Can’t help it

Tuesday January 24, 2006

The day got off to a good start, and got better. I seem to be fully adjusted to the fluoextine now, and it’s done the job of chasing my black dog off into the shadows once more. I feel good, and creative, and raring to go.

After a short exchange with Sally our solicitor it transpired that the letter from the agent reached her this morning and that she’s now engaged in preliminary contacts with the buyer’s solicitor. There is a small hitch in settling on a completion date, with our buyer’s buyer wanting to extend it. After discussion, we decided to go with the flow so long as we have an exchange of contracts on schedule sometime in the next four or five weeks. Or six. We shall see.

Whatever, now that Sally is in possession of all she needs to start the work I’m happy. Graham’s happy. Even Dolly the Mega-cat is happy, though she’d not thank me for making that public.

Then, it was off to Skegness on a bright but cold morning, arriving just in time for lunch and to take a turn around the town before diving into the supermarket on the way out.

“I want fish’n’chips,” I said.

“It’s Skegness. You always want fish’n’chips when we come to Skegness.”

“Funny that.”

So off we went in the direction of Harry Ramdsden’s. It was closed. Really closed. Shutters down, no sign of life.

“Oh, botheration,” I said. “It looks as if they’ve closed for the winter this year.”

“Can we get fish’n’chips somewhere else?”

“Well, we could, but it’d be café fish’n’chips, not traditional style, and that’s not the same. Let’s walk up and have an all-day breakfast in Aroma.”

“What’s Aroma?”

“You’ll see.”

It’s a place I discovered during the summer, serves reasonable coffee and a decent though not exceptional breakfast. During the summer it’s heaving with customers but this isn’t summer so rather than being a cheerful, fun-filled experience, it had reverted to standard British low-end café, clean, but slightly shabby, with one sweet old lady on duty at the counter and a handful of whispering British customers distributed at respectable distances among the mostly empty tables.

Graham did standing in line duty after we’d consulted the menu; he placed our order when the sweet little old lady got round to him, and returned with two large mugs of reasonable coffee. Shortly after, another little old lady appeared from the depths of the kitchen with our food and served us at the table. It was good. Not exceptional, but good. Being fair, you can’t expect much more than that from Skegness right in the depths of the winter season.


Waiting in line
pencam photo


Poet meets Betty Boop
phonecam photo


Outside I drew my coat tight against the chill wind and suggested we got our in-town shopping done as quick as we could.

“Too cold to loiter,” I said, “and there’s a shortage of subjects for people watching anyway.”

“You said it, buster.”

It was bracing, though. That’s one thing you can always say about Skegness. It’s bracing.

After a turn around the new-to-us Tesco’s during which I decided that, much as I love it, it’s just that bit too small for regular provisioning and that we’d have to revert to the Boston branch, we hit the road home.

“Shame that,” Graham said. “But we have to be practical and it’s not going to be for too long anyway.”

“No. There is that.”

Back home, after coffee and another of those irresistable danish pastries we currently favour as a reward for supermarket trips, Graham settled to the job of unpacking a large parcel that’d arrived just before we left.

A little while back I wrote about an iconic 60’s lamp and shade Graham had found on eBay. The shade, not ideally suitable, was cleaned and pressed into service elsewhere and, after much searching we found a new shade as replacement. We both of us love the orange lamp now and Graham, never one to do things by half measures, decided he wanted another one as a mate for the first. It turned up a few days ago, just as orange and glistery, twice the size of the first, and begging for another new shade.

“I think this time I’ll try to match the period more closely,” he said.

I have to say, he did so, and splendidly, too. The new lamp, now standing at some thirty-one inches from base to top of the shade, glows on a white lacquer cabinet not too far from the old one, and is just about as close to the period as it’s possible to get. The new shade is perfect, covered in an original 60’s fabric. It’s destined to end up in the ‘new’ caravan that’ll be our temporary lodgings between houses and Graham’s week-day home during the summers from now on.

I confess I’ll be sorry to see it go. Us old relics from the 60’s ought to stay close together, for comfort.


The first lamp, with new shade


The second lamp, also with new shade


I’ve been building a small portfolio of possible properties close by Graham’s job from which to select our next home. It’s a good mix, from semi-rural bungalows to a Victorian town house, notice of which arrived from the property service late this evening. This one is in a terrace in Minehead, with a small front garden and back yard, and a garage. It’s likely that the back yard is perfect catio material. The house is in a location we know very well and would provide a good base for me, within very easy walking distance of the Minehead town centre shops and mid-way between two parks. The sea front is a leisurely stroll away, too, not so close as to be a nuisance, but close enough for visiting on foot. I’m very tempted. It looks to be a move-in-and-live prospect, nicely renovated, and a safe haven for Dolly and me while Graham’s working during the summer. There are good winter prospects for him in the town, too, so it could be ideal all round. There’s even a small, lively provincial theatre just round the corner.

“See if you can find time to view it when you’re down there next week,” I said.

“I’ll do that. I could even put in an offer.”

“Fine. It’s possible the whole thing will click together nicely.”

“You’re counting chickens again.”

“That’s me. Can’t help it.”



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