SMALL LIFE IS HERE
SMALL LIFE IS HERE
“With eyes that see the romantic in the familiar, we
wander in search of excitements and satisfactions in
Geoffrey Fletcher spent a lifetime finding beauty
in the mundane and overlooked, producing 18 books
between 1962 and 1990 including London at My
Feet, City Sights, Pearly Kingdom and his best
known The London Nobody Knows. Best known
because strangely it was made into a film with the
actor James Mason giving a guided tour of
Fletcher’s fabulously dingy domain. Whilst it’s nice
to see the footage, the perfect medium for the subject
is the drawing and description in his books. One of
these, a scene in Limehouse, starts with the words:
“Urinal, drinking fountain and gaslamp – all three
under a grim railway arch: what could be better?”
With his descriptions of ruined squares of
crackled stucco houses, cast iron area railings,
terraces of sparrow brown houses or the odd bow
windowed survival, his world crosses over with John
Betjeman but without the snobbery and
sentimentality. Fletcher sees at once the
possibilities, the connections and goes for it with
M e e t S TA N L EY ! ! Page 16.
incisive wit whether it’s a doorway in Deptford, a
Mayfair club or the meths drinkers of Vauxhall.
In the early books the descriptions are fairly brief,
but in later years the restraint is gone and he lets rip
in a fine irascible camp style. Geoffrey Fletcher was
born in 1923 studied at the Slade Art School and
contributed regularly to the Daily Telegraph and
Guardian. He died in 2004. Much of what he BUS Rides.
described is gone and London is the poorer but much
is still there. The important thing is his way of
seeing which inspires one to look at new subjects in
the same manner.
The DVD of The London Nobody Knows is
currently available online and his books from every
other second hand book shop. WmB
We are pleased to report that the two dogs
abandoned in Wickham Market have found a new
home in Old Town.
New owner Mrs Brown said: “As soon as we
saw their photo in the Star we knew they were the
dogs for us. They looked like such a lively pair.” SB It's a day I'd been dreading for a long time but I still I knew it wasn't worth telling them about all our
wasn't prepared for it when it came. customers who adore the fabric, the loosely woven
I rang my order through as usual – 50 metres of cotton once widely used for sports and schoolwear
white, 50 of eau de nil, 50 of pale blue – only to be and still generally referred to as ‘aertex’ (even
told the devastating news. No more blue. though ‘Aertex’ is a brand name rather than the
I was rather fond of our two old pressing units. What do you dangerous” and put it in the
to be “downrightmean, no more blue? You've no generic term for that type of cloth).
With their green Hammerite casing and more in stock? soldiered on until it would no
skip. The other There’s some on the looms waiting Over the years I've heard many emotional
Bakelite control knobs they looked like they to be be coaxed But pumping up water.
longer rolled off? into no, the answer was that pale reminiscences about wearing the fabric - from
might have come from a Lancaster bomber. blue was finished. Kaput. much to look at –
The new boilers aren't happy holiday memories to jolly hockey sticks and
They were made round about the middle of the Turns out they haven't woven the fabric they
encased in white steel cabinets on castorsfor the crumpets to traumatising school changing room
last 25 years They’ve been sitting on old stock incidents. But one thing’s for sure, it draws more
last century by "Danor of Southgate" – could be some form of medical equipment such
which has finally run out. Apparently, when the passionate comments than any other fabric we offer.
according to the plate riveted on. We kept them schoolwear manufacturers moved and they come
as kidney dialysis machines – over to polo shirts The cotton weaving industry in this country is all
much longer than we should have. they warnings about drawing water supplies
with were left with thousands of unwanted metres. but finished. For the moment, pale blue is survived
Old Norris in Limehouse would refurbish Unfortunately for us they won’t main cranking
from ponds and wells. But theconsiderthing is by his siblings eau de nil, white, navy and black but
them every few years but recently declared one up the steam, again for less
copiousmachinesminimal fuss. than 2,000 metres. sadly not for much longer.
For more cats on ladders see Page 2.
By Will Brown.
The first time I became aware of him was by way of
a ridiculous pantomime cough he performed to
attract someone’s attention. Anyone’s attention. He
was happy to talk to any of the few people waiting
outside the Alliance and Leicester for the X5 bus.
The next time I saw him was early one morning
at the other end of the journey, in the seaside town
where I now know he lives. He did exactly the same
trick, coughed to attract attention and then was off
in his cheeky chappy style of banter with anyone
who would listen – the driver, the young mums or
the pensioners too early to use the free bus pass. He
stood smoking by the bus doors until time for the off
when he lugged a huge sports bag up to the back
and held court.
Cut price El Tel.
NADDLES, Midhurst. It turns out that he works via an agency for
supermarkets and small department stores
BINNY and DOLLY, Cromer. demonstrating or selling various products, hence
today the big bag of clinking bottles. “It’s an
alcoholic drink but it’s different ‘cause it’s made
from fruit”, he said, like he’d never considered
where wine, cider or schnapps came from.
I thought, he’s a character, like a vacuum cleaner
salesman or a costermonger. Also a rarity – there
are few people of working age who take the bus
round here unless they’ve been banned from
I’d say he was 50ish. Stocky, balding, his
remaining hair swept straight back, with something
of the look of Terry Venables. His face had that
shiny just shaved look and you could imagine him
slapping his cheeks with aftershave which he’d need
to combat the faggy smell which hung about his
black dandruffed coat with the too long sleeves
which the barrel-chested are often afflicted with.
This cut price El Tel could have been convincingly
FUGEE, Hackney. played by Ricky Gervais. So I quite warmed to this
bloke with his barrel bag and matching chest and
Max Miller chit-chat.
I became the willing victim of his affected
opening salvo the next time I saw him. I asked him
what he was up to today. He said “Valentine’s Day
promotion. It’s cheese, but topped with chocolate.
No really, it’s nice. Unusual, innit?” The next time it
was bread “It’s good stuff this” he said patting his
tum. That’s beer I thought and had this vision of
him padding around a Pinteresque seaside flat in a
string vest before smartening up to go to the pub. In
fact I chanced upon him in a pub and expected some
good value as this was the environment he had
surely been made for, but no. He was very economic
with the verbal.
The last time I saw him he was off to tell the
citizens of Fakenham the great news about Uncle
Ben’s Garlic and Herb Wok Rice. “I’m looking
forward to Monday,” he said. “Morrison’s own
quiches and scotch eggs again, is it?” I asked. “No,
I’m off to Bangkok for a fortnight’s holiday.” I
didn’t press him further on the matter.
ALBERTINE, Saxmundham. WINKIE and JOE, Romford.
The ordinary things are often the best. Here follows Slow Travel.
a miscellaneous collection – subjective and
unabashed, of particular things that catch the eye, or Wherever possible I go by bike, sometimes with
lift the spirits or warrant a mention. my Patterdale terrier in the basket – his butter
wouldn’t melt in the mouth expression frequently
Scrap paper. interrupted by furious outbursts at passing postmen,
skateboards or sitting cats. Slow pace travel is best.
It is hard to impress on some people the When motoring I like to take the country route
importance of throwaway bits and pieces to the and whenever possible cross the railway line at
collage maker. Two single sheets of paper saved Crambe (in North Yorkshire). You stop at a white-
from the bin have been invaluable. The first, painted-closed-wooden gate, ring a bell and wait.
whipped out from under a heap of Cox’s apples, Presently a pleasant man climbs down from his well
patterned with Union Jacks has kept me in jaunty maintained signal box and opens the gate. You
flags for half a decade. They billow in cut out thank him and proceed, admiring his tomatoes in
harbours and off paper rooftops from Scarborough grow bags on the way.
to St. Paul’s Cathedral. A similar pleasure can be had navigating the
More prized still is the second sheet, a Yare at Reedham, a single car roll-on-roll-off ferry
herringbone-tweed printed paper, once a wrapping chugs back and forth across the narrow river most
for a bunch of daffs, now the supreme found texture satisfyingly. Chains clink, you buy your ticket. A
ideal for a finch’s wing, a cockerel tail or a pigeon’s life buoy is to hand in case of emergency.
Pigeons. The Post.
