At lunchtime yesterday I was forced to conclude that I did not have anything in my kitchen or food storage areas that I wanted for lunch. This was because I did not have any fish and chips from the chip shop.
And I’m glad because my trip to the chip shop was not only an opportunity to get a bit of exercise and see what was going on “on the street”, but also resulted in me learning something.
I had to wait for the chip shop people to cook the fish and chips for me. I didn’t mind as this meant that my dinner would be fresh, so I sat down at one of the metal table and chairs. A man was in the shop, but he was not buying fish and chips, or waiting, or considering his purchase. He was a tall man, with very straight fair hair, and he was wearing a suit, a white t-shirt (which was also being used as a sunglasses hanger) and quite pointy shoes. He was slowly and carefully, you could say laboriously, putting blobs of Blu-tack on the backs of laminated posters and sticking them to the wall. The posters were of all the different sorts of kebab that you could buy in the shop.
As I watched, he re-affixed a laminated photocopy of an article from the local paper which said that the fish and chip shop was, on balance, quite good. This article has been on the wall for a few months – this was not my first visit and I had read it before – and so the man must have taken it down to make room for the big kebab posters, and then put it back in a different place. There was also a postcard which was an advert for people who wanted to earn more money selling make-up round the houses. The man turned this over in his hand suspiciously a few times before sticking one big blob of Blu-tack in the middle and pushing it to the wall, neatly, underneath the article.
His job, I concluded, was going round fish and chip shops and rearranging their wall displays to accommodate newer and larger photographs of assorted kebab meat. He went about his work in a thorough, courteous and professional manner. Modern life has many folds and crenellations. I was not afraid.