We travelled about a bit. It was nice.
A cheerful stranger on his way out hears me and says, I know darling, isn't it fab, it's like a massive gay cathedral, just WAIT until you see the dining room. You will DIE. (I did not die, but we did shriek.)
Brighton, Pt 2
|We saw Steve Coogan in a window.|
I am buying a sandwich (no good can come of a shop-bought felafel wrap) and two men behind me haul their baskets up. One basket is full of Mr Kipling's Lemon Slices; the second is full of Tesco Chocolate Chip Cookies; the third, three bottles of wine and family-sized packets of Ready Salted crisps. I say, I must congratulate you, those are the finest baskets I have ever seen. One of the men says, you know, I got sick of those fad diets, they weren't working for me, so I invented my own.
I met Dave Shelton - known to me as internet friend and illustrator of the fine pictures you see in this masthead, known to everyone else as (award-winning, although he would never tell you that himself) author of the very brilliant A Boy And A Bear In A Boat - in person for the first time. It was everything we could have wished for and more. We talked of cashmere private jets and drank pints of beer.
Cambridge Pt 2
They had a thing I have never seen before: a Pifco Boiled Egg maker that I think I broke by piercing the egg too enthusiastically. It sort of frothed up and frondy bits stuck out of my egg. Has anyone else ever seen one of these? I am intrigued. I think it was made around 1973.
We stayed in a B&B with a parrot on a pouffe, hand-written signs on everything and little pots of jam on the table in the morning labelled (as if written with the left hand) :
We had to choose our breakfast the night before. I would like a kipper but I won't, I said to the owner, they are delicious but there are other people here and they may not like the smell of fish in the morning. The poached eggs I had instead were a chimera of poached and fried eggs, and the bacon was salty. Nice bacon, I said, expecting them to say, yes, it's from the local butcher, it is organic, locally sourced, home-cured and made from a pig called Rosie. We changed to Tesco smoked, they said. And then the man in charge appeared: just a tiddler, he said, laying down before me the biggest kipper I have ever seen, splashing about in butter. If you can't eat it all I'll give it to my two seagulls, said the lady.
We went with our two dear friends to eat delicious pulled pork from the back of a caravan. It rained and 10 Dutch teenagers rushed in; the caravan rocked; we admired each others' shoes. It stopped raining and we went for a mini walk on the beach. This was what it looked like. I promise I haven't done anything to these photographs: if anything, the sea glowed more than it does here:
Behind us apocalyptic clouds gathered, but strangely did not gather over the bit of Sussex that Paul McCartney lives in. I don't know if the McCartney Microclimate officially exists, but if it doesn't, it should. Here is a photograph of it : this is what it truly looked like - no trickery or fancery.
Despite apparently having the most terrifying bonfire night celebrations of anywhere on earth, Lewes - where more dear friends live - seems like an excellent place to live. It has proportionately more shops selling Recycled Overpriced French Tat than any other town in the UK. It also has very high quality cakes, which is reason enough to visit.
We ate a lot of cake that holiday, and saw a lot of friends. It was very nice. Nicer than the snowplough that just drove past and the thought of work in the morning, but I have the memory of cake, and that should see me through.
*I told this story to Monkeymother who said, they must have been buying things for church. I am not sure what religion it is but it is definitely one I would like to join.