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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Eagle-eyed observers with a fine attention to detail may have noticed that in the family portrait I published yesterday, all four of us were dressed. That's a surprisingly rare occurrence in this house. At any given time, there are usually at least two of us in romper suits and pyjamas. And sometimes we don't get the kids dressed either. I'd like to claim that the reason for our mutual garb-fest was to pose for a nice photo, but in reality it takes a lot more than that to get us clothed at the weekend.

We were actually waiting for a visit from these characters...

That's my sister-in-law being closely watched by Big Brother. It's like 1984. They're both wearing leg-warmers under the table.

My brother and his family are currently holidaying in the party capital of the south: Etchingham. According to Wikipedia, it's famous for having the second largest series of misericords in the county. Which is impressive until you find out what a misericord is, and then realise I said county, not country. With that kind of holiday destination, the first thing you want to do is leave, and sure enough, they decided to spend the second day of their stay with us here in Brighton.

Amelie had been looking forward to the visit all week, not because she likes her aunt and uncle, but because she idolises her cousin. In the days leading up to Sunday, Lisa and I were treated to an ongoing series of announcements regarding all the things she was going to do when her cousin came to visit, including drawing, dancing and playing Cowgirls. Which is basically Gangnam Style without music. I haven't seen anyone so excited to meet a 13-year-old girl since Jimmy Savile died.

Unfortunately, the reality was a bit different...

Amelie talks the talk, but when it comes to walking the walk, she sits down on the sofa with her iPad. It was a good hour before she stopped giving her cousin the cold shoulder.

Fortunately her brother's a lot more engaging...

Although it's a fine line between engaging and intimidating. His kind of eye contact is verging on a poke.

Anyhoo, seeing my brother and his family is a lot like Christmas coming early. Or a couple of months late. When we saw them at my parents' house in December, they claimed they had bought us gifts, but they'd conveniently left them at home. I think it was just a ploy to allow them to go shopping in the sales, but fortunately good things come to those who wait, and sooner or later, Amelie will get her hands on a chocolate Gruffalo...

You can see the Gruffalo's "terrible teeth" there, which are caused by severe tooth decay from all the sugar.

In addition to that, Amelie received a Snow White costume, which allows us to complete the fairytale we started last July with the arrival of Grumpy the Dwarf. As for me and Lisa, we received a 'Segway Experience Day', which lets you spend an hour being Lembit Opik, plus a Taylor Swift CD and a Supernanny book. It's a hardback, so it should come in useful. We can use it to hit Amelie.

With the present-opening completed, we headed out to Sunday lunch down at the marina. Lisa and I had £20 worth of Prezzo vouchers, but the wait for a table was 40 minutes and we're even more impatient than we are cheap. So having checked out the waiting time at Zizzi's (45 minutes, if you're wondering), we ended up at the Coast to Coast American Restaurant & Bar. It occupies the premises that used to house Strada until that one closed down, and the owners are clearly doing their best to ensure they make enough money to avoid the same fate. Frankly the only thing supersized about their American food is the prices.

Well ok, that's not strictly true. They do manage to fit quite a lot into one bun...

I'd expect a good sized meal for the money though. That 'Pulled Pork Burger' cost me fifteen quid. Well, it cost my brother fifteen quid. I told him I'd settle up later. Preferably out of court, and for a smaller amount.

It was very nice though, as was my (small-ish) milkshake for £4.25, and my warm chocolate brownie, which was served with honeycomb ice cream and an air of mystery...

We were informed at the bar that Coast to Coast operates a "verbal menu" for dessert, by which they mean they commit nothing to paper, and won't tell you the prices. It's a bit like playing The Generation Game. You basically have to sit there while Brucie reels off a list of items, then attempt to memorise them long enough to place an order. By the time it arrives, you don't know what you've got, or how much it costs. It's only when you get the bill that you find out your ice creams were six quid each.

Ultimately though, a good time was had by all, especially those of us who didn't pay much, and by the time we strolled back out onto the boardwalk, relations had thawed and Amelie had warmed to her cousin...

Although they'd left Toby out in the cold.


Phil's Mum said...

I wondered whose baby it was left abandoned on his own.

Peter Chapman said...

I know a place where you can get a hot drink AND a main meal for about £6

Phil said...

Is it Broomies? ;o)

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