Tourists welcome!

Imbibe the blissful eglantine
that doth bedeck the walls
of country cots and beauty spots
from Inse to Anascaul.

Then get back on your bus again
with other pleasure seekers,
who see the world through cameras
and smell of year-old sneakers.

Don’t feel you have to hurry
Oh no! The reverse!
But if you hang about too long
we’ll kick you in the erse.

Don’t feel that you’re not welcome
Oh no! Au contraire!
Just don’t annoy the locals
or you’ll fly home Coffin Air.


Nasty people

They didn’t have exactly what I wanted in Linklater’s, so I travelled all the way to Pickering’s in Snaresbrook. I’d never been there before, but I’d heard good reports of Pickering’s from old Arthur Twilb, who said to me once: ‘If Linklater’s don’t have it, try Pickering’s’. Well, I never trusted Arthur very much, but what choice did I have?

So I ended up taking three trains and two buses to get to Snaresbrook, a journey of nearly two hours. And not a pleasant journey either: there were two teenagers opposite me on the train from Adlington, playing their pop music at full volume, and they had their muddy boots on the seat in front of them. Absolutely no respect for other passengers! Luckily, they got off at Dalston North. Luckily for them.

Anyway, I made it to Snaresbrook, but not in the jauntiest mood, as you can imagine. So now imagine how I felt when I finally found Pickering’s and saw this on their door: CLOSED Aug 26 -Sept 9.

Can you really imagine how I felt? Really?

Just then an old gent approached me, about seventy. He seemed friendly enough, though I’m suspicious of anyone who wears tan shoes with green socks. He said: ‘They’re on holiday the next two weeks. Have you tried Linklater’s?’.

I was very calm, very composed.

‘Yes’, I said, ‘but they only have them in burgundy.’

‘Oh, but burgundy is a beautiful colour. My wife loves burgundy’, said he.

I was still very calm.

I found his carotid artery quite easily, and opened it neatly with my pocket knife. His convulsions were a bit theatrical, so I left him to it, and walked down a side street to the river. I sat there for about an hour, watching the swans. It was very peaceful.

And that was it, really. Not much of a story, I admit, and yet I know that some nasty people will condemn me. The same kind of people who play loud music on public transport, or wear burgundy socks.