Why cut paper pigeons? people ask. The humble In praise of the post. A well penned brightly
street pigeon is all around and overlooked I say. See stamped envelope is a joy to receive or send. Why
afresh its beauty – the rich subtle plumage opt for a lone stamp? As a rule I select a raucous
variations, blue grey with barring, mauve with Treasure. mix of coloured stamps including at least one nine
pence stamp – a wonderful yellow, and arrange
checked wing coverts and delicate iridescence at the
Spring comes in York with the first car boot sale, them artfully to the bemusement of some members
neck. Best of all a pied bird in the park: red legged
an event rich with the smell of bacon sandwiches of the post office staff. Snail mail perhaps, but post
and white faced, its clear-eyed benign expression as
and the promise of untold treasure, a field full of that packs a visual punch is a must for me.
compelling as the splendour of some exotic
wonderfully disparate artefacts and searching eyes
immigrant prized by the twitcher. The pigeon’s my
bird of choice every time.
on the hunt for a find, a lustre cup, or wooden toy –
you never know till... you reveal a Victorian swan
Further related reading can be found in the
Blood Oranges. spill vase at the bottom of a box. “Two pounds an
item. Any item two pounds.” “I’ll take this thank Saturday Books – with wonderfully eccentric and
There is nothing better than a blood orange in you.” acutely visual contributions from Olive Cook and
season, one which is wrapped in tissue perhaps with Good things need not be perfect. I picked up two Edwin Smith – who note tissue orange wrappers,
a Spanish lovely peering out at you, or a fecund Staffordshire figures on horseback (from the antique pearly king costumes and much more besides.
orange grove ripe for the picking or memorably an shop opposite the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge). The
alpine Chamois poised on an Italian peak boldly first a fine steed with a broken foreleg – as if injured Mark Hearld’s work can be seen at
vignetted. Unwrap, flatten and retain the tissue. in battle. The other mount was sound, his rider once www.stjudes.co.uk and at
Next unpeel the tawny russet skin and finally a decapitated now repaired was bought for a song, his www.godfreyandwatt.co.uk.
blood red sherbet sweet segment in the mouth. scars his history.
Must the Show Go On?
Morrissey, Britannia Pier, Great Yarmouth. 15th May 2009.
Monday, Albert Hall: show cancelled. Wednesday, Birmingham Symphony what a story for her to tell the grandchildren - how she supported the Great
Hall: show cancelled. It wasn't looking good for the modest Britannia Pier Morrissey back in the day.
Theatre Great Yarmouth on Friday. They left to tepid applause and the curtain was raised to reveal a backdrop of
Morrissey hadn't been well. He's had a fairly patchy record of turning up for a muscular sailor. The all seated theatre became all standing with a crush to the
his own shows lately. There was no definite word on the internet so the journey front and on came the old fellow, and how fantastic is he?
across the flatlands was made with small expectations. Voice a little weaker than his last time in Norfolk three years ago and the
The Britannia Theatre above the wide sands is utterly charming with its old band pulling more than their weight, which in the case of guitarist Boz Boorer is
fashioned cinema style seating, usherettes with trays of sweets and a stage more considerable. He sang a few crowd pleasing Smiths songs and some from his
used to seeing the likes of Tom o' Connor and Roy Chubby Brown than the more recent and to my mind finest albums. The shirt came off and showed he
former Smiths front man. A small open door to one side revealed a scene of wasn't looking too bad.
waves breaking on distant Scroby sands with its wind turbines. Valiant stage invasions were repelled before the final number First of the
There was a bit of a scramble for seats then journeys to and fro with wobbly Gang to Die to which he added the words from Big Dee Irwin’s ‘60s hit
plastic pints before and during the warm up act which happened to be ‘Doll and Swinging on a Star. It wasn’t the best I've heard him sing but as a Morrissey
the Kicks’. The pixie like cavortings of the singer were wasted on this crowd but moment it was perfect. WmB.
WAS NOT MY
By Will Brown.
This is the street, it's somewhere down here, left
hand side, a bit further along. It's the one on the
corner. Turn ninety degrees to get a good look at it.
That's the house I grew up in. I'm not actually there
of course, I'm looking at Google Street View.
I knew every inch of that house and garden and
to see it for the first time in thirty years feels very
strange. It was a large, detached, Crittall windowed
post war council house. Now it looks a bit smaller
and has all the usual kind of improvements. It‘s still
an average looking house in an average town.
Borehamwood, my old town, was famously dull.
Outsiders used to call it Bore-em-stiff but there was
one speck of glamour in our young lives - we had
the film studios.
My uncle Pete used to drive cars to the studios
when needed for filming and would occasionally By Andrews of Arcadia.
turn up at our house in a black and white 'Z car' or,
more thrillingly, the green nineteen twenties Anyone with a good knowledge of regional a bag of chips and a loose cousin.
Bentley that John Steed drove in The Avengers. In newspaper publishing in the last century will recall In Arcadia, a world where pints of mild still exist
my primary school playground word got round that the thrill of the appearance at five o’clock on a and Out of the Blue is planned as a funeral march, I
Steed was in fact my uncle. Saturday of a sporting supplement known in some still fantasise about the existence of a Sunday twin
For films and T.V. our local streets were towns as the Pink ‘Un and in others as the Green supplement to the Pink/Green ‘Un dedicated solely
regularly cast in the role of 'Nowhere in particular' ‘Un. to fishing match results.
which they played very convincingly. Even better Named after the colour of the paper they were Printed on sky blue paper similar to the long
than Street View, I can watch the old clips on You printed on, these were the newspapers of your gone Fishing Gazette this great organ would carry
Tube and see the streets as they actually looked in dreams – not littered with leaders, letters pages or the result of the Pork Pie Classic at Gunthorpe
my youth. Marvellous thing the Netty. court reports but consisting of a couple of pieces Bridge and tell the world who managed to scrape
There's Thelma, Bob's wife from The Likely of folded paper bearing rushed and often half an ounce of bits from a flooded Thames at
Lads working in my local library. There's Stan in incomplete match reports and football results from Richmond. Reports and results from places where a
On The Buses heading into the launderette in the games played that very afternoon. bream can break your heart, a bucket of bleak can
parade of shops just around the corner from where On those distant afternoons when rain fell in cheer you up and every public house still has their
we lived. There's going to be a right old mix up over front of floodlights and all football league games own angling club.
some ladies underwear in a minute. except those being played at Tranmere, Torquay The Blue ‘Un would be read at the table of The
There's randy, blonde mulletted window cleaner and Hartlepool kicked off at 3pm, television, let Magpie after a blank day on the weir and used to
Robin Askwith cycling the length of our high street alone Sky television, didn’t exist in most homes. line the drawer where you keep your best worms. It
behind the opening credits of Confessions of a The arrival of the ‘Un was as exciting and would be the week’s essential read, a telegram from
Window Cleaner. The same street where Dudley comforting as the sound of Out of the Blue, the the lost world, carrying the day’s results in the
Moore works as a Wimpey Bar chef in Bedazzled. BBC Sports Report theme tune, is today. A Sowerbutts Cup and a single quarter page strip
For a later generation the town and its studios constant, a life affirming moment in time that advert for the late Frank Murgett’s Maggotorium.
might be associated with Star Wars, East Enders marks the beginning of the weekend proper. The They say you don’t miss what you’ve never had
and Big Brother, but for me it's frozen in time as the perfect prelude to a pint of mild and a lock in at but that isn’t the case with the Blue ‘Un.
home of the low brow, smutty English comedy of the Royal Oak or a night in the parlour with half www.andrewsofarcardia.co.uk
You may have heard of the expression Pre-heat the oven to 175C. Put the Add in the roasted beef bones,
"like a dog at broth" which means to beef bones in a large roasting pan and reserved dripping from the roasting
go at something hastily and roast for an hour. Turn them every so pan, tomato paste, salt, parsley and 2
voraciously – which is exactly what often so they brown on all sides. litres of water. Bring to a boil over a
these two little scamps do when Once done, drain out the fat. Put high heat, cover and simmer for 2
presented with their favourite tea: Dog the pan on the hob at a medium heat. hours.
Broth. This is how to make it. Take: Add in ½ cup of water and loosen up To use as a broth, strain the whole
1½ kilos meaty beef bone the meat from the pan. Make sure to mixture, let it cool, and refrigerate.
