3 April 2011 (Sunday) - Mothers Day

It’s become something of a family tradition that the clans gather on Mothers Day. Today the venue was chosen to be Fairlight Lodge Hotel. We had our wedding reception there (many years ago), and apropos of nothing I thought I’d have a look to see if the place has a web site. Do go through this place’s web site. The main page is so-so. But click on the links. The location page gives a map in Jacksonville (wherever that might be). The listings page makes no sense whatsoever.  The restaurant serves only one menu choice “Lamb with mint sauce mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm”, (which to be fair to the place is reasonably priced at £7.99, despite all the mmm nonsense). The points of local interest are listed as “Link Category” and “Placeholder Image”. I’ve been visiting the area for years and have never heard of those attractions.
The hotel is staging some special events over the year. In month 8 (August?) they are having Event One. This will be followed in month 17 (next May?) with Event Two and in month 26 (Xmas 2012?) with Event Three.
On the functions page it says "Providing you with a secure online booking is a high priority of Fairlight Lodge Hotel. You can be assured that your transaction is protected with the highest security on the Internet today.” Bearing in mind the shambles that is the rest of the web site, I laughed out loud at this.
I wasn’t 100% sure I remembered where the place was, so I checked their website, which conveniently listed the location of the place as “[TOWN], [COUNTY], [POSTCODE]”, which was useful.

I think it’s fair to say that I arrived at the place with a sense of trepidation. And I wasn’t disappointed. With every other hotel and pub in the universe booked up months in advance for Mothers Day, we arrived at 12.30pm to find that this place was all but deserted. Seeing how we were  there before the rest of our group we thought we’d get a drink. I’d been looking forward to this bit – the place’s web site says “For the traditionalist you can sample real ales in the Bar which serves a selection of locally brewed ales”.
Call me old-fashioned if you will, but I’d take exception to the bit about “a selection of locally brewed ales”. The ale selection consisted of Harvey’s Best. A selection of one. And being brewed in Lewes (some thirty miles away) I can’t in all honesty consider that beer to be “local”. There are breweries in Northiam, Battle, Hastings, Ashford, Bexhill and Rolvenden that are closer.
I was driving, so I settled for a glass of pop. ‘er indoors TM  didn’t fancy the Harvey’s – it’s becoming very widespread these days. So she thought she’d try something else. But the bar was that bad that her second choice was half a pint of Guinness (!) But the barman couldn’t oblige. It didn’t come in half-pints, only tin-fulls. They were pouring the Guinness out of tins. She settled for lager. (And people wonder why pubs are closing down left, right and centre).

We sat in the sun and very soon the family arrived. Mum seemed to be made up with the day, and we chatted for a bit. I had a quick game of “Hide and Bogwash” with my nephew: the game is similar to “Hide and Seek”, but with the added complication that when I find him I get to flush his head down a toilet. He loves it really!
It would have been good to have stayed longer, but the sun had gone in: it was getting cold. And people were talking about going into Hastings for chips. So we said our goodbyes and came home, where I took the seats out of the car. Ably assisted by Mr O’Lata we set off to Maidstone where we were collecting a sofa to fetch back to Chip’s flat. I have a theory about blocks of flats. No one lives in the bottom two floors. They are just there for show. It would have been so easy to have taken a sofa from a ground floor flat, but no, we had to negotiate the stairs. There was a very open stair well which “Daddies Little Angel TMwould have seen as an obvious short cut down which we could have “gently lowered” the sofa. However Chip took the somewhat traditionalist view that he wanted to be able to sit on the sofa once it had got down the stairs. So we lugged it down, and wedged it into the back of my car. “Wedging” being the operative phrase, since it did not want to come out once we’d driven it back to the car park nearest to Chip World (which also is nowhere near ground level).
I managed to persuade the sofa to come out of the car – a little brute force is often useful. There was a minor hiccup when we caught the sofa on a nail on a door on the way up the stairs, but I am reliably informed that there was no harm done.

Although I’d already sent my apologies, I did have a vague plan that after I’d done all that I had planned for the day I’d be able to pop down to Brighton for the evening. I knew I’d miss the kite club’s AGM, but I had hoped to get along for any post-meeting socials. By the time I’d got the seats back into the car and had tea and fallen asleep, Brighton wasn’t going to happen. Maybe next time…?

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