Sussex columnist: Bad backs and (vegan) beef burgers

There’s never a good time to ‘put your back out’, but I’d say the morning of a family wedding requiring you to spend 12 hours in high heels is less-than-ideal.

But that is what happened to me after we travelled up to Stoke last week for my brother-in-law’s wedding.

Having endured a four-hour car journey the day before, where my husband and I were asked approximately 47,000 times if we were there yet/how many minutes of the journey were left/when we will get to the wedding and various other variations of the same question, I thought that things could only get better (thanks, D:ream).

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Eagerly getting ready for the big day, I bent down to my suitcase to get something out, and on the way back up I felt a dreaded sharp stab of pain in my lower back.

I let out a yelp, and asked my confused children to help me sit down on the bed.

You might assume back issues just come with the territory since I’m – eeek – over-40. As a pre-geriatric, and having birthed two babies, maybe it’s considered par for the course. But, unfortunately, I’ve always had the back of a granny and this wasn’t my first dodgy-back-issue rodeo.

If I could attribute a slogan to the process of my getting ready that morning, it would be ‘keep calm and carry on’ (bleurgh, that’s almost become as cringe-inducing as me telling you I wanted to ‘become the best version of myself’ the other week, but still not as bad as the worst modern buzz phrase of recent times: ‘platty joobs’ – shudder!).

So, after the minor hot sweat and blurry eyes subsided, and I was confident I wouldn’t now pass out, I curled my hair and applied my make-up at a pace even a sloth would admire.

A friend happened to WhatsApp me and got more than she bargained for when I shared my tale of woe, but she suggested I try to lay down on the floor and stretch my back out a little bit.

With literal baby steps and a fair bit of grunting and shrieking, I made it down onto the floor and gently did some exercises. Which is where – five minutes later and dressed in just my underwear – my bemused husband found me when he returned from grabbing breakfast downstairs with his family (safe to say romance is dead after that unflattering image!).

He was able to help me into my dress, locate some ibuprofen, and with a bit of heave-hoing, get me upright in four-inch heels.

Once I got going, I managed okay. But I won’t have won any awards for elegance.

And it gave me an excuse not to have to chase after the children as they had the best time ever running around with their cousins all day long. Every cloud... Isn’t that what they say?!

After a year of meaning to, I finally tried new(ish) Worthing culinary offering Level 1 on Friday night.

With a plan to go out for dinner and drinks with former Herald alumna Sarah Cox but nothing actually booked, it fitted the bill perfectly.

Given the fact it was a gloriously warm evening, we weren’t alone in wanting to dine al fresco. But after an initial false start when there was quite a queue at 7.30pm, we went for a wander on the off chance a table was available elsewhere. There wasn’t, so we found ourselves back there 20 minutes later with no wait and tables available – result.

You can order from an of the food and drink kiosks via a QR code, and you can mix and match. Hungry after a packed day in the sunshine at the splashpad and sand park with my friend and our little ones, I needed a decent meal.

I chose a vegan burger and side of fries (to be washed down with a large glass of wine, naturally!). And while it was really, really tasty and I would definitely go there again, I did think a total of £16 for burger (£12) and fries (£4) from a food stall was a little bit steep.

But nothing can dampen my enthusiasm for long, balmy summer evenings out. And with an ever-increasing repertoire of great food and drink venues with outside seating in our towns, I doubt it’ll be long before I’m trying somewhere else. Hit me up with your suggestions, please!

Read more of Katherine’s columns: