Tuesday, August 01, 2006

sand and sandals
On Friday I walked out to the cliff, along the beach, through three villages, up over Brading downs, through another two villages, past my old high school and was home in time for lunch. Thus fortified, I persuaded my father to go for a little stroll with me through a nearby wood (and up a steep hill). We stopped off on the way home - via a deliberate detour - to sample the delights of the Minghella ice cream van. I had an oriental ginger cornet (one doesn't hear those words often enough, does one?)
Following an afternoon nap and a rather spiffing dinner, I set forth to my friend's house. I've known A since the first day of primary school and was looking forward to spending some quality time with her and her overner friends. A was anxious that the grockles experience a true Isle of Wight night out and, despite her best efforts, they did!
We started by the pier with the weary travellers succumbing to the delights of a Wimpy. They were served by a corpulent chap who would only take one order at a time. We were there for -well, let's just say there's nothing as slow as English fast food. Then onwards! A promised her mates a drink in "a real old-man pub - literally one man and a whippet". It was, therefore, with a sense of trepidation that we approached to hear 80s hair metal being resurrected by a man with a voice flatter than a slashed tyre. "It's karaoke!" I said in horror. A, in her infinite wisdom, thought otherwise, "It's a covers band!" And she was right. The pub was packed with an enthusiastic audience of "looks like crimewatch / dressed like baywatch" ladies and gents of a certain age (victims of the ageing effects of vodka, fags and gravity) rocking out to guns and poses anthems. We beat a hasty retreat to the - frankly chilly - beer garden and replaced conversation with frantic gulping.
The next stop was a fairly reliable bar on the High St, that said the last time I was there was during Euro 96 (or similar) and someone threw an empty pint glass at the television when England went out on penalties. I wasn't going to hold that against the place - especially when it appeared that it was packed with bronzed adonises (adoni?) decked out in fetchingly skimpy togas. Sadly, they left en masse while we were being served. I sipped possibly the worst glass of red wine I have ever had the misfortune to encounter as we huddled on a sofa. That wine must have packed a punch because, before I knew it, it was last orders!
The night was still young and - although we are not so young anymore - A was determined that the experience should continue with a visit to the Sandringham Hotel bar. A2 (A's boyfriend) was excited, "The caberet! The caberet!" A surly night porter waved us up the stairs.
The caberet was a, presumably mother and son, duo. He was playing a bontempi organ with all the smiling good cheer of Vince Clarke. We noticed that there was a suspicious wealth of noise to dearth of finger movement. Ah! The miracles of pre-programming. She was wearing a bold red dress slashed to reveal a cheeky amount of decolletage that heavily featured frills and flounces. She was dancing and singing with practised abandon and actually she was pretty good! Macy Grey song followed Keane song; rough growl followed smooth croon - we were almost won over. However, something was wrong. You know how I feel about sandals. I like sensible shoes...but even I had to admit that this was taking comfort too far. She was wearing orthopaedic sandals!
Eventually the show came to an end and so it was I waved them goodbye as they headed for a final drink and I walked towards my childhood home. You see I was worried that my sandals, linen trousers and silk camisole (in fetching muted browns) would look out of place in the Jolly Sailor, where the bouncers operate a door policy best summarised as "if you're not permatanned, you're not coming in".

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