1 cup each of chopped cabbage, celery loosen all the browned bits left on the Take off any fat from the surface and
and carrots roaster. Keep all these drippings. either refrigerate this or freeze it.
¼ cup tomato paste or blended In a large pot, heat the oil over a To make soup, take out the beef
tomatoes (3 or 4 tomatoes) medium heat. Add the cabbage, celery, bones, and pour the vegetables over
Parsley, salt and water. and carrots and stir until tender. some dry dog food.
Miss Willey invites you to accompany her down the aisle.
If you want to cut down on your calorie intake you But the best thing is the Butlins style bing bong
may want to pay a visit to Budgens. The times I’ve announcements which are generally pie related,
trawled the isles at 6pm ravenously hungry looking something along the lines of “Welcome to
for a tasty serving suggestion and more often than Morrisons. All of our pies are now half price.
not come out with bottle of bleach and some kitchen Another good reason to shop at Morrisons.”
foil. Possibly in the winter months I’ll be tempted If it's top notch shopping you’re after then
by a box of firelighters, but who could resist the please make your way to Larners in Holt, known
glow of Sunny Jim? locally as the Harrods of the North Norfolk coast.
One of our customers came up with a good It's not a supermarket as such, more a purveyor of
slogan for them “Budgens – where you do some of provisions and groceries. The stock can look like it's
your shopping". Looking in the baskets at the till it geared to a different generation – Epicure smoked
is indeed “some shopping”. Cat food, cheap booze, quails eggs, a whole shelf given over to anchovy-
gravy granules, fish fingers, milk and a big purple
one. Not like the trolleys you see loaded up in
based products, the full range of Tiptree jams. A
generation of retired colonels whose taste buds have
Morrisons. Now that's what I call shopping! dissolved from too much whiskey and cigar smoke,
Everything is massive, it's all on an industrial scale. little wifey by their side daintily arranging Roka
Sacks of crisps bigger than a small child, catering cheese biscuits on a hostess trolley. Anyone for a
On a recent visit to London I arranged to meet Old
tubs of margarine, huge vacuum packs of wafer thin snifter? It’s stoically middle class and gentile,
Brown at the Royal Festival Hall which like the rest
ham, bottles of fizzy pop and blocks of cheese that shopping from a different era. Trolleys are kept to a
of the South Bank has changed considerably over
could double as a doorstop. minimum, it's everyday shopping that fits neatly into
the last 15 years.
There are a couple of things I particularly like one basket.
I'm not sure about midweek but on a Sunday it's
about Morrisons. One is the scotch pies, another is Shopping in Spar doesn't even require the basket,
clearly a very popular meeting place. It's open plan
the older gentlemen who work on the till who like to it can all be fitted in to the crook of your arm. Milk,
and spacious and seems to attract a lot of families
comment on the contents your basket. “Oh, saffron. toilet roll, newspaper – leaving your right hand free
who can spread out in the modern way of things, sit
Which plant does that come from? Don't tell me it for your lottery tickets, 'bringing home the bacon'
on low squashy sofas, read the papers and ‘bliss
was on television the other night.” “Oh, olive oil. and I don't mean the type you put in between two
out’. After sitting for a while with Old Brown
That comes from Spain doesn't it?” slices of Kingsmill.
soaking up the atmosphere and reminiscing about
the days when it was virtually impossible to get a
cup of tea and a digestive on a Sunday we were
intrigued by an announcement which came over the
It was an invitation for anyone who felt inclined
SEXY. Dominic Thelwell, the 'Man in a high wind' has
moved. Familiar to Londoners and tourists he has
to come onto the floor and with a musical I love knitting and I think it's great that it’s stood near the London Eye with his inside out
accompaniment express themselves through dance. becoming more popular. I don’t even mind the umbrella and trailing scarf for over ten years. He has
It was then I had a strange feeling of deja vu. knitting groups that are being set up – Knit and now appeared in Covent Garden Piazza.
Butlins! Knatter, Purl and Prattle, Cable and Carp (or maybe When asked why the move? He replied (out of
There are some differences, the most obvious that's a fishing group...) – but it’s just not attractive the corner of his mouth) “'Mona Lisa in a picture
being the way the RFH celebrates its heritage – the to be seen actually doing it. frame' has stolen my trade. I thought I'd try my luck
Skylon Restaurant and the gift shops stocked with First, you have to sit in a 'good light'. For this, here”. Womb
mid 20th century knick-knackery – whereas Butlins read incredibly unflattering. You need to sit up
seems to be doing its level best to distance itself reasonably straight with elbows in – hardly languid
from any association with the 1950's. New chalet
blocks at Skegness are called the Hamptons
– and adopt the knitting pose – chin tucked in, so no
fine profile, and peer over the top of your glasses.
although I suspect you won't bump into George You put up a physical barrier around yourself with
Clooney while queuing for your full English. wool, needles, pens and paper, patterns. And the
But it was the similarities that were striking.
Butlins also has an area reserved for dance and
actual act of knitting is, well, quite spiky, with
elbows and needles moving about.
expression but the background noise is more likely
to be Rhianna, Beyonce or Girls Aloud rather than
My friend Jane said that she was knitting the
other night with a rug over her knees and the cat on
an African drum beat. Both dance areas are her lap. Her husband Richard walked in and thought
corralled by food outlets, albeit with different it was his nan sitting there. Which is my point
menus. Triple chocolate Belgian muffins, exactly. Drawings by
homemade granola, curried parsnip and apple soup
(Royal Festival Hall); Papa John's pasta and pizza,
I should think it highly unlikely that anyone has
ever said "Put that wool away, you little minx. I'm KEITH VAUGHAN.
Finnegans fish and chips and Burger King (Butlins) overcome with lust". (The response to which would 2nd to 25th July.
The bars are identical but then bars usually are, probably be "Hang on, I've just got to a tricky bit".) Catalogue available.
whether it's a cocktail in a glass (RFH) or cocktails And I'd put money on it that nobody has admitted
in a jug – get chilled! – Bar Rosso (Butlins), alcohol “Do you know, the first time I really fancied her Abbott and Holder Ltd
transcends classes. Consequently the overall feel of was when she was sitting there knitting those grey
both places is very similar – a holding area for mittens". Like many other pleasurable occupations, 30 Museum Street, London WC1
families who can sit, eat, drink, dance and relax all knitting should be done alone. In private. Because it www.abbottandholder.co.uk
undercover while their children go berserk. MW just ain't sexy. AS
By Jo Bunting.
Class 121: Special Family Interbreed Champions.
Class 122: Supreme Interbreed Champion.
And so the list of classes in the agricultural show
programme went on. Quite a number of families
were wandering around who looked quite special,
and who could certainly be interbreed champions,
but the classes, it transpired, applied to categories of
An expert on cows was giving a running
commentary as the animals paraded round the ring.
“Just look at the lovely evenness of rump structure
here”, he said with relish. “You won’t see better er
udder definition anywhere.”
What fabulous names these animals have –
Shadowfax Arabella, Dunmoor Mutford Mayday,
Gatterley Goldmine. They sound like characters
from a racy Victorian novelette. Gatterley Goldmine
would be the villain, striding around in breeches,
while Shadowfax Arabella would float past in a
swirly dress. Meanwhile Dunmoor Mayday would
love Arabella, but bebeing working class and therefore
not husband material, would just hang around on the
estate looking swarthy and diving into ponds.
