I've never been so happy to be in my own home - Argus Friday 7th October 2016

Posted Tuesday 11th October 2016   By Ericka Waller

So we Air B&B’d our house and went to Chessington Theme Park for the youngest’s 5th birthday. Cleaning your house for total strangers to stay in is depressing. By the time I’d scrubbed the house from top-to-bottom, been to the dump twice and cleaned the oven out I became resentful. I wanted to stay in my nice clean house by the sea, not in a gaudy safari-themed hotel, but such is life. I was pleasantly surprised when we got to our room. It had a welcome quiz, which ended in a combination code that opened a safe of goodies.

'How many insects are in your room?' was the first question, (none I hope, was my first answer, but 0 didn’t open the safe), so we spent the next hour on our hands and knees pulling the beds out to try and find all the bugs in the ‘jungle patterned’ carpet. 

Then we climbed the walls looking for hidden compasses and butterflies. In the end we called Reception and demanded to know the correct answers. 

“It is tough isn’t it?” sympathised ‘Ben-from-helpdesk’ in a voice that was not without sarcasm.

Obviously the theme park was a nightmare. We queued in the rain for hours for rides our children demanded to go on, then decided were too scary, just as we got to the front.

“I’ve changed my mind” they said, followed by “I beg you,don’t make us go on” in loud screaming voices, so all the people in the long queue behind stared at us, no doubt wondering if they should call Security. 

We bought sugar syrup so the exotic Lorikeet birds would land on us. 

“Come on birdy-birdies” the girls said, thrusting their pots of syrup about “Come to us”. 

When the birds did as they were told and took flight towards them, the girls dropped the nectar and ran off screaming. 

Birthday girl spent the spooky tour of the 'Hocus Pocus' house wailing ‘why did you bring me here?’ (because you begged me) ‘there’s no way out’ (yes there is) and ‘I want to go home’. 

(So did I, but seven people I’d never met before, nor ever would, were currently using said home for a weekend of debauchery. They were probably making cheese-on-toast under my clean grill, then taking it upstairs to share with the cat, who is on a diet, in my clean bed, with my diary as light reading). 

“Take off the 3D glasses poppet” I said “then it won’t be scary” “I’m not allowed” she wailed back, “he’ll kill me”, she pointed at a drawing of a smiling wizard and shrieked even louder. 

It makes you wonder why you bother doesn’t it?

The only people who were having a worse time were the staff. I’ve never seen a bunch of more disillusioned, disinterested people in my whole life. 

They should go and work in Brighton, apparently we have the happiest staff in the country. Whoever undertook that survey obviously never visited a doctor’s Receptionist.

I’ve never been so happy to be home, even though it didn’t smell like home. The husband claimed the seagulls at been at the bin bag but I am convinced he tore it open himself so he could play Sherlock and find clues about our visitors. 


“Look!” he exclaimed “They bought a mini bottle of Peroni!” and then “Ooh, ready-made pasta and sauce. We don’t buy that” and finally “An envelope! To James and Ed. I wonder which one the kirby grips I found in the shower belonged to?”


I was too busy sniffing my sheets and checking my oven was clean to care. I was pleasantly surprised to find everything in ship-shape, and someone had even left a mini-bottle of posh shower gel in my bathroom. I’ll save that for the next guests.

And finally

A survey by ‘Bob The Builder’ has come up with the ‘Top 50 skills a father requires’. It includes drilling a hole in a wall, throw a ball properly, tossing pancakes and tell bad jokes. What a load of Hogwash, did Bob survey the characters from Peppa Pig? 

Bob should spend less time doing pointless surveys. Instead he should turn his ‘Can we fix it, yes we can’ approach to The West Pier. Our ‘Grand Old Lady’ is celebrating her 150th birthday, and there is a call for any option to save her.

How wonderful that would be.

I’ve tried to find beauty in the juxtaposition of her decaying decadence alongside the i360’s modern minimalism, but it’s a struggle. They are like diamonds and rust.

Brighton-based sculptor Jo Sweeting suggests the remains should be enclosed in glass with a viewing platform around it. It’s better than letting it fall into the sea. 

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