
Here we all are, relaxing on the quayside after stuffing our faces with pancakes...
Obviously if you know Amelie well, you position yourself at the end of the line, so that you're still in shot when she runs up to the camera three seconds before the timer goes off.
Here's another attempt...
Sadly I had to crop the rest of my family out of that photo. Due to some kind of freak photographic anomaly which will surely never be repeated, Lisa looked fat and refused to let me publish it, while Amelie was busy running at high speed towards the deep water signs. To be honest, it's a better shot without them.
Lisa prefers this one...
... but I feel I'm giving new meaning to the term 'wide-boy' by measuring three feet across. I'd have cropped myself out if I wasn't standing in the middle.
Anyhoo, having headed into the West Quay, Amelie pressed a few buttons on the fruit machine and then asked for a beer (no, seriously), while the rest of us settled down to get acquainted. We tackled a number of weighty issues over the next couple of hours, including local politics, the NHS, and which of us knows the most about The Flumps, but primarily our role was to put everyone off having children. And I think we succeeded. Frankly, by the time Amelie had run through the restaurant for a tenth time, refused to sit with us, and attempted to climb onto the bar, I think we'd all learnt the value of contraception.
She did attempt to redeem herself by declaring "I like you, Daddy" not once, but twice, which is almost enough to make me forgive her transgressions, but unfortunately she did it by rudely interrupting our conversation, so whilst the style was good, she lost points on execution.
In the meantime, Peter suffered the kind of blatant discrimination I presume is familiar to anyone who lives in Burgess Hill, when he was served a 'medium to well-done' steak which was practically still mooing, and a plate of pancakes made from industrial strength rubber. It's no wonder he didn't look fat in the photos.
And here's the other reason. It takes a very special person to buy a chocolate egg and not eat it yourself (or maybe it's just me who struggles with that concept), but Peter and Claire managed to spend almost three hours in our company without letting on that they had an Easter egg in their bag. It was only when we bid them farewell that they produced the goods and presented Amelie with the trophy on the left. The egg-timing was perfect. She was just throwing a tantrum and running into traffic. I think the distraction saved her life.