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Saturday, 11 January 2014
One seven year old, one pound and the amusement arcade in Eastbourne Pier.
My husband goes shooting every other Saturday in the shooting season - which is around 3 months.
Our recent custom is that I take my 7 year old on an outing on shoot days (his siblings are adults, so he is like an only child). I tell him these outings are for his "social and cultural development". What we do is we troll through the Kent and Sussex attractions leaflet (from the library), and we choose one taking into account the weather etc.
Today was our last outing for this season and I asked him what we should do - it was a dry and sunny day. He said he wanted to go to Eastbourne and find a slot machine place - you know - the ones that have the cascading 2 - pence machines. Crumbs - do they still have those? I remember them when I was small.
Anyway we drove down to Eastbourne and parked practically opposite the pier - which is rather quaint and pretty with the sea in view.
The Pier houses the amusement arcade so when we walked to the end of the pier to have a look at what was on offer (most shoppes are closed as it's out of season), we went to the amusement arcade.
I gave Henry his pocket money of £1 - I have no idea what other children get of his age. Anyway I told him that he could choose what to do with it, and when it was gone - no more slot machines or you can get addicted!. We went to the change machine to get change. There is a lesson in all this - he had to work out how much change he would get from a pound. There was also a choice between the 10p machines and the 2p ones. He soon worked out that the 10p one wasn't as fun as 5x2p goes.
On every machine there is a gamblers addiction number - I pointed this out to Henry, saying that some people put all their wages in and can't buy food. So - when you have spent your pound - over and out matey!
One lady looked like an expert - she was middle aged and she was concentrating on one slot machine and doing rather well! She was strategically putting the money in at just the right moment and direction, clearly having had lots of practice. She must have chosen one which had the most coins dangling over the edge.
Another lesson was timings - how to time the coin so that it lands on the blank space and not on the other coins. Henry had a little success and his delight when the coins came tumbling down - about 10 in all.
I asked him if he wanted to quit after his winnings? No - he wanted to continue and spend it all. After one hour it was game over and he had had enough anyway. But it was a fun hour which cost a pound.
We walked on the seafront for an icecream and teacake in the full sunlight - golly it was quite warm for a January day!
My car ticket ran out so after 2 hours in Eastbourne we left.