We are on Brighton Pier, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and I. As we stroll along, we notice that the Racing Dolphins game, which used to be such a great hit with the older grandchildren when they were just littl'uns,
is still going strong - though it's now £2 a go and we would need at least three wins to secure a Minion. But...
"Shall we?" we ask each other, "Just for old time's sake...."
We choose dolphin number 7 because 7 is my lucky number. We also think his / her / its name is appropriate (though writing about it now, a whole day later, I seem to have forgotten it. I am having a Senior Dolphin Moment.) I text the
Y of the DDs to see if she remembers but she doesn't. Like me, she is convinced that we chose it for a special reason. If it really matters to you, dear reader, you may like to make up a name for Dolphin Number 7 yourself?
This is how the Dolphin Game works, for those of you unlucky enough never to have strolled along Brighton Pier in the winter sunshine. Each contestant has four small red balls which, at a given signal, must be rolled towards a set of coloured holes.
Every time a ball makes it into a hole, your dolphin surges forward along the track. Unless the red ball rolls into a yellow hole, which doesn't count. The balls are recycled so you can keep hurling them at the holes until one of the dolphins makes it to the
finish at which point the game is ended and someone is declared the winner. I do hope you are keeping up. It really isn't that complicated.
Nobody could accuse us of being half-hearted players. "For
old time's sake!" we chorus as we roll ball after red ball towards the holes. Dolphin Number 7 lurches forward, time and time again. There really is no stopping him / her / it. "Number 7 wins!" announces the stall-holder and we hug each other, my Darling Daughter
and I, trying not to look round at all the little children with disappointment etched on their faces because their dolphins have trailed in way behind Number 7. We win a small black shark toy. It's surprisingly cuddly. For a shark don't you know? We have a
choice of colours for the trim - green, pink, purple or blue. I go for purple. I am cock a hoop and make sure that Sharkie is in the photo when we pose for the inevitable "selfie" on the Pier. You can't really tell what it is, it could be my gloves but that
photo will prove for posterity - always supposing posterity is interested - that Sharkie Was There.
We are in Brighton because granddaughter Hazel, just back from New York and totally jet- lagged as a result,
has an audition for the prestigious Youth Music Theatre UK. The audition is scheduled to last at least three hours which is a long time for her poor mother to while away - so I have come along to keep her company. Though, given my early performance on the
pier, my daughter may well be wishing she had chosen more adult company.
We met on Brighton station where Hazel scared the life out of me by pouncing on me while my back was turned as I studied the Arrivals
and Departures Board. Honestly, I shrieked even louder than I would later shriek at Dolphin Number 7's success. Fortunately, I recovered quickly and we headed off to locate the audition venue - just so that we know where we are going - before finding an eatery
for lunch. Hazel showed me her photographs from New York - regular readers will recall that I appointed her the official Travel Guide for Mr B and me. I shiver at the thought of temperatures of minus 20.
it's nowhere near so cold in Brighton this afternoon and the February sunshine makes it seem almost balmy. Once we have seen Hazel through the doors of the Unitarian Church where the auditions are being held, we set off, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters
and I, for what turns out to be a Very Long Walk Indeed.
What could possibly be better than walking along a seafront promenade in the sunshine with a Darling Daughter? We stop for coffee, then inspect the
display boards telling us all about Brighton's newest attraction - the i360 viewing tower. Even before it opens, the i360 has made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the most slender tower in the world. It's also been described as a "bonkers, outsize
flagpole." One day, we will come back, we say, and take a trip right up to the top - to a height of 162 metres - and look out over 26 miles in all directions. Apparently it won't wobble but, cowardly custard that I am, I might need evidence.
As we arrive to collect our Star Performer, due out at 5 p.m., there's time for one last coffee for me though the Y of the DDs says she is all coffeed-out.
We've been talking
and walking all afternoon but we are not talked-out, oh, no, not us.
Like Sharkie, there's no way our jaws will rust...