Monday June 6, 2005
To Skegness, accompanied by the smell of rotting grass cuttings from the sacks in the back of the car. While the object of the trip was to visit the photo-lab (and have fish and chips for lunch) we decided to double the utility of the journey by calling in at the recycling centre on the way.
I really love Skegness. It’s a place some people love to hate but I think it’s their loss rather than that of this uniquely British seaside town. You have to take it on its own terms, is all, complete with warts, candy-floss, and the aroma of fast food. Oh, and the sounds of canned music from amusement arcades. And… and… and… Well, you have to be there.
There was a brisk breeze coming in across the North Sea but clear skies and bright sunshine made it pleasant even so. Unless you were foolish enough to stand in the shadows, that is.
The films delivered to the lab, where the friendly lady promised to have them ready for collection in forty minutes, we wandered over to Harry Ramsbottam’s (I think that’s how you spell it) and sat in the open air to enjoy a good old-fashioned seaside fish lunch.
This is the only place where Graham will tolerate a fish and chip meal. He says the spirit of the place make the food acceptable. I’d rate it only about half-way between worst and best as fish and chips go, but I agree that eating it in that setting adds more than a frisson of delight to the un-culinary experience.
I remember taking a visitor from Los Angeles to a very similar chippie, at his insistence. “You won’t like it,” we protested. And we were right. He did try, honestly he did, but he disliked the chips and, while admitting the fish was good and fresh, seemed dismayed to discover that it wasn’t some named variety, simply ‘fish’. Plain and anonymous. Generic, even. He’s the kind of bloke who needs to know the variety and source of the fish on his plate, how it was cooked, and the precise constituents of the sauce. Which isn’t what British fish and chips is about. I knew he’d take that line so I wasn’t too surprised and felt no more than marginally guilty. He turned his nose up at instant coffee, too.
I really enjoyed today’s meal but I confess that in other regards Skegness failed to work its usual magic on me. My legs were playing up again. Normally I simply ignore the pesky things but somehow, today, they coloured the world a little on the grey side.
I’d taken my camera but, halfway between the photo lab and the chippie, I seemed to lose my photographer’s eye. Darn shame that because there are endless opportunities for good pictures in Skegness, following a line somewhere between Lowry and Cartiér-Bresson with a bit of post-industrial glitz on the side.
“I’m not enjoying this, I’m afraid,” I admitted as we started walking back through the town.
“‘Fraid so. Pesky things.”
“Tell you what, then. Why don’t you go straight back to the car and I’ll meet you there after I’ve picked up the photos.”
“Good idea. Sorry ’bout this.”
“Don’t be silly. See you in five.”
Back home I decided to pop a painkiller and take an extended afternoon nap. I slept easy enough but was disappointed to find that my legs were still not happy little limbs when I woke. Hey ho. Perhaps they’ll be over it tomorrow.
“Think I might need that electric buggy sooner rather than later,” I said. “It’s not that I can’t walk because I can and do. Every day. But walking around town I’m beginning to find that I’m simply not lifting my eyes from the ground enough.”
“Strange, that. I was looking at the buggies buzzing around Skegness today and thinking what fun you’d have with one.”
“Need a different type of car, though. We’d never get a buggy in the boot of a little blue Ford.”
“That’s fine, too.”
Putting the whole issue back in a not often used area of my mind, I pulled my watercolours out and had a go at another of the fridge magnets. Sadly, while the picture idea is fine, I used the wrong pen and the result is too crude and cartoony for my taste. Not to worry, it was a good learning experience, and will give me a perfect opportunity to see if I can scrub the ink and wash off and re-use the blank. That’s a job for tomorrow. Unless I see it in a different light in the morning, that is.
I put the one I made yesterday up for eBay auction this evening. Doing ridiculously well already, it is. Graham did the I told you so on me over that. To my puzzlement he really likes the little things, and wants me to do more of them. That’s another job for tomorrow. Or the day after.
|On the Bure—the failed version
Pen and wash on fridge magnet blank