By Will Brown. On the other hand, there was a calf called Gemini
I don't know if there’s already been a television one for daytime drinking – you end up feeling Jordan Charmaine, up until now a name only heard
series and spin off book where a celebrity pensioner sunburned even though you've been mostly inside. being bellowed by a woman wearing leggings in
– Michael Palin, Germaine Greer – travels around Probably better is to get the bus to Wiveton and Lidl.
with a bus pass. It would certainly be a low cost have breakfast at Wiveton Hall. Yes really. Just Many people think the recital of areas in the
production. Perhaps it could be sponsored by walk up the drive like you own the place and you'll shipping f forecast sounds poetic: Tyne, Dogger,
Windeeze. come across the delightful outhouse which the Fisher, German Bight, Sole, Fastnet. At the
I know the perfect bus route for the first Honourable Desmond McCar McCarthy has turned into a agricultural show we had the “sheeping forecast”:
programme: the Norfolk Green Coast Hopper. It cafe. If you don't see him you’ hear him shouting
you’ll Cotswold, Galway, Leicester Longwool, Teeswater,
runs between Cromer and Hunstanton, along the at the dogs. You can have a fantastic home home-made Wensleydale and White Face Dartmoor. Beautiful.
cliffs and by the salt marshes of the Nort Norfolk
North style fry up sitting at tables under pine trees looking The names, anyway. Sheep aren’t actually that
Coast, shadowing at a discreet distance the coastal
hadowing out to sea over the marshes. beautiful and seem to urinate a lot when being
path. If you haven't got a bus pass it’ll cost you £5,
aven't Now back to the TV proposal. There's Germaine paraded around. But it was a splendid day out, and
breaking your journey as you fancy in the flinty sitting on a rustic seat by a flint wall with
tting perhaps by next year, Gemini Jordan Charmaine
villages or seaside towns. hollyhocks behind. She's doing her specky granny will have calves of her own and Shadowfax
The buses run every half hour and they'll stop look. The music comes up... that one by Groove
s up...it's Arabella and Dunmoor Mutford Mayday will have
anywhere along the route. So a bit of walking, a bus, Armada...“If you're fond of sand dunes and salty finally plighted their troth.
a beer, a spot of lunch at Morston, I'm sure you get
, air, quaint little villages here and there...". Holiday
The 63rd Aylsham Show will take place on Bank Holiday
the idea. It's marvellous. I tried it once as a pub How's that for programme one? Next week Janet
r Monday, 31st August 2009 at Blickling Park, near
crawl (in the name of research) but I'm not really Street Porter on the Isle of Wight. Norfolk.
In Praise of Salthouse
By Scott James Donaldson
T’was the summer of 2008, which is almost a distant memory now, but the threat of contamination or lawsuit.
summer it did be, and Salthouse we did visit. Once the beatific Jack Russell Kerouac’s crab salad had settled within his
Accompanied by our handsome, debonair young pup, I took a trip with my furry belly, we permitted ourselves a lengthy walk of almost fifteen minutes
wife, whose name I simply can not remember, and drove the two miles from our along the stone-clad beach and, all things considered, this was not dreadful. In
fine, rustic lodgings, in our cramped but comfortable 4x4, to view the famous fact, the woollen genius of Mr Dog- evsky
-toy-evsky shone through so finely in his
harbour town. And even Pig Dickens, one of the many literary pseudonyms collection of sticks, chewing of rocks and examination of the human soul in
within our dogs possession, engaged with the surroundings immediately, distress, that we are now considering buying a house nearby.
meaning that we were in luck. nclusion,
And so, by way of conclusion, I would like to recommend to you fellow
Having partaken of an incredible luncheon at Biscuits, or Crackers, or adventurers, a journey beyond the city limits that is actually worth taking,
Cookies, or whatever my wife says it’s called, the three of us loosened our belts eard
despite what you may have heard about life beside the sea.
for a while and enjoyed the surprisingly pleasant air which swept upon us from Come to Salthouse: our dog really quite likes it.
the aged, underdeveloped seafront, and dreamt of glorious times gone by: times Scott James Donaldson thor
is co autho of The Bento Bestiary, published by
when waste of any kind could happily be accepted by our great ocean without Nobrow Publishing
inquire about Jayne, Janet or Juliette.
Holt. It's a bit nerve wracking at first getting the hang
of the steering (they have engines not sails) and
making sure you don't collide with other boats,
England : East wherries, ducks or nesting birds and then the
Norfolk : North potentially embarrassing bit when you come to
Market Town : Georgian moor, between two stationary boats (best not to try
Population : Elderly. Memory: Hazy. Visibility : Poor this tricky manoeuvre after a couple of pints of
Small Shops : Abundant
But once you have the hang of that it's a doddle.
Butchers. Fishmongers : Several Then all you have to do is glide through reed beds
Dover Sole . Whiting : Plentiful and lily pads looking for a suitable place to drop
Coastline : Fair anchor. It's all about nature and relaxing so stick to
Flint Cottages : Farrow And Ball : Widespread destinations like West Somerton and Horsey, away
Scattered Bungalows : White Gloss from the supersized pleasure boats.
Brancaster . Blakeney : Prosperous
Sheringham . Cromer : Moderate To Rough Sailing with Norfolk Etc.
Caravans Moving Across From Midlands : Imminent By Theo and George Lazarides,
Transport : Poor. Leading To Deep Depression schoolboys from London.
Every summer we sail for a week from Morston
If you fancy a jaunt to this neck of the woods, Miss G.A Key's Auctions of Aylsham. Telephone 01263 Quay, with the company Norfolk Etc. Our
Willey will be happy to recommend places to stay. 733195. instructors are all teenagers who live in North
Here are her suggestions for places you might like Always worth a look at their general sale every Norfolk and have sailed for years. They are really
to visit. Monday, plus specialist sales throughout the year. fun and above all give us a sense of freedom.
The cafe is full of old boy Norfolk types. Coats We are actually allowed to sail dingys on the sea
North Norfolk Railway, Sheringham. Telephone on our own. We know someone is always watching,
belted with string de rigueur.
01263 820800. in case we capsize or get hit by the boom (at least
If you feel like being adventurous and travelling East Anglian Transport Museum. Carlton once a day) but it gives us a real sense of adventure.
to Norfolk by public transport it can be quite a Colville, Lowestoft. Telephone 01502 518459. The way you are taught to sail is always through
memorable journey. The train from Norwich to You don't have to be an anorak to appreciate the doing it. We have races, play at pirates and are able
Sheringham gives you a glimpse of the Broads, a delights of this transport museum - just an eye for to leap from boat to boat. It is very safe but there is
number of churches and a couple of wooden detail, a liking for moquette and a fondness for egg something about it that makes it feel like the most
crossing keepers’ cottages. sandwiches. Set in an unpromising suburb of adventurous thing you can do.
If you time it right, you can then take the steam Lowestoft it succeeds in a way many bigger The best days are the sunny ones but with
train from Sheringham to Holt. This takes you museums don't. The scale of it is quite modest but enough wind to be able to go fast, it is as though
through Weybourne and across Kelling Heath which what they have on display is all top notch. someone has given you the keys to their car!! We
is stunning gorse and heathland. Then twixt sea and Started in 1962 with a Lowestoft tramcar body really love it, it is because of the adventure but also
pine you arrive at Holt station. There’s sometimes a rescued from its use as a summerhouse, it now has because of how kind and friendly the instructors are.
no 38 Routemaster bus to take you to the town on display trams from Blackpool, Amsterdam and The cold , rainy days when they all look after us
centre, otherwise it’s a mile walk. Possibly a little London, trolleybuses, vintage buses and, in a garage are still just as fun. We sail in groups but they make
drawn out for some, but if the wind’s in the right awaiting restoration, a 1935 dustcart, a 1948 sure everyone can do their best without you really
direction it’s marvellous. milkfloat and a 1935 bread delivery van. knowing that you are being taught anything.
Not everyone's cup of tea I know, but if it's a At the end of the week when you see what you
St Judes Gallery. By the Village Shop,
cuppa you're after pop into the Terminus Tearooms. have achieved it is hard to believe it. We are racing
Itteringham. Telephone 01263 587666. Open
Converted from a prefab, they have managed to this summer and really looking forward to it.
Thursday to Saturday.
capture the atmosphere of a vintage bus station cafe
As well as Angie Lewin’s distinctive and with a menu to match.
collectable prints, the gallery is a showcase for St
Judes fabrics and stationery. In the St Judes
If you fancy a day poking around a greasy
garage, inspecting the interior of a road mender’s
tradition, collaborations will be in the offing with sleeping wagon (a bit like a shepherd’s hut but with 10, Augusta Street, SHERINGHAM.
other artists such as Mark Hearld, Johnny Hannah shovels instead of lambs) and admiring authentic
and Chris Brown. LUNCHEONS and SUPPERS.
street furniture, then I highly recommend the Bus
Richard Scott Antiques. High Street, Holt. Event on July 12th. Vintage buses will be on hand to www. no10sheringham.com
Telephone 01263 712479. take passengers from Lowestoft station. Reservations 01263 82440.
