On the way to Peakville, I had to make a detour similar to one that I had to make in the summer of 2010, and for the same reason — an accident. As I started my voluntary detour earlier than the detour I’d later have been forced to make, the experience was not too bad.
I wondered whether I’d have to head straight to Bert’s, but in the event I was able to go to the Old Man’s house as usual, drink a cup of coffee, unpack, and then drive to Bert’s. There were no cars at all on the forecourt, just a big silver van belonging to a mobile car-body-repairer, parked on the right-hand side. There were three young men standing to the right of the shop door, but I don’t know whether the van was anything to do with them.
All four people were behind the counter. Short Woman wore her navy-blue pinafore; Tall Woman her red-and-white-check pinafore — the red is faded now. Underneath it she wore a yellow cardigan with long sleeves — I’ve probably seen it before but I don’t think I’ve made a note of it.
There were several customers in the shop when I arrived, and strangely, all of them were men. One of them near the front of the queue was 30-plus, and about six foot two inches tall. He had with him a boy who looked to be three years old and was full of energy and enthusiasm. Then, when I was standing in the queue with only one man behind me, an elderly woman arrived with a boy of primary-school-age who was presumably her grandson. He was disabled, and walked with the help of a black walking-stick. I don’t remember seeing any of these customers before.
I had to wait for my food to be cooked. While I waited, I noticed Junior behind the counter with some prepared raw fishcakes in his hands. He slipped two batches of fishcakes into the hot oil.
The route from Bert’s to the Old Man’s house takes me along a stretch of Cypress Crescent where parked cars make it impossible for traffic to pass in both directions. When I was about to enter that stretch of road, a BMW at the far end gave way to me. Who would have thought it?
The batter on the fish turned out to be thin and not very crisp — some of it on top was sticking to the greaseproof paper, which Bert’s crisp batter never does; nonetheless, the fish was tasty.
[Original posting 19 November 2012]