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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Any day which ends with your niece posting this as her new Facebook profile picture, has to be considered a good one...

It means the stalker on the left might end up being identified and arrested for her serial crimes of harassment.

Obviously I'm no grass (although I'm a bit of a dope), but the rubber-faced loon on the left is actually Amelie yesterday afternoon, shadowing her cousin through the footwear aisle at TK Maxx. And behind them is Toby, hanging 3-3½ feet off the ground. I think.

It made a change for someone to take a photo of Am, as she spent most of the day taking pictures of everyone else...

Although to be honest, that's a lot better than most of the ones I take, so I might delegate all my photography to my four-year-old daughter.

In case you're wondering, that's Toby's Shouty Face pictured above. He's not crying, he's just bellowing at a high decibel level. It's his new hobby. He's suddenly realised he's got a lot to say, and he's saying it at full volume. It's just a shame we don't know what he's talking about.

Anyhoo, my brother and his family are staying at my parents' house this weekend, and if there's one thing I learnt in Geography at school, it's that it costs less in petrol to get to Hastings than to Essex. Unless you live in Suffolk. So we went over there to see them yesterday. We did the same thing on last year's August bank holiday, but obviously a lot's changed since then...

My brother's leaning slightly further forward, and I've been left holding the baby. Although Lisa's no less knackered.

Our plan was to get up at our usual ungodly hour, and head straight over there after breakfast, but tragically Lisa was hit with the kind of calamitous full-scale disaster that made The Poseidon Adventure look like a minor boating incident. Yes, you've guessed it, her coffee machine stopped working.

Well, I say it stopped working. It actually continued working, but started spewing hot coffee grounds all over the floor. She attempted a total of five lattes during the course of the morning, and three of them resulted in her having to mop the kitchen lino and wipe brown sludge off the shelf. So she was unable to leave the flat until she'd phoned Tassimo and given them a piece of her mind. Which they said they'd look at if she sent it back to them with a prepaid label.

As Lisa pointed out at the time, it was like an alcoholic being asked to send off the keys to their liquor cabinet, so naturally it was quite a big deal, and she needed a certain amount of counselling to get through it. Fortunately, however, having researched the issue on the internet, it seems it was probably just a bad batch of coffee pods, rather than a faulty machine. So it looks like she can keep the wine cellar, and just return one bottle.

With the nightmare partially resolved, we eventually made it over to St Leonards bright and early at 1:45pm. Just as my brother and his family were going out for the afternoon. Undeterred, I decided to take Amelie to the local charity shops - a decision which proved particularly profitable, partly because we encountered a charity cake sale on the way, but mainly because I picked up an apparently brand new Next suit from the PDSA shop for only £7.99. Not only was it in my size, but it was in such perfect condition that I spent a good ten minutes standing in the shop, examining it, and trying to work out why it was only eight quid. I kept expecting to find a massive hole in the trousers, or a iron burn down the back.

In the end, I found the explanation: it had been priced up by an idiot. And I was just the man to take advantage. I'm not completely callous though. I let them keep the penny change.

I forgot to mention that I bought a genuine Versace denim jacket for £6.99 in the Hassocks branch of Help the Aged ten days ago, which is size XL, and fractionally too small for me. So with a new suit as well, I just need to lose a few pounds and I'll be set for both formal and casual situations. No one's going to believe I'm actually piss poor and living in squalor.

Anyhoo, having returned from the local charity shops, we rendezvoused with my brother, and went more upmarket by driving to TK Maxx and Poundstretcher. Lisa bought a new dress for considerably more than my suit, while I went in with the intention of buying a new shower head, and came out with a set of ice lolly moulds.

We eventually made it back to my parents' for tea, cake and enough food to give us gout, before relaxing on the sofas with my brother's family. Here's Toby bonding with his aunt...

It's hard not to look self-conscious when you're eating an iPhone and wearing a pair of socks on your head.