If you like pressed glass, Sunderland ware, Another date for you diary: September 12th and
13th, Trolleybus weekend. It would be a very cynical
Staffordshire pottery, china tea bowls and Victorian
glassware you will like Richard Scott Antiques and person indeed not to be charmed by this delightfully
you'll also like the man himself. He always has time English Museum.
Fish at its VERY BEST.
for a chat and having worked in the restoration dept. Martham Boats. Martham, Great Yarmouth.
at the V&A he’s incredibly knowledgeable about Telephone 01493 740249. FISH PIES - PATES
the stock. Not in a pompous way, more in a friendly I admit that holidaying on the Norfolk Broads TARTS - FISHCAKES
vicar meets Alec Guinness sort of way. He’s also may not sound like an idyllic way to spend a week –
very good at impersonations. See if you can get him unless of course it's on a lovely wooden 1950's Stable Yard, HOLT.
to do the two cockney workmen employed to scrub cruiser with solid wood interior, green Formica Telephone 01263 711913.
up priceless sculptures in the V&A stores, it's better surfaces and cosy built-in cabin beds. If this appeals
than any Pete and Dud sketch. then I suggest you contact Martham Boat Yard and
Noteworthy “Old Style” Salads.
Telephone 01263 7405552.
Drink Beer at the
20, High Street, HOLT.
Wet Shaves by Appointment
Telephone 01263 713020.
“World Famous Cromer
Crabs Gather Here.”
Noted for their Sweetness.
Garden Street, CROMER
By Miss Ellie Finlay from Gloucester.
Can you find the ten differences between the two pictures?
Drawing by Beth Morrison.
weekend, even if it’s just for one night. We’ve
bought a wind up gramophone and a stack of 78's
from Key's auction and very quickly filled the
caravan with junk so it’s now resembling Freddie's
Freddie and John are generally hanging around
the site, more often than not looking for some free
grub. An awful lot of caravan hopping goes on
which involves the pair of them disappearing into a
van and emerging some time later looking pleased
Freddie is about 70 but it’s impossible to put an
age on John - he could be 25 or 45. When not eating
they’ll be mending nets or fiddling around in their
shed looking purposeful but always keeping an ear
cocked for the kettle going on. John in particular has
a sweet tooth and tends to linger a bit too long after
he's demolished half a Battenberg and swilled down
several cups of tea.
Fred enjoys a practical joke - like the time he
removed the wheels from our friend’s car. She had
to go to his house to reclaim them and answer
questions: Can you cook? Can you clean? I'm
looking for a wife. He even took part in the TV
Caravans of Love?
programme Game for a Laugh. He had one of the
vans removed from the site to see the expression on
the owners’ face when they turned up for a relaxing
weekend. Oh how they laughed.
Evening walks are particularly lovely in the
summer, especially after a downpour. In the back
lanes of East Runton the air is sweet with the smell
of cow parsley and Alexander’s. Once around the
October 1989 about manages to keep a straight face. We don't pier then back to the van to read or listen to
care, we just need an escape from London. gramophone records. All together now "When father
“I have a van for you. Meet me at the site. Freddie
Unfortunately it’s the end of the season so we can’t papered the parlour you couldn't see Pa for paste,
Love”. The note arrives in the post. The ‘van’ is a
use it until March, but we celebrate with a couple of dabbing it here, dabbing it there, paste and paper
caravan, the site is in East Runton just outside
bevvies in the Hotel De Paris and make plans for the everywhere".
great caravan makeover
We’d stumbled across the site when were out Spring 1992
walking on one of our weekends away from Spring 1990
London. It charmed us instantly. It was small – only By now we've become smitten with Norfolk and
We've gutted the van and Will’s spent the winter keen to move out of London. One weekend we see
9 vans, a ramshackle toilet block, a wooden hut making new cupboard doors for the kitchenette.
filled with fishing nets and floats and a couple of an advertisement in the local paper for a shop in
They’re now a lively shade of green with chrome Elm Hill, Norwich with a flat above. Within a few
older style caravans, the rounded 1960's type. Hello, handles. It was a bit of a struggle getting them up on
we thought, this looks like our sort of place. months we’ve signed the lease and are on the move.
the train but worth it. The walls are cream and we've We hand the keys of the caravan over to Will's
We made enquiries about the owner. Freddie used brown lino paint on the floor.
Love, we were told. Lives in West Runton but isn't sisters who enjoy it as much as we did...well, for a
It has a double bed which cleverly folds up into short time anyway.
on the phone. You’ll have to go to his house. Bit of the wall (perfect for a caravan but somehow never
a character. Even better, we thought, South London Freddie in his old age is getting difficult. He’s
looks quite right in a studio flat in Knightsbridge) and chopped down the hollyhocks and poppies we’d
prepares you for characters. two single beds which double up as the seating area.
We found the house, easily identified by its planted and lets himself into the caravan when no-
It’s primitive to say the least – an enamel bucket one’s there and removes things “for safe keeping”.
bright red door, the sign saying Buckingham Palace serves as the lavatory – but we do benefit from gas
and the line-up of dolls heads on broom handles in The final act comes when Will's sister Alice turns up
lamps. They have a distinctive smell which we for an Easter break to find the van gone. It’s not
the window. I hung back just in case he had a become very fond of.
Staffordshire pit bull (it really was time to move out another practical joke – he’s replaced it with a new
It was a particularly frosty night in March when one and sold it plus the pitch to someone else.
of London). we spent our first night under sheet metal and it was
He didn't but it was still a bit scary. Freddie We report it to the police who are keen to get
like sleeping inside a fridge. Rule no 1: don't try to him for something but Freddie has some story about
opened the door, eating baked beans out of a tin, replicate the 1950's holiday experience with blankets
followed by his son John and an overpowering our caravan falling over the cliff edge. "It's probably
on the bed. A 15 tog goose down duvet is essential in France now", he muses. Strange, we think,
whiff of the crabs they were boiling up in the back when the temperature outside is minus 6C and there’s
yard. With a house full of junk and Freddie in his Holland you could understand.
ice on the inside of the windows. It’s a sad and untimely end to our seaside retreat
fisherman’s gansey and flat cap, they were the Within a couple of weeks though we’re fully up to
Norfolk version of Steptoe and Son. We were but as the saying goes when one door closes another
speed with the caravanning experience. I can even one opens – or maybe it’s twelve doors in this case.
caught, hook line and sinker. knock up a fairly decent meal on the cooker and
We explained that we wanted to buy a caravan if A couple of weeks later we’re reading the local
changing the gas bottle has become second nature. paper and an advertisement catches our eye: “1890's
one ever came up and left our address. He promised
to get in touch and a few weeks later he did. Summer 1990 railway carriage for sale, ideal restoration project”
We meet on the site and as luck would have it, Having the van has given us the opportunity to
it’s the van we had in mind. Price £500. Freddie just ...To be continued.
escape from London which we do virtually every
LIFE’S A DITCH.
The Ramblings of a Gentleman
By Romany Johnson.
By Alice Spencer. Whether by pilgrimage to Canterbury, meanders
along the willowed banks of the Thames or rising
over Leith Hill, I walk along ancient track ways trod
for a thousand years by the ghosts of other
I like nothing so much as a summer carnival in a
g The Queen's float is at the front. It’s a
seaside town. Starting with the build build-up – scaffolding lorry splendidly covered in white net, And before night falls my thoughts turn to camp
scrutinising the photographs in the local pap of the
paper crepe paper and glitter. There's a brass band in front when in a secluded glade I will draw a taught line
carnival queen contestants, whether or not we'll and the town crier walking alongside sweltering in between two ancient trunks and cast over a tarp for a
have the Red Arrows this year, getting the pullout
rrows his uniform. The Queen doesn't look too good either roof. In an improvised hearth a warming fire is
map from the middle of the paper and tracing the – a bit green around the gills – which isn't surprising
d struck to hang a billycan for tea, and a bedroll is
route. as the night before she'd had to attend the Carnival spread upon the ground. So satisfied with my lot I
The Carnival queen and her attend attendants are Ball at the Winter Garden and was bored rigid by
nter rest weary bones, lulled into an honest sleep by
chosen and announced. The Queen and one of her the five course dinner and the speeches. She'd gentle breezes and the distant serenade of a wise
attendants are invariably pretty and a completely
d finished the night outside the Viking nightclub owl. For the life of the gentleman Roamer is much
obvious choice. But they always choose a really big
se snogging someone she went to school with. as always has been in all respects bar one. The
plain girl as the second attendant, as if to say “ “it's So the poor Queen’ feeling pretty grim,
Queen’s matter of correct and appropriate attire!
