Passage to India, Whitby, (62%)


Friday 26th May 2017.

Guess what, a bunch of gregarious types supplanting profanities for punctuation plonked right beside within tsking distance. An otherwise deserted landscape of fanned napkins and upturned wine glasses recursively diminishing into cavernous darkness. A troglodyte Mecca.

Regulation pickle tray, you know the drill: chopped onions, raita, mango chutney, lime pickle. Felt like fetching cockles from the fish van. Why not whelks, what the hell… Meanwhile, our rambunctious ancestors question the language skills of a Romanian waiter.

That night I dreamt I was playing doubles tennis: me and Arthur Lowe (‘Dad’s Army’, ‘The ‘Plank’) v Chris Read (esteemed colleague) and Jonathan Thirlby. Thirlby (tall, blonde, gorgeously angular), let me explain, relocated to Felixstowe second year of high school. (Sudden, faintly saddening.) Though not before reclaiming the 28p I owed him – a spiralling penny sweet debt.

A vague, gruelling game of dreamlike oddity, until somehow I cross-court back-handed an audacious set winner to even things up. Arthur Lowe snapping his braces with a smug chortle, apes Clive Dunn’s “They don’t like it up ’em!” Next, Thirlby’s losing it.

Turns out I measured the court inaccurately in my and Mainwaring’s favour. The ball was out. Disgraced. Match abandoned. How come it was my job in the first place, line painting? Probably the last I’ll see of Thirlby. Ah, the inscrutable oblivion of sleep…

If there’s one thing worse than other people’s photos, it’s other people’s dreams.



Judge ‘Gonzo’ Pickles
Fred ‘Skippy’ Pickles


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