5th July 2017
Last week Serious Biscuits packed up its nap sack and buggered off to Lowestoft! Just got back early evening yesterday, full of the news and gossip of the good folk that you chase to catch up with when you return to old places. Said folk were graciously just as I’d last seen them, those old comfortable embraces as familiar as they were fresh. Some things have changed; my uncle had two legs the last time I’d seen him for instance. One had done its own buggering off since then apparently.
Also an old engineering weird beard that I know is having/going through divorce. He’s trying to spend as much of his personal money as he can before he has to give half the allocation to his former beloved. I’m very much looking forward to my new projector and screen coming through the post. That makes it sound like I’m taking advantage, but you should see his new Kawasaki! We took a twilight wander round to a local fruit farmer and looked over the patch that my friend was preparing to make home with his new, double glazed static caravan. He’s got water and electric hook up, and the kind of quiet, willow draped atmosphere that opens out across the hidden spaces of Suffolk. Before all that happens, he’s stuck in the old kitchen that he re–fitted from scratch, wondering what the last forty years were about.
‘Coffee’, I told him, and he looked up from the brick flooring that he’d laid many, many moons way back.
‘That’s not what all the marriage was about, John,’ he replied and I shook my head so that he could acknowledge that he was being confused.
‘I meant coffee as in, go and make me some.’
He’d always been trusted for making decent coffee, and I really did believe that in making some he’d have something to take his mind off the pre-ticked boxes on his settlement form that pertained to him being a crap husband. At the very least it would zip my attention back up tight for the next round of his mixed emotions. And just for the record, he’s nothing like what the form says, and nor is she. It’s just a bloody shame. That metal flake finish really works with the black paint of his new motorbike though. And as he doesn’t own an internet I’m pretty much in clear with spilling dem beans.
So my uncle’s missing leg, then. That’s the other big holiday story, and it comes with its own little story. My uncle has found himself an unfortunate buffet of multiple sclerosis down his legs for these past twenty five years. For twenty five of those years he’s been asking to have the worse of the two legs removed. I’ve seen him barter with specialists, consultants and carpenters to get their tools out and take the most offending leg away. Not that they’d have had to take the leg away with them; my uncle has a dog and is as fast and loose with his pragmatism as a situation might require.
He is a fucking trouper, but they took away the leg that he didn’t mind keeping! A partial success perhaps; he’s certainly left the one he wanted gone with something to think about. While I was with him I filled him with double espresso and Lucozade, then got him to talk me through hull lining on boats one more time. I need some re–affirming of certain details about this for the book I’ve got in dry dock at the moment, and he keeps changing everything about what he tells me. Perhaps all of the details are true and you can basically do anything to make a hull secure. I hope not because it’ll make that part of the book quite a bit shorter. He used Styrofoam balls once. I don’t know if that’s a tip or something cautionary. I know you want to think the latter, but it might just be the greatest buoyancy aid that you’d never dare to try. Don’t try it off the back of my say so, though.
The last evening before heading home, Anna and I caught up with Rosie the silversmith. She was tremendous as always, but you best listen and get someone else to make notes for you when she’s going through the underpinnings of border morris dancing that you need for your next novel. She understands the fine tone of things, and with people like that, when you’re doing research and asking questions, I think it best not to make notes on what they say, but just watch the way that they say it instead. Much obliged, Rosie. Serious Biscuits will try and catch up with you at Folk East! I’m packing my recording equipment and a triangle.
That leaves me just enough time to mention The Triangle Inn. The greatest pub in all the lands, Straight Outta North Lowestoft. Green Jacks is their own brewery, and they ain’t got nothing left to prove. Peace out.
You be you and I’ll be me (I love The Cannonball Run, and I love that theme song. But I don’t understand that bit).
JW Bowe xx
P.S! Anna urges me to point out that when you take the M6 Toll route like we did when coming home, you don’t have to be cross with all the busyness to begin with like I was. It’s just the M42 joining along for a few miles until it filters off again. From then on you’re laughing.
I’d also like to say that I love the havoc of the chase back to the normal motorway lanes after you pay up and the massive stretch of tarmac funnels you and everyone else hammering their rev band, closer together. I aim bang on for the middle lane, hit the cruise control at an undisclosed speed that still allows for decent fuel economy, and let the rest sort itself out. You don’t even have to start hitting the hazards.