Am home now after a few days around and about. Took Friday off work to go and see my Mum, make sure she is ok after her trip to hospital. She was very well, so that was great. Slight change of plan in that my bestest mate came with me down to Sussex, and the two of us ended up babysitting for my youngest nephew whilst Grandma and his big sister went to a funeral at church. My niece is in the choir so had permission to be out of school for the day so she could sing at the funeral service.
So, the three of us (me, my mate and 3-yr-old nephew) had a jolly time together. We played "cars" - a game of depth and strategy which entails driving small cars around on the floor, making the appropriate noises. When we got fed up with that, we watched the Johnny Depp version of "Charlie and and the Chocolate Factory" on DVD, which rather to my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed. Although I have to point out that the usually beautiful Mr Depp bore a more than passing resemblance to Michael Jackson which was frankly disturbing. Mum and my lovely niece arrived home after the service which they said went well, we had a cup of tea, and then me, my mate and my niece all went into town to have a look around.
Chichester is fabulous. If you've never been, go. You can park on the edge of town, then walk all over the city centre because it is almost entirely pedestrianised. I remember when that was done, at the end of the 1970s, not long after we moved there. There were all kinds of gloomy predictions about how it spelled the end of civilisation as we knew it, death to all traders in town, fleeing of local shoppers to Portsmouth, loss of the city centre vibe...you know the sort of stuff.
Well it is now abundently clear that all that was a load of bollocks. Chichester is beautiful, interesting, quiet and safe to wander around in, and has about the best variety of shops you could hope to find in a small cathederal city. And the Bishop's Palace Garden is lovely. Go there and admire the fish some time.
We then went to the world's finest bakery, which my Mum reckons is owned by Raymond Blanc and loaded up with bread and pastries, then back home to drink more tea, eat cakes and chat. Bloody great. I had the best almond croissant I have ever had in my life, so if Mr Blanc is involved I am not surprised.
I drove back to my mate's house the back way, i.e. not down the motorway; the woods lining the route were dark and full of bluebells. It was glorious.
Driving home this afternoon was glorious as well. The only downside to the weather being so fantastic is that the car is filthy. Not just "slightly dusty", I mean "can't see through the windscreen" filthy. Might wash it tomorrow.
And now I am happy to be home, looking forward to a night in with Mr WithaY.
Currently Listening : Love This City By The Whitlams Release date: By 04 November, 1999