not just about looks, you know” concentrating on not being sick from the diesel
The sense of what is proper and correct is as
Then there's the frenzy of construction. Walking
zy fumes of the lorry, trying to for
, forget about her wonky as a broken compass and alas the finery of
around town you turn a corner and come across a
und thumping head (the brass band isn't helping and
he helping) the breech and knee sock are become rare. The
huge lorry with seats and arches on the back and a remembering to wave and smile at the same
subtle hues of corduroys and woo len replaced by
group of women winding crepe pap paper around time. All she'd wanted was a bit of glamour and a techni-coloured
lycra and fleece assembled in a techni coloured
everything and snapping at each other. possible career as a model. standard
mayhem. Nowhere is this fallen standard more
We're given weekly updates on how Little The floats roll past. The WI float looks great, manifest than in the region of the head garb. No
Angels nursery is going to decorate its float. W
s We done up 1940s style. Actually, they're probably j just more the centuries old weather beaten wide
hear that its only through the generosity of local wearing their own clothes. The lifeguards get a big brimmed felt hat or the cowpat tweed ‘flattie’
businessman Mr Whoever that Nature's Way health cheer, largely because they're almost naked and very usurped by the baseball cap. Sirs I must protest!
shop can now be in the carnival after having all its
l sun tanned. It goes on and on. You wouldn't think And the click of nailed hobs on the Tarmacadam has
costumes stolen. We see countless pictures of the
less there were so many organisations and businesses in sadly passed and the stick has become metalled and
carnival Queen visiting the local old people's home, a town this size, let alone them all wanting to join
- her sash getting grubbier as the build up goes on. in. Well I can report that there is a revolt afoot for
Finally, it’s here. It's a gorgeous day, the sun
ous Then that's it – it’s over. You've just watched the this gentleman of the road will not bow to this
blazing down. The parade runs the length of the
s last straggy little floats go past and frankly, you're a modernism and is still to be seen striding over hill,
promenade, hotels one side, the se sea the little bit bored by the whole thing now. People drift weald and down clad correctly for his trade in twill
other. People start lining the route from three
g off and there's just the whiff of hamburger and stray
st breeches, high socks, and dependant on the climate,
o'clock, even though the parade doesn't start
arade bits of crepe paper floating in the still hot a tam-o-shanter or deerstalker proudly a top his
until six. air. Tomorrow the carnival proper starts with a head. Shrouded from the elements in a simple un un-
The children are getting over excited, the men display of gymnastics at the bandstand by the ladies
astics breathing rubberised cape and protected from
(who don't want to be there anyway) are ey eyeing up of the Health and Beauty Society. wayward dogs, roadside vagabonds and footpads by
the beautiful teenage girls wearing virtually nothing 1981 was a vintage year. My daughter was in her a stout blackthorn 'knob' that will soon see them
and the women are either being ratty with their pram wearing nothing but a nappy and smot smothered in away. Lower legs wrapped with canvas buskins or
husbands or admiring the local firemen (in dressed Mr. Whippy ice cream. It was all the above and, puttees resistant against clawing mud and
down versions of their uniform) who wander up and when we got home, I found that the pram was full of disgruntled adders.
down the prom rattling buckets collecting for the coins thrown down to the carnival collectors wh which And so attired I will oft be found tramping in
benevolent fund, competing with carnival collectors had missed. And we had the Red Arrows that year. suitable weather and inclement clothing.
who have different coloured buckets. There's something essentially grim about
It's six o'clock. The roar of conversation quietens carnivals in English seaside towns. Whilst the
down to a hum of anticipation, as they await the first celebration of a little heard of Saint in the smallest
sounds of the carnival music. And then – yes, you village in Spain can make Queen Elizabeth's
can hear it – the first far away sounds of the mos most coronation look like an intimate party, we are hard
annoying music in the world. Neither brass band, pressed to come up with anything more than a line
fairground or pop music but a hideous combination
eous of decorated vehicles and twenty quids worth of
of the three, all blurred together. But it’s great. Here
’s fireworks. But then it only really matters to the army
it is! People start cheering and waving flags and of harassed women and red faced men of the Town
coins rain down from the hotel windows, as people Guild, who are already planning next year’s event,
chuck money down to the waiting firemen (no even though they swore this would be abs absolutely the
health and safety then). last time they’d get involved.
which has some faintly alarming straps to keep me
from falling, and immediately feel the need for the
corridor facilities. After a couple of short ladder
climbs and longer walks up the corridor, dressed in
a way that would get one removed from a branch
line, I lie under the prickly wool and cold cotton and
dream of a night’s rest, before emerging into the
Western world of Barbara Hepworth and brilliant
After an hour of wobbly progress the train stops
in a siding. Through a plastic ventilation slide I can
make out some words on a white board. Slough at
night has much to recommend it, in that one can’t
see much of what drove the Poet Laureate to call for
the B-52’s and it tickles me to think that is where
the Riviera Express pauses for an hour or so, to push
the passengers over into the arms of Morpheus. It
might work better in daylight, though.
How the Cornish Riviera Express will look in the 1950s. Six hours or so later, and an hour outside
Penzance, the man with the sideburns slides us in a
tray of tea, coffee and biscuits. The charm of this is
hard to overstate. Yes, the tea is too strong, the
coffee too weak to defend itself and the biscuits
By Matthew Loukes. wouldn’t trouble any infant dentition but so what?
Close to midnight, under the soaring cathedral of like ritzy, having an atmosphere somewhere There was an early Great Western Railways
Brunel’s train shed at Paddington Station, the last between a dole office, a singles bar and a cross- poster campaign for the sleeper service where the
drunken commuter has grabbed his pasty and channel ferry, but just seeing a train carriage with tag-line talked of experiencing one’s “own country”
Standard for the journey. The reheated and the furniture that isn’t in rows seems to me to be because Cornwall and Italy had “similar shapes”,
obnoxious combining in newsprint and greasy impossibly exotic “climate” and “natural beauties”, illustrated with a
pastry. A few people stare forlornly at the In the twin berth, private accommodation, our pair of women in modest traditional dress, with the
departures board, facing a five hour wait and some man shows us the ladder for reaching the top bunk, West Country beauty winning the day with a racy
cold stone to sit on. But we are standing on a remote the chrome light switches, the red plastic heating pair of bare feet. The feelings evoked by this poster
platform, tucked to one side, outside some sadly control and the coat hooks; all of which are worthy live on – in Paddington, in a Slough siding and in
dark offices that once had been waiting rooms. I can of mention in any decent design history. We also get the utterly British tea-tray. The attempt at being
see these rooms filled with smoke, steam, tannin and directions to the bathroom and, of course, the sink exotic fails totally, of course, but that’s precisely
well-buttoned passion. Now they contain blue crates hidden under another slab of white industrial plastic what gives it so much charm. Bravo, as they
and have tape on the windows but that doesn’t stop (what’s wrong with the blue?). The bedclothes probably don’t say on the Riviera.
my imagination chuffing off up the track, imagining comprise heavy blankets in something nervously Estrella Damn by Matthew Loukes is published by Soul
Albert Finney bellowing “Stop That Train!” or approaching tartan, pillows slightly thinner than an Bay Press.
Marilyn doing a sidestep in front of a dragged-up after-dinner mint and sheets that squeak with
Curtis and Lemmon. cleanliness and starch, like a Conservative’s wife.
My reverie is broken by my wife nudging me in The “what do you do in the middle of the night” Marianna Kennedy
the ribs as a guard beckons us towards the open door question has to be addressed, I suppose. All I will
say is that one would need to be either male and
of a carriage that looks more Leyton than Orient.
This is the Riviera Express to Cornwall, a sleeper taller than five feet six, or a considerable gymnast, Bookcloth Blinds.
service to Penzance that has run, if that’s the right to think about it with any degree of seriousness.
term, since 1904. Back in the bar – sorry – the lounge, with the
Venetian Glass Mirrors.
