Today the sun was shining for the third day running. The whole world looks better, don’t you think, when the sun shines?
B and I decided to make the most of the sunny weather by taking a walk along the promenade at Littlehampton. It’s one of our favourite places to walk. It’s flat, for one thing, so you don’t get too puffed pushing yourself up hill and down
dale. Plus there’s the ever-changing sea to gaze upon. But most of all, of course, there’s the Longest Bench, snaking crazily along the promenade, its slats inscribed with hundreds of heartfelt, funny or inspiring messages. All human life
Our Magnificent Seven grandchildren all have their names on the Longest Bench. Three slats, one for each family, incorporating their names with
lines from that well-known classic song “Oh, I do like to be beside the Seaside.” But, as you all know, the Magnificent Seven are about to become the Extraordinary Eight. Will we manage to find a space on the bench for Little Champ
(also known as Ninja Baby)? Mr B says I had better get “on the case”. And quickly.
We had a bit of trouble locating our slats today. We had to walk
up and down several times before we found them. Usually we just set a grandchild or two (or three) off on the search and they find them for us but today we had to rely on our own powers of detective work. It didn’t help that, despite that beautiful sunshine,
there was a bitterly cold wind blowing on the sea-front. So, while I like to linger over the inscriptions, looking for new ones, laughing at the jokey ones, reflecting on the poignant and puzzling over the cryptic – Mr B is simply keen to get out of
the cold. He was a Man in a Hurry.
Eventually, having located our slats, we headed for the restaurant on the sea-front where we secured a table for
two despite the fact that, today being the first day of half term, there were lots and lots of families enjoying a meal out. The noise levels made conversation a little difficult but this did mean Mr B could concentrate on his salad starter.
Even without the distraction of too much chat, there’s only so long you can make a bowl of salad last (even with a second helping of potato salad for Mr B and an extra
bread roll for me) and our main courses did seem to be taking an inordinately long time to appear on our table. On querying the delay, our poor waitress confessed that she had completely forgotten to place our order with the kitchen. She was so upset
at her error that we found ourselves commiserating with her and assuring her that we had all the time in the world (even though we actually knew we only had 45 minutes left on our parking ticket – and our car was parked right at the other end of the
All was well that ended well. Our meals arrived in double quick time and our waitress asked her manager if she could let us have one of our meals free.
We actually did rather well out of her mistake. And, we told each other, she didn’t have to confess. I’m sure we would have believed her had she told us that the kitchen was overwhelmed with orders on account of it being half-term. So we
left her a tip, purely for her honesty and hoped she didn’t get into too much trouble.
It was even colder on the way back along the prom to where our car
was parked. Remarkably, there were actually a few people sitting on the beach. Were they quite, quite mad? But there you are, show us a bit of sunshine and we Bucket-and-Spaders will head straight for the sea-side.
Like Littlehampton’s Longest Bench, there's nothing quite like it.