So, as a treat to the girls for doing so well in their first week at school, I decided to time a visit from my parents with a trip to Brighton Pier. “Oh smashing” said dad, “I can have some jellied eels.” “And we can have candyfloss and go on the horsey ride” squealed Thing-One in glee. “And I can stay home and do some gardening!” said mum, looking at the Telegraph crossword.
So me, my dad, and three excitable children set off singing. After an hour of driving around looking for a car space, we stopped singing and parked back near our house, which is nowhere near the Pier and cost as much per hour as my weekly shop.
Facts about Brighton Pier
- It’s really busy, all the time.
- It’s always bloody freezing, like a wind tunnel.
- No one looks where they are going.
- You will always be photo-bombing someone.
- There will always be a hen party staggering about, blue-legged and half cut with condoms dangling from their veils.
- It costs an absolute fortune.
I thought £40 would be enough. I was wrong. £40 lasts exactly 12 minutes on Brighton Pier. A token is £1 each and all rides for children are three tokens each, for three (fast) minutes.
They were not tall enough for the Horse Carousel, the Helter-Skelter or the Haunted House, so after screaming, they went on the trampolines. I pointed out that we already have one in our garden which does not cost £3 a minute, nor do I stand near it wearing a fanny-pack and telling them off each time they jump up or down or have any fun at all. As usual, they did not listen.
Nine minutes and £27 later, they’d also been on the bouncy castle which was not bouncy, smelt of urine and hissed when lent on, a dinosaur ride that went up and down twice and the car ride, where Thing-three got stuck inside a mini rescue truck, while dad and I stood in the raging wind watching and waving like a pair of prats.
The candyfloss was £3 a stick. I refused to pay for one each so bought them a bag to share. Cue more screaming. Thing-three threw herself on the floor in protest. Thing-two’s lump of pure spun-sugar was whipped out her hands by the gale and chased down the pier by a group of special needs children in helmets.
The jellied eel stall was closed. The cash point charged me to take more money. We were there for less than hour. It was the most expensive almost-hour of my life.
“Well, children, did you have a nice time?” Dad asked as we set off on the long walk back to the car. “No” said Thing-One, “It wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t fair.” “I’ll drink to that” said dad, and he did.