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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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Saturday, 14 September 2013

Miles from the centre - any centre

Moments during a routine Saturday morning visit to Hereford (city) by bus.

VR fingers an M&S pullover. RR: You've already bought two this morning. Three in one day's unheard of. VR: The diet. I've lost weight.

A stall offers falafels without explanation. VR says it's unnecessary but I am ignorant. I wonder how many Herefordians know. VR says dismissively - and finally - they understand doner kebab. PS: Chickpeas with an unfortunate side-effect.

In the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Hereford's second dullest shop after Dunelm (bed linen) they're playing Baby It's Cold Outside, possibly with Ray Charles. The duet allows singers with unique voices to improvise zestfully. Overlapping the "dialogue" adds to the effect. More than just good fun.

VR needs a new watch strap, but only because the little straplets have gone. This happens regularly and she's irritated. The woman behind the counter is sympathetic and offers to open a shop that only sells straplets; "I'll make a bomb." The three of us laugh and VR's irritation dissipates.

Outside the Shire Hall there's a statue of Sir George Cornewall Lewis. Two lines read: A wise and honest statesman. A profound scholar. I try to imagine a present-day politician to whom those lines might apply. An unresponding silence.

WIP Second Hand (35,299 words)
Francine rides in a Maserati Quattroporte. She says: “I don’t usually subscribe to the idea of cars being beautiful but this comes closest.”

Do you agree?


  1. Falafel seems to be spreading across the county with the same enthusiasm as the fungus which is attacking ash trees at the moment. Not that it is a bad street food. It is a spicy and delectable snack. Egyptian I understand or generally middle eastern. It is made with dried broad beans, and chick peas too, as you say. They are formed into patties and fried. I know nothing of the side effects.

  2. A Maserati is too low for the Tall Woman ... crawling out of one makes me look decidedly unbeautiful and lacking in grace.

  3. Joe: VR offered to buy me a falafel to re-heat when we got back home. But the stall seemed unpatronised (perhaps Herefordians were too timid) and I suspected that talking to the stallholder would turn out to be an experience Occasional Speeder would label "squirmy" - over-awareness of a retailer's imminent failure.

    RW (zS): Are you sure? A Quattroporte (ie, four doors) is meant to take rear-seat passengers by virtue of its design. The ones I've seen seemed reasonably capacious, although it's been some time now.

  4. My late climbing partner Tony had no penchant for retail therapy.

    He went to buy shoes at Clarkes in Preston. His size was unavailable.

    The assistant suggested visiting Clarkes at The Trafford Centre in Manchester.

    Tony’s reply:

    “I’d rather go to the top of this building and jump off”.

  5. Now I'm not sure. I must admit, it was many years ago, and I can't recall if it was a two-door or a four-door. But if I'm going to drive a four-door anyway, give me my trusty Buick any day!