10 October 2009 (Saturday) - To Eastbourne

Once I’d cleared all the hobgoblins out of NeverWinter this morning, I started compiling this week’s letter to the chokey. This will be the thirty-eighth letter I’ve sent, and with it will be the nineteenth rude crossword. I’m amazed at how many letters and crosswords I’ve packed off over the last few months.

And then to Eastbourne. I’ve mentioned before that every year has regular special events – beer festivals in Canterbury, Folkestone and Dover. The Teston weekends. The bonfire parades. It’s also become something of a tradition to spend a day in Eastbourne on the second Saturday in October. Well, it is Corrinne’s birthday. We arrived a tad early today and thought we’d have a pint or two of lunch first. The very first time we came to Eastbourne for birthday ice creams (five years ago) we drank in the beer festival which takes place just over the road from the ice cream parlour. We don’t do that any more. Much as I like a beer festival, I resent the prices some of them charge. Not for the beer, but to get in to the place. The people at Eastbourne beer festival wanted £5.50 admission, and then another couple of quid for the glass. You’d find yourself paying the price of a round of drinks (each) just to get in. So we went to the Buccaneer instead. A strange pub – whilst a free house it had very much a “Wetherspoons” feel about it. And although there was a choice of six ales, there wasn’t a single one that was in any way out of the ordinary, let alone unusual. But the soup wasn’t bad, and the cheesy chips went down a treat. Whilst scoffing, more family and friends arrived.

Once all were fed, it was over the road to the ice cream parlour to meet up with the birthday girl and the rest of our group. And once the Sevenoaks Massive had found out that I wasn’t joking when I said they were going to the wrong ice cream parlour and eventually arrived, there was nearly thirty of us. Ice creams were scoffed. And then more ice creams were scoffed. And whilst everyone else was still scoffing some of us thought that Charlotte might like to avail herself of the free wi-fi in the pub to download some i-games. So – to the pub (again), where I had a crafty pint. It would have been rude not to.

Thirty of us then had a stroll along the prom, played on the beach, scared the normal people, and even got a photo for CrackWatch. We looked at the gift shop tat, then mooched around the pier where we were intrigued by the Victorian Tea Rooms. At first sight nothing seemed Victorian about the place, but it was suggested that the tea was brewed in 1871, and that the scones came from the Great Exhibition. We had chips, and then strolled back along the prom, pausing only briefly to watch Simon nearly get run over on a zebra crossing. The silly old woman driving the car wasn’t paying attention and nearly ran him down. As luck would have it, this idiot driver then parked her car some twenty yards down the road, and when we tackled her about the incident, it was plain she had absolutely no idea that she’d nearly killed someone.

And then, all too soon, it was time to come home. With the bittersweet feeling that another of the year’s milestones has been passed…

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