"Where have you brought us this time, Doctor?" asked Anji, looking around.
"Southend-on-sea!" announced the Doctor enthusiastically. "The latter end of the twentieth century, or near enough. I thought we could all do with a holiday."
Anji and Fitz exchanged sceptical glances. They’d heard him say things like that before. But before either of them could say anything (and doubtless earn themselves a Disappointed Look), they were interrupted by a familiar chiming tune.
"Excellent," said the Doctor, "an ice cream van! Come on, my treat." And he bounded off in the direction of the chimes, coattails flapping behind him.
"Ooo, I could murder a cornetto," said Fitz, following.
Anji rolled her eyes. She was actually quite keen on the idea of ice cream herself, but felt it wouldn't do to encourage them.
As she reached the van the Doctor turned to her, a huge grin on his face.
"Anji! What will you have?"
Anji rolled her eyes again, on the grounds that he'd run off too quickly to see it the first time, and announced with as much dignity as she could muster: "I would like a Funny Foot, please." Fitz stared at her.
"So that's one ninety-nine, one cornetto-"
"Strawberry cornetto," Fitz interrupted firmly.
"One strawberry cornetto and a Funny Foot."
"That'll be three pounds forty, sir," replied the ice cream man solidly, pretending not to have noticed their antics. They seemed to have that effect on people a lot.
The Doctor started emptying his pockets onto the counter. "Now, I'm sure I've got some loose change in here somewhere..."
Anji rolled her eyes for the third time in as many minutes (A new record! she thought, pleased) and produced a fifty pound note that she kept in her pocket in case of emergencies.
"You want to buy three ice creams with a fifty pound note?" asked the ice cream man.
"Yes," replied Anji, brazening it out.
The man muttered something that sounded suspiciously like "bloody Londoners", but he took the note and handed over their ice creams along with a fistful of change.
"You know," said the Doctor, as they walked down the road licking their ice creams, "the late Victorian novel Trilby, as well as of course inspiring the hat, led to a craze for ice lollies shaped like the heroine's famously perfect feet. Lollies, and a variety of other foot-shaped items. Terrible foot-fetishists, the Victorians. I've often wondered if the Funny Foot is related to that."
"Why do you always say 'you know' when you're about to tell us something you know we don't know?" asked Anji. The Doctor gazed at a passing cloud, feigning deafness. Fitz was staring at her lolly, a slightly appalled expression on his face. She bit the toe off with relish, and grinned wolfishly at him. He looked away, rather quickly.
They walked on, the Doctor leading.
"Bet you a fiver aliens invade before we've finished our ice creams," Anji said.
Fitz looked at the clear blue sky, the busy pier and the entirely ordinary-looking sea front, then cast an appraising glance at his half-eaten cornetto. "You’re on," he said, and they shook on it.
"No eating deliberately slowly, either," Fitz ordered Anji.
"Now, Fitz, I don’t believe Anji would cheat like that," said the Doctor confidently. "This looks like a nice place to stop." He sat down on the wall overlooking the sea. Daintily, he plucked the flake out of his ice cream and began to eat it.
Fitz and Anji joined him, and watched in fascination as he ate the entire thing without dropping a single crumb of chocolate onto his cravat. It was at times like this, Anji mused, that she really understood just how human the Doctor wasn’t.
And that's when they saw the thing with all the tentacles wandering down the high street.
Anji held out one hand smugly. "Pay up!" she demanded.
"It might not be invading," protested Fitz. "It might just be on holiday!"
"Like we’re supposed to be," complained the Doctor. "Oh well, better find out."
Some time passed.
"Alright, alright," said Fitz, as they arrived back at the TARDIS, all sporting exciting new bruises, "but technically they were robot squid things, not alien squid things. I’m not sure it counts."
Anji frowned, brushing brick dust out of her hair. "Adjudication, Doctor?"
"Actually, they’re alien robot squid things," the Doctor told them, unlocking the TARDIS doors and ushering them inside, "from a planet on the far side of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Anji wins."
"Five pounds, please."
Fitz looked shifty. "Can I owe it you?"
"I’ll add it to the total."
"Alright. Hey, what do you mean, total?"
"Well, there’s all those drinks I paid for on Viltro VI after you lost your credit chip, not to mention the cornetto I just bought…"
"After all that excitement," the Doctor said loudly, fiddling with the dials on the console, "what we really need is a holiday. Wait, where are you both going?"