Hello again, dear readers and thanks for all the lovely comments here, I swear they really do mean a lot to me.
I had left you with me in the company of my dear friend and saviour (I use the word adivisedly) Sarah, in the Wrotham Arms with a brilliant room awaiting me upstairs, I didn’t have to go out of the door. OK, I had to go out of the door for a smoke thanks to a former mis-Government of my country but you get the idea.
It was during one of these solitary smoking expeditions that the next minor miracle happened and I felt a sensation that had been lamentably lacking from my life for far too long, I actually felt a small pang of hunger.
This may sound like an odd thing to say for those who have not read all my previous ramblings on here so if you should have landed on this page without having read all my other nonsense I should explain that for the last few years I have suffered from an eating disorder (just to complete the full set with my sleep disorder and who knows what else – even I have lost track now) with the end result I am technically malnourished, hugely underweight and, quite frankly, look like a walking skeleton. Sorry if I have put you off your food, please do eat up, it is good for you, believe me.
For me, hunger is something that happens to other people and I do not mean that in a facetious or offhand way as I know there are millions of people across this planet who suffer daily from hunger and I honestly wouldn’t wish it upon anyone except myself and others with eating disorders who could honestly do with it.
I should also point out that I am not anorexic nor bulimic, I have no delusions about self-image, I know I am too damned skinny these days. Some months ago I watched an excellent and very moving documentary by the former English cricket player, arguably one of the greatest all-rounders ever, Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff, where he spoke very openly and very movingly about his bulimia which he now, thankfully, seems in remission from.
“Fred” is a physically huge man, standing about 6’5″, the same as myself, and in his heyday one of the most intimidating bowlers in world cricket and there he was filming secret visits to dieticians or nutririonists or whatever these specialists are called and talking openly about having large meals and sticking his fingers down his throat to regurgitate his food. It was humbling to watch the honesty of this big man (in every sense of the word), an absolute sporting icon now re-invented as a TV presenter and much loved by everyone, baring his soul like that.
I had promised myself, and probably you dear readers as well, that there were going to be no more “public service broadcasts” on this blog but I am as much trapped in my writing as I am by my sundry ailments now, I just sit down at the keyboard and type what is in my head, truthful recollections of my travels (such as they have been lately) with my emotions at the time and so on. I am not going to re-rehearse the arguments for my editorial thinking but I am afraid that this blog is very much a case of WYSIWYG or, if you are not a fan of acronyms, what you see is what you get.
As in my previous post where I urged anyone with depressive tendencies to seek professional advice from the many places available worldwide, so it is with eating disorders (the two issues may well be linked). You need never suffer alone and, if you cannot find help elsewhere (there is plenty available) then please send me a message here. I have no wish to cast myself in the role of “Good Samaritan” as anyone who knows me will tell you it is not something I aspire to nor have any knowledge of how to do but I’d rather you talked to me than suffered alone.
OK, that is the heavy bit done with and I am even curing myself (slowly) of my propensity for apologising for everything or I would be offering one now. I have subjected this post to the tested method of not posting things immediately (we’ve all sent those stupid texts, haven’t we?) and what I said above I stand by so back now to my entirely random and surprising attack of peckishness.
I knew the local curry shop would be shut, as would the nearest Chinese (my favourite one in Broadstairs which I’ll tell you about in a future post) but there would still be one or two places open in the middle of town, all effectively kebab / burger joints but I still wasn’t sure if I could make it to them. Remember, I had barely walked the length of myself for well over a year and got breathless after a few hundred yards. Then I had a brainwave (unusual for me, I know).
For some years now I have been bombarded by adverts online for food delivery services although I had never used one. I am fortunate enough to live in an area with many (far too many if you ask me) takeaway food places. Some years ago, I did a bit of a survey of the main road 50 yards from my door and found 27 food outlets in less than a mile, it is virtually every other building.
That is fine although hardly desirable but there is an even greater problem now, the food delivery bicycle. Outside my home is a one way street running South to North so, with us driving on the correct side of the road in the UK, I used to just look to my right when crossing to go to the little local supermarket as that was where the traffic should have been coming from. Wrong.
Cyclists in London, specifically food delivery cowboys, have been given the impression that they are totally immune to traffic laws and the local police (not that you ever see a cop unless flying up the road at 90 mph in a vehicle), do nothing to stop it. Several times I have nearly been hit by food delivery idiots cycling at high speed the wrong way down the road. OK, nobody wants a cold curry but I shall come onto that subject later.
Even when you gain the alleged sanctuary of the footpath (sidewalk, walkway, whatever you wish to call it) on the other side you are not safe. The Uber Eats / Deliveroo / Just Eat or whatever other such odious outfits exist morons who have only the vaguest of ideas of road sense know they shouldn’t be riding the wrong way down a one way street so they substitute that criminal offence with another one of flying along the pavement thinking they are not breaking the law that way. Wrong, it is a criminal offence in the UK to cycle on the pavement. They merely swap one criminal danger to the poor pedestrian for another.
