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Monday, February 20, 2012

Since Friday of last week (which, coincidentally, is when she last saw her cousins), Amelie has been delighting us with a new and definitive fifth verse to the song 'The Big Ship Sails on the Ally Ally Oh'. It's a thoughtful and poignant piece of songwriting, which we're currently hearing about six times a day, and it goes like this (sing along if you can):

We all dip our bums in the deep blue sea,
The deep blue sea, the deep blue sea,
We all dip our bums in the deep blue sea,
Whoops, bang, whee.

In reality of course, it's not quite as simple as that. It can take the persuasive powers of three adults to coax her into the water...

That's Amelie explaining to a trio of swimming instructors that she's more of a poolside sun-lounger than a dolphin. It's ironic, because at home you can't get her out of the bath for love nor money. I've offered her both.

Fortunately, however, the girl in the yellow had a stick...

Whoops, bang, whee. Or in Amelie's case, wee. I'm sure the deep blue sea was a different colour at the end.

Anyhoo, yesterday was quite a momentous day around these parts. Not only did our good friend Marie come down to visit us from Croydon, but we took Amelie for her first ever swimming lesson. Lisa made the discovery a few weeks ago that the local pool is a training centre for swimming instructors, and that if you allow these trainees to practice on your offspring, they only charge you £3 for ninety minutes. It's the cheapest childcare in Brighton. And Amelie gets a wash.

We weren't quite sure what to expect, but as it transpired, it was brilliant. They had a total of seven children and thirteen trainee instructors, meaning that Amelie had the undivided attention of at least two people at all times for ninety minutes. And it cost us three quid. I could have hugged them all at the end.

On the downside, you weren't allowed to take photos...

No, really, you weren't...

... but fortunately I didn't see that sign until they spotted me in the public gallery and pointed it out to me.

The no-photography rule is obviously designed to deter paedophiles, which is also why they have a no-touching rule for the instructors. Which was a shame, because Marie quite fancied one of them. I can see the sense of it, of course, but at one point a well-meaning instructor attempted to persuade Amelie to jump into the pool with him by getting her to hold the other end of a rolled-up laminated piece of paper, simply because he was too scared to offer her his hand. Lisa was tempted to go straight down there and tell him he can do what he likes with our daughter. Frankly, for three quid, we don't care.

Despite a slow start, Amelie was remarkably good. Especially as we spent the entire ninety minutes upstairs behind a pane of glass, chatting to Marie. Admittedly, our daughter gave the impression that she might be more suited to floating around on a li-lo than doing fifty lengths, but she quickly grew in confidence, and seemed quite happy in the care of the instructors. A total of five had a go with her in the end, and all appeared to be excellent. It can't be easy working with someone who just bobs about in the waves with her feet in the air. So within hours of getting home, Lisa had booked her in for more sessions. We'll have her doing the breast stroke by Christmas.

As for Marie, it was a pleasure to see her as always. She's off to Sweden next month to witness the aurora borealis, so the bright lights of Brighton don't hold much excitement for her these days. Fortunately Amelie injected a bit of sparkle into her visit by showing her a few levels of Supercow, after which we fed her copious amounts of pizza, pasta and banoffee pie, pausing only for Amelie to have a poo while I coughed up blood all over the bathroom floor. That was a meal to remember.

The biggest news to reach us from swinging London, however, is that our mutual friend James, who is not only a world expert on micropenises, but is also the author of eleven blog posts, and someone with whom I once played Mike Read's Pop Quiz, is getting married in the summer. I haven't seen him for six years, so I asked Marie to pass on my congratulations. She said "You can do it yourself. He still reads your blog."

So congratulations, James. Where's our invitation?


James said...

Six years it may have been, but since I read this every day, I now know you better than I know members of my own family. Which, when you think about it, is a bit wrong.

As soon as I get over the Mike Read defeat, the invitation will be in the post...

Phil said...

Marvellous. Obviously we won't come, but it'll be nice to get an invite.