The man greeting us wears a peaked cap train still some twenty minutes from departure, the 3, Fournier Street, SPITALFIELDS.
matching his dark blue jacket, a fine collection of scene is not exactly one of abandon. The collection www.mariannakennedy.co.uk
enamelled badges and regulation 1974 sideburns. of holiday makers and people who take this journey
His face is a nice shade of post-box red, burnished as part of their job are forging some uneasy
by the rushing wind through train windows and, alliances. A couple of what used to be called
perhaps, the odd glass of Pale Ale at the end of a commercial travellers are making talk small enough
shift. The look is a little bit like Bernard Cribbins in to need a microscope, trying to ignore the family
the Railway Children, if he’d been a Teddy Boy. beside them who clearly haven’t told their teenage
Our guard shows us to a twin berth, which lies children quite what they meant by “Riviera”. I’d
behind a brown wood-effect door trimmed in love to ask the two men if they are sharing, but can’t
polished metal set into a corridor made from what quite think of the way to express it. Sadly, the
looks like white Formica. I try not to look operating companies are well on the way to
disappointed. Not because the interior isn’t the removing this relic of different times by phasing out
polished wood of the Wagons Lit to Istanbul but the “single berth” ticket where one would share the
because what I’d been hoping for was the royal blue tiny sleeping space with a stranger of whom the “Life is a Pig Sty”
plastic with ‘atomic’ cross hatching that was so train company would only guarantee they would be
widely used on 1950’s rolling stock. But before we ”of the same sex”. I think when it came to choice of
The Finest Pig Arcs in the
get the full tour of our quarters the guard takes us up bunks a coin was tossed. Eastern Counties.
the corridor and into what he calls “the lounge”. In the privacy of the cabin, after some smuggled
This is a carriage done out with comfortable drinks and sandwiches, bed-time coincides with the www.clarkesofwalsham.co.uk
chairs and a bar in one corner. It’s not anything. slow pull out of Paddington. I take the top bunk,
The Duke of York.
Roger Street, London WC1.
Gin palaces had their origins in chemist's shops back The inter-war austerity might have been painted
when juniper flavoured hooch enjoyed a reputation over but it's still there in the scuffed chequerboard
as an elixir. The liquor was mainly sold to take lino, dark panelled walls, crittall windows, Formica
away or to drink standing up in the shop. In the topped tables and an exterior of cream polished
1820's the shops got bigger, cut back on the tiles. The Duke of York is tucked at the end of a
apothecary's remedies and increased the sale of beer mews in Central London, built into a 1930's block of
in an environment that combined high craftsmanship flats.
with unabashed vulgarity. The Princess Louise in Best experienced if one assumes a liberal
Holborn is one of the last. interpretation of when six o'clock actually is – I find
The front of the pub is a mixture of marble stretching it to about 4.30 is about right – and takes
columns, leaded glass, and enormous carriage up position in a dark corner, watching the sunlight
lamps. Inside an ornate ceiling and pearly globe creeping across the floor.
lights take one back to a time of mutton-chop It's not perfect; a change of landlords a few years
whiskers, foggy nights and the clack of walking ago has brought in some new furniture and an
sticks on the pavement. The drinks come from the unwelcome emphasis on food. So go now, before
Samuel Smith's brewery, which aren't to everyone's they start putting jugs of lemons on the bar or
taste but put that to one side pop in and go to the installing a television. On the right afternoon, it's not
lavatory. hard to imagine having a pint spilled on you by
It's not the first thing one thinks of when visiting Patrick Hamilton or catching Trevor Howard
a public house – in some that I know it's the very squeezing the hand of Celia Johnson. ML.
last – but the gents in the Louise are a treasure. The
combination of dark wood, tiled walls in cream and
green, mosaic flooring, polished brass and marbled
urinals make a visit an urgent requirement. ML.
1. Norman Balon, the Coach and Horses, Soho.
The Powder Monkey, in Wallsend, part of the
Sizzlers pub chain. Happiness, not normally
The Goldsmith’s Tavern, New Cross.
The Magdala Tavern, Hampstead.
associated with Mondays, being guaranteed due to
the price of a pint of lager being slashed by 83
4. The ones we had in mind were Sloane Square Earlier in the year Blackpool was in the news when pence, from £2.42 to £1.59.
and Liverpool Street but there appear to have one of its famous landmarks Yates's (formerly Chinese Jimmy is normally first through the
been more than that, so others were accepted. known as Yates's Wine Lodge) was burnt to the doors. Owning a take-away appears to be the ideal
5. A pair of trousers allegedly belonging to the ground. When the chap being interviewed said they career for a committed socialiser. Jimmy will be in
artist Walter Sickert. would restore it to its former glory my ears pricked and out at least a dozen times during the day. I'd
6. The Metropolitan Tavern. up. love to know where he keeps going to. I could be
The winner has been notified. We would include his I'm proud to say I remember Yates's before it wrong, but I suspect he's not sourcing fresh local
name but we can’t find where we put it. All other was refurbed, when it was still like a wild west produce for the Pearl Garden.
correct entrants will receive a small consolation saloon. Long mahogany bar, staff in white waiters Kevin Riley, a seriously depressing bloke, pops
prize. jackets, sand or sawdust on the floor and they served in at about half past 12. Last December he was
some muck out of oak barrels called Australian sectioned and spent Christmas in St Nicks. He'd had
white. It was basic and serviceable and really quite a protracted custody battle with his ex, over the pet
Neal’s Yard Dairy beautiful.
Unfortunately in the 1980's it became
rabbit. He actually secured custody (he paid her a
grand for it!) but the strain was just too much and he
Branches in fashionable for breweries to introduce soft had a complete breakdown. The rabbit dying
furnishings into pubs. So out went the characterful probably didn't help.
COVENT GARDEN and features and in came the swirly patterned carpets, Physically, if not mentally, things are looking up
comfy seating, plus the faux collections of artefacts: for Kevin. His RSI is much improved since they
BOROUGH MARKET penny farthings, copper warming pans, flat irons installed an extra 42" plasma T.V. at the other end
and empty stone beer bottles. of the bar. He can now alternate his leaning elbow, a
We sell CHEESE. I'm hoping common sense will prevail. I'd like to real boon.
think that the original bar will be reinstated, along The food menu in the Monkey is huge and fairly
with the bentwood chairs and Britannia pub tables. low maintenance – a quick wipe with a damp cloth
Etched glass mirrors can be skilfully reproduced to and it looks as good as new. I reckon at least half of
look as authentic as the original. If they do I will be the choices involve oven chips and frozen peas.
For all of your BANJO back like a shot. You'd think it would be difficult to spoil oven
and UKULELE needs. I’ll also be on the look out to see if Robert's chips. Apparently not. Chef appears quite keen to
Oyster rooms are still intact. Spartan mahogany and join his mates saving 83 pence on every pint, so I
marble Edwardian dining rooms selling seafood suppose he does have an excuse.
platters and serving tea from plain white china. Well Next time, Tuesdays in the Powder Monkey -
at least they were in 1984. quiz night. Wilf
I had a real stroke of luck the other day when I
By Arthur Dobson Willey, Pitman Poet received a cheque from the CIS. I had sounded them
out with an extremely tentative claim for
We have a little motor car compensation. They replied with an immediate offer
We’ve had it quite some time of £2,000 stating that it was company policy to
But now its getting on a bit attempt to settle all such claims with the minimum
Its long since passed its prime of distress to their clients. I thought this was
extremely generous, considering I was only
When first we got our little car claiming for tomato sauce stains on my white Fred
We all were filled with glee
Perry after the lid on a tin of sardines finally became
We used to clean and polish it
Each opportunity detached with that severe uncoiling action. As a
preventative measure, I normally put the tin inside a
We used to pile into our car carrier bag before opening it, but could only find a
On sunny days and ride 'bag for life' and I thought that was a bit over the
Along the open leafy lanes top. Should you develop a fondness for all things
To sea or country-side tinned, an industrial sized roll of Elastoplast will be
It used to skip along the road Tinned fruit is another favourite of mine.