Multi-millions of pounds of our taxes have been squandered on a superb system of cycle lanes all over London (regardless of halving road widths on some of the major routes and leading to increased congestion on an already massively congested system). I read somewhere that in Victorian times the average speed of a horse-drawn vehicle in central London was about 12 mph and now a similar journey is about 10.5 mph. Progress, I don’t think so.
Anyway, back to the narrative after so many digressions and my sudden, unexpected and much welcomed bout of hunger. I knew that at that time of night there were probably only a couple of places open, Sancho’s and the Broadstairs Kebab House but that was away up the hill near the station. I could have walked to Sancho’s in about ten minutes but the point of all the previous digression was that I had hit upon the idea of getting a food delivery.
These were totally uncharted waters for me. Firstly, I can barely answer a call on my mobile ‘phone, I have often described my technophobia on these pages. Jackie does not run a kitchen in the pub but I knew she was happy with bringing food in. I have watched guys at the bar eating three course Indian meals before now but I asked her anyway and she readily agreed to me getting a pizza in.
There were a couple of reasons for my choice of pizza rather than a kebab or burger. Firstly, I quite like pizza when I am able to eat and secondly, I knew I would never finish even a small pizza with my stomach in the state it was but I actually prefer cold pizza and I knew the leftovers would be even better the next day (they were).
I think this is all part of the single man eating syndrome. I love cooking but sometimes, usually after a hard night out, only a takeaway will do. I know there are such things as microwave ovens these days but I have never had one, frankly I don’t have room and so I got into the single man’s habit of eating cold takeaway the next day. OK, it does not work with something like fish and chips, that is awful next morning.
I reckon the true test of being a single bloke is when you get up in the morning and happily dive into the remains of the previous night’s curry with the ghee half congealed on the top. A word to the wise here, forget the breads the next day. Naans, rotis, parathas (particularly awful when cold), chapatis etc.just do not last. They do not stand the overnight test.
OK, it was going to be a pizza and then the fun began. My technophobia really kicked in when it came to ordering my pizza using my mobile ‘phone. That was always going to be a train wreck and so it proved. After many years of heartache I can more or less navigate my way round the simpler functions of my laptop. You know the sorts of things a reasonably bright six year old takes in their stride. I can now make and recieve calls and texts on my ‘phone (three cheers for Fergy) but the principles of using a mobile ‘phone as a computer remain something of a dark art to me.
Although we were still not at official closing time Jackie and I were the only two people there. I was getting increasingly frustrated with the online ordering system for Sancho’s which I am sure was working perfectly or at least would have been if you were the “reasonably bright six year old” I mentioned in the previous paragraph. For one in his 60’s rather than six, it was just a step too far and I was muttering and swearing under my breath (I don’t like swearing in front of ladies) and becoming increasingly agitated.
Jacks looked up from the book-keeping she was taking the opportunity to catch up on and asked me what the problem was. When I told her, she merely looked at me as you might a not very bright six year old and said, “Why don’t you just ‘phone them?” To quote Homer Simpson, “Doh”, I had not even thought of that. Problem solved I ordered my pizza (seafood with an extra of garlic) and got back to my pint. The guy had told me it would be about 30 minutes and it was just about that with the result, as you can see in the above image that I had a superb pizza (Sancho’s do a very good pizza) and, more importantly, the appetite to eat some of it.
I should offer a word of explanation here about the format of this series of pieces, specifically the paucity of images. I had re-read my previous entries about Broadstairs Folk Week prior to travelling, just to get me in the mood, as if such was necessary and I was struck by how few images I had compared to, say, Canada or Sri Lanka.
I never leave home without my camera in my pocket and such was the case here but, for some inexplicable reason, when I am in Broadstairs I never seem to get it out of the said pocket. I just always seem to be too immersed in what I am doing. I shall therefore be “padding out” these entries with a few images plundered from my archives (I wish I could find one of Sancho’s!) but only if they are still relevant. Much has changed in the town, as I shall show in a future post, but much remains the same so the images are not merely archival (is that even a word?).
I am also aware that it has taken me three entries and I haven’t even got to bed on the first night there! Verbosity has always been my enemy although occasionally my friend onstage when I could not think of what I was going to play next! The original double-edged sword.
To avoid the further cut of this double-edged sword, I’ll wrap up now. I managed to eat half the 10″ pizza which sounds ridiculous for a grown man but, when you consider I had been living off nutritional supplements for weeks and had probably not had solid food for at least a week, I found it to be something of a triumph. Small victories, as I have spoken of elsewhere on this blog.
Bidding my adieus to Jacks I ascended the stairs to “my” new room, had a quick chapter of my book and drifted happily off to sleep, another small victory. I know I must sound like a complete hypochondriac but I’m not. Believe me, I would not joke about such things and wouldn’t wish them on anyone. Already, Broadstairs seemed to be doing me good, eating and sleeping? On the same day? Unheard of.
I think that is D-Day covered for my operation to invade the South coast, once the site of the unbelievable escape from Dunkirk. I just knew I was where I needed to be for so many reasons and Folk Week had not even started yet. If you want to approach the metaphorical beaches of that peerless festival with me then stay tuned and spread the word!