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Caught napping by gulls after my £3 holiday treat

There are moments in your life when you mutter under your breath “I’m never going to become one of those people.”

Throwing rubbish on the floor, forgetting to turn your phone off in the cinema, getting conned into sending money to someone in Africa who claims you’ve won the lottery, getting attacked by a seagull.

Well, I can strike the last one off that list.

Breakfast by the sea - you can't beat it
Breakfast by the sea - you can't beat it

Hubby and I have had a couple of weeks off, the first spent at home painting the eaves (one day) and popping out for treats such as a trip to London, lunch with friends, and walking in the sunshine (the rest of the week).

The second week, we took ourselves off to Devon to a little apartment overlooking the sea, pretty much in the middle of nowhere.

One day, we found ourselves in Dartmouth. We wandered along the tiny streets in and out of shops and strolled along the riverfront dreaming of life aboard a luxury yacht moored up (check out the Grace E, yours for just €616,000 per week but you do get some waterbikes, a gym and a beauty salon).

Of course, when you are on holiday, ice cream is compulsory, especially if it’s sunny, especially if you’re near water and more especially if there is a local company selling award-winning treats from a shop in the town. It would have been rude to say no.

So we bought two cones (stem ginger for hubby, salted caramel for me) and found a bench on the water’s edge where we could sit and think how great life was.

A seagull started strutting in front of us and we tried to shoo it away, but it was far enough not to cause too much concern.

I’m usually pretty good at keeping birds away from my fish and chips (this woman has always been protective of what she’s eating) but with ice cream, I didn’t really give it a second thought.

What we hadn’t realised was that seagull No 1 was just the search party because with no warning at all, seagull No 2 swooped in, knocked my cornet out of my hand and onto the floor.

I didn’t hear it, I didn’t see it until it was too late and I didn’t feel it, even though he must have been perched behind me. Not even the waft of a wing.

I turned round expecting to see some teenage oik who thought it would be a laugh, but there was nobody there. By this time seagull No 2 was already trying to collect it’s treasure.

Thankfully Hubby was quicker and chased off the birds. By sheer good fortune, the cone was one of these fancy-Dan waffle ones with the ice cream all shoved deep inside, and sturdy enough not to have broken.

It had also landed face-up nestled completely within its napkin, so hadn’t actually hit the floor. Applying the five second rule, and a determination that having forked out more than £3 for my holiday must, I wasn’t giving it up that easily, it was Nikki 1, Seagulls 0.

A week on, I still can’t believe I was so stupid. How on earth did it happen?

It’s made me a little nervous about eating outdoors and has left me looking over my shoulder when I do, but the next morning the sun was shining and with a view like this, who could resist breakfast on the terrace?


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