I am back from my jaunt up North. It was a mixed holiday, there was fun, food, and puke. Essential ingredients of every family holiday, right? No? Just ours then. Our first stop was Bridlington, home of my Father In Law, this was our annual family pilgrimage to visit him.

Let me explain. I met my husband in Scarborough, where I was studying contemporary dance at university. He was living in Bridlington, and so was his Dad. We left together and moved to Bristol, which is really bloomin far away from Bridlington. Now we take our three small children on a six hour epic car journey up north to see him every year.

So two nights in Bridlington in my Father In Laws house. Usually pretty good fun, a traditional seaside holiday. Walks along the beach, ice-cream, rides on the little funfair on the seafront, lovely. Except when you choose the coldest, most windy weekend in recorded Bridlington history (not necessarily true but it was pretty damn windy). The sea was raging, foam was being blown literally miles, and at one point my Father In Law nearly got blown over turning a corner.

We were gung ho, we are hardy folk with waterproofs, we shall walk to the sea front and enjoy the dramatic weather we thought. Two minutes of enjoyment later and we headed indoors to spend our pennies in the arcades.

penny arcades


We headed for the slider machines. You know the ones, you put your pennies in a slot and they fall onto a moving platform which slides all the pennies forwards. When there are a heap of pennies on the edge they are tipped over and you win them. There are also very valuable prizes nestled amongst the pennies which may also be tipped into your waiting sweaty paws.

These machines are value for money. If you’re very lucky you will spend fifty quid and you will win a small pottery elephant covered in plastic jewels. Or if you’re blessed with the lucky gene you may win a large plastic eagle, useful in a variety of situations.

On this occasion though I got very very lucky. We filled all our children’s plastic casino type bowls with enough pennies to keep them going for a while. Wonder Girl and I joined forces and she excitedly shoved pennies into the slot. Until the slot got blocked, and would no longer allow our pennies to roll down to the sliders of joy. We were going for a cuddly monkey, the one off the well known teabag ads and I wasn’t going to let it evade our grasp. So I left Wonder Girl fiercely guarding our machine and went to get assistance.

I found a man and I’ll admit I took advantage of the situation. I’m not proud but instinct kicked in and I flirted. Yes I flirted for a small cuddly monkey (a toy for my child, your minds!) “Oh gosh you’re good at unblocking that slot aren’t you, I’ll bet you had to work hard to get so good at pushing those pennies down that slope didn’t you?” etc etc.

As he went to lock the machine back up, job done, I feared my flirting had been in vain. But no as he did so he pushed two monkeys to the front of the slope. Teetering on the edge they easily (only ten quid later) fell and Wonder Girl happily clung onto her monkey. It was a wonderful family moment and one that I had earned. For who else could have, or in fact would have, flirted with a middle aged man who smelled slightly of pee and worked in a penny arcade?  These are the moments dear readers where I am proud of my parenting, and proud of my utter and complete lack of shame!