At bends it never faltered Mandarin segments on a Sunday teatime, served
It used to romp up steepest hills with ice cream and plenty of the syrup to make a
Its speed remained unaltered wonderful sauce. Great for hangovers. I understand
you can now get tinned fruit in natural juices. Why?
It’s carried almost everything Finally, the daddy of them all, gone but not
That you can bring to mind Brisling's an oily fish and supposedly very good for forgotten - Campbells Condensed Cream Of Celery
Including coals and bricks and sand your joints. Better than that though, it tastes great Soup. Mind you, I always thought that a full can of
And folks of every kind and served on toast makes an excellent breakfast. water resulted in excessive dilution. Half to three
But time and tide has made its mark 90% of the working population probably have a quarters produced a much more robust flavour. Wilf.
On our small transport humble sandwich for lunch. My favourite filling is without
It cannot face the littlest hill question Pek. Cheap white bread, margarine and
Without a mightly grumble pepper, thickly sliced Pek and just a hint of the jelly
from the tin. Absolutely superb. GOING UP IN THE WORLD.
The engine’s worn the steering’s gone Although ring pulls on tins are a bit Tomorrow's
The paint-work is a joke World for me, they are invaluable when the tin A few years ago I saw old Black Pudding in the
And everywhere that we go now opener is lost/broken. I prefer a basic opener, not the doorway of Betfred looking pretty sorry for himself
We leave a trail of smoke ones that you have to stab the tin with, but the next in cap and muffler. He'd fallen off the menu in the
model up. The really elaborate ones with white greasy spoon and was after the price of cup of tea.
The battry’s gone the light’s are dim plastic handles never seem to last long and there's Blow me the other day I ran into him in Sloane
THEtyres bare and baldy nothing more frustrating than an unopened tin of Square. He'd just stepped out of a swanky restaurant
The radiators sprung a leak ravioli and a tin opener that's just bitten the dust. to smoke his cigar. “You've come up in the world
And the carpets all are mouldy Black Pudding”, I said. "Boudin Noir to you" he
And don't get me started on those key mechanisms
found on tins of corned beef. said. WmB.
So now we think the time has come
And parting will be hard
To send our little motor car
To some car breakers yard
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.
If fortune smiles and we could buy Sickert: slim not shady. Tootal Sympathy.
Another car so splendid
“Evening Star, you bring me everything – you bring I would like to thank your newspaper for the recent
I doubt if it could bring the joy
That small Black Ford Eight car did the wine, you bring the goat home, you bring the advice on what not to wear in Newscastle. You see I
child to its mother.” These lines of Sappho were too have a polka dot Tootal scarf and had every
amongst Walter Sickert’s favourite quotations and intention of wearing it at Jimmy Nail’s H’way the
he had not even encountered Old Town’s excellent lads tour at the Gateshead Tram Shed Stadium,
publication! though as my scarf and I go everywhere together, I
Much as he would have enjoyed the last issue, I have decided to cancel.
think he might have been put out at the suggestion Furthermore I would like to express my
that he had acquired such an out-sized pair of symphathy regarding the name calling Will recently
corduroys as those illustrated on page 2. In the late encountered at the hands of callow, unsophisticated
1880s, when he is supposed to have bought them, he yobs. Quote: “F*****g paedo”. I would just like to
was as svelte as an acrobat and proud of it. add that here on the Isle of Man my Old Town dark
Publicans and old Music Hall artistes are blue serge sometimes provokes similar reactions.
notoriously unreliable sources of information. They Though last week while judging the World Tin
are quite capable of inventing anything – for money, Bath Championships, I had an uncommon surprise. I
or for the chance of a mention in a quality had just pulled on my round horn rimmed glasses
newspaper... when some young chav shouted “Oi, Le
All best wishes, Corbusier!”. It quite restored my faith in the youth
Matthew Sturgis of today.
Mr Sturgis is the author of Walter Sickert: A Life
Drawing by Beth Morrison. published by Harper Collins. Ed PJD
Fabric? You Want
Instead of ordering fabric over the telephone from a
regular supplier we occasionally get the chance to
visit a fabric merchant. Invariably merchants are
Jewish and the buying process can be a beautiful
piece of performance art.
Merchants sell ends of lines, generally from a
factory or a manufacturer who has gone out of
business. Usually their stock is wrong for us –
polyester satin, fancy denims, fake fur, leopard print
lycra (no, we've never been tempted) – but
occasionally it’s possible to find a gem: tweed,
melton or fine cottons which have been hanging
around for 10 years or more waiting for the right
customer to come along.
Sadly many of the merchants have disappeared
over the last 20 years along with the decline of the
Stanley in cotton twill. textile industry. Most were around Brick Lane – the
more memorable being Mark and Mencer (the Mike
IT’S A BOY! and Bernie Winters of the shmutter trade), Halstucks
(Mrs with her lopsided wig), Gallia Textiles (stretch
We're delighted to announce a new addition to the denim a speciality) – but many have been replaced Here at Old Town we’re often asked to provide
Old Town brood. He's called Stanley. by a new generation of curry house. outfits for stage productions. We recently made
Stanley is the mutant offspring of Borough and Some, like Empee, have moved out to “Cow coats” and "Overall jackets" for a production
Marshalsea and a long overdue brother for Overall. Edmonton. They used to be good for denim, of Major Barbara at the National, "Vauxhalls",
He’s displaying many of the characteristics of especially woven stripe or herringbone, so we paid a "Lounge jackets" and waistcoats for Carmen at the
Borough – 3 buttons, patch pockets – but without visit recently. But other than an interesting journey Royal Opera House. But apart from an episode of
Borough's generous, accommodating demeanour. through Stamford Hill it turned out to be a waste of Silent Witness when a schizophrenic gardener ran
He’s already developed a rather rebellious streak time. Not a natural fabric in sight. It was quite amok wearing Old Town we rarely get asked to
demonstrated by a cheeky inside pocket and exciting though when Maurice set light to a piece of provide costumes for television. Until a couple of
strengthening strips behind the pockets. Not fabric we thought may have been cotton, but which weeks ago when we had a phone call from the BBC
ignoring his feminine side, and in keeping with the test confirmed was polyester. costume department.
Marshalsea's DNA, he’s a slimmer, narrower, and We were more successful at Litvinoff, found What could they want? Maybe Jonathon Ross
an altogether closer fit than Borough. exactly what we wanted and got the real selling was having a make over? It's about time he ditched
We've high hopes for our Stanley and do hope experience to boot... that footballer in court look. We were hoping for
you like him. Please feel free to try him out in any Enter through roller shutter door into freezing Fred Dibnah: The Musical, or perhaps a remake of
of the following fabrics: cotton twill, drill, canvas cold warehouse stacked floor to ceiling with rolls of Porridge – woven cotton stripe shirting and prison
and denim. MW. fabric wrapped in polythene. Small office visible issue wool serge being a speciality of ours. But no,
behind partition, cluttered with fabric swatches, it was for an episode of Casualty.
heated by small electric fire. On the desk two jars The request was for a cotton drill overall jacket
of nuts (cashews and pistachios), two bottles (Jack plus an extra set of sleeves. The scene involved an
Daniels and HP Sauce), framed picture of son’s “artisan carpenter” who has an accident with a
graduation. Next to the tea and coffee making bandsaw and has his arm ripped off. "As usual" she
equipment a pile of empty pop bottles stacked up said "there’ll be a lot of blood". MW.
like rolls of fabric. On the wall a signed photograph
of Maureen Lipman, adding a slightly theatrical feel
to the little den. Fernandez & Wells
Man appears from office rubbing his hands, 43, Lexington Street, London W1
possibly not from the cold.
Him: "Can I help you?"
Me: "We’re looking for some fabric." HAM CHEESE PICCALILLI
Him: “Fabric? We don't have any fabric."
Me: "Ha ha ha". LEILA’s SHOP
17, Calvert Avenue, London E2
Formalities over, we’re let loose on the stock
“...as I was saying, the traditional which was unexpectedly fruitful. We left very happy Coffee, Cake
Lincolnshire poacher’s jacket has two with a heavy wool melton, Irish linen and a Polish Sausages, Pickles
inside pockets and adjustable gussets, beautiful piece of checked cashmere, a great find.
whilst the Suffolk horseman’s coat...” We’ll be back. MW. New Greengrocer’s Now Open