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Monday, February 25, 2013

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Phil, with the weather turning arctic, temperatures below zero, a wind chill of minus ten and a very real risk of both hypothermia and frostbite for anyone foolish enough to venture outside, where's the best place in Brighton for a picnic?"

Well it's funny you should ask. Personally, I like to wait for a light snow flurry, and then head a few hundred yards along the road in a biting north wind, before sitting down at a rusty metal table next to an empty can of Tennent's Super to enjoy some Marmite sandwiches in the shadow of a council tower block...

That's not a smile, it's a grimace of pain. And my face was frozen like that for an hour. Frankly the only thing balmy about me in that photo are the smudges of 'Warm Terracotta' paint on my hands.

Having dried my pine shelves overnight, I let Amelie loose on them first thing yesterday morning. I needed to touch up the edges and paint the brackets, and she's the most promising artist in the family. She can also spot a mini roller from twenty paces, and refused to let me do it alone. So having carefully explained to her how to paint wooden furniture without getting any on her clothes, we completed the job, and I put her pyjamas into soak before Lisa got back from church and saw the streaks of emulsion down her sleeves.

While we waited for everything to dry (including the laundry), I told Amelie I'd get our lunch and then take her to the park. Which was the first of my many mistakes. Having heard the words 'lunch' and 'park', she insisted we combine the two and have a picnic. I did explain to her that I could see snow through the iced-up windows, and that not even Eskimos would eat out in this weather, but the thing about Amelie is that she rarely listens to a word I say. And when she does, she generally decides I'm wrong.

In addition to that, the clinical photographer who bumped into me and Amelie in Asda after work last Wednesday, and found us carrying two pints of milk and a boxed set of Snakes & Ladders, will testify to the fact that I'm a soft touch, and give in to my daughter far too readily.

As a result, I found myself wrapping sandwiches in foil yesterday lunchtime. Although I felt more inclined to wrap myself in it as a form of impromptu space blanket. To say it was cold out would be like describing Death Valley as a bit mild. But undeterred, Amelie and I made it down the road to the bleak wasteland of the park, which was (oddly, in Amelie's opinion) completely deserted for the entirety of our stay, allowing us to enjoy our picnic in the peace and quiet of a Siberian crosswind as the first flakes of snow began to fall.

Despite losing the use of at least eight fingers due to frostbite, we followed our meal with a bit of after-dinner activity in an effort to restore some circulation. Amelie asked me to film her speeding downhill towards the open road on her scooter, so I considered her request and said yes. I was hoping to shoot something like this...

... but I struggled to keep up with my subject, and ultimately the lack of a Christ the Redeemer statue as a backdrop let down the production values, and I ended up with this...

I was hoping she'd hit a mogul at the bottom and vault over both the fence and the passing car like Evel Knievel in a bobble hat, but tragically she just ploughed into the grass and fell off. Not that I'd have filmed it if she had. I was so far behind, I'd have missed the whole thing. To me, stunt videos are a lot like DIY: best left to someone else.


Phil's Mum said...

I think you're safer staying on two feet to do your filming, so at least only one of the party crashes!  As for the picnic, Amelie did ask me if we could have our lunch in the garden last time she was here and I refused.  You must love her VERY much!

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