I considered using the name TRUMPET for this blog then decided it was too obvious. So I’ve left it to be used by a suitably moronic mouthpiece.
It’s been a week. Told my ex-wife that we had come to the end of the road. We parted in 1982, and since then I’ve tried to seek a reconciliation. After all, our separation was engineered by her. All she had to do was to admit her guilt. I’d have been grateful if she’s begged my forgiveness but that was not a necessary requirement.
It’s not been easy, and I’m not sure future generations will understand but love does hurt. That’s not going to happen any more. I’ll live with my loneliness. Perhaps I’ll become a hermit. Seems OK so far. I’ve not spoken to anyone for three days.
That’s not strictly true I did ask for a bacon roll and a cup of tea at the country market at Campsea Ash (http://www.clarkeandsimpson.co.uk/auction-centre) It cost £2.80 and was very enjoyable. That market is primarily a male affair. Lots of old boyos squashed into a wooden shack, eating bacon or sausage rolls, grunting at each other in Suffolk accents as they sipped tea and waited to go to any one of the auctions scattered around the site.
Their speech was only masked by my deafness, which often gets in the way of my life. It was clear there was a group camaraderie. They all knew each other. They all came from the local area, saw each other regularly, and there was a warmth in their conversations. They tended to come into the cafe in pairs, one would find seats, the other buy food for both of them. It was a ritual that showed they cared for each other.
Suffolk folk can take thirty years before they accept a stranger into their community. I’ve discovered a slightly quicker way. It comes in stages. First, you must stare at an old boyo sitting across the crowded room. He’ll shuffle a bit, perhaps putting more sauce on his bacon roll with quiet deliberation. Keep at him. He’ll never look your way. Never acknowledge that he’s seen you. Keep going. He’s a country boyo, he notices everythng. It’s part of his basic training as a poacher. He’s a creature of habit. He’ll be there, at the market, sitting in the same place, eating a bacon roll and slurping at his tea, wearing that old jacket and woollen hat next week.
Stay there, in position staring in his general direction until he gets up to leave. Clearly, you’ll have seated yourself by the door. As he passes, then look at him, directly into his face and give a slight nod. Invariably you’ll find he will respond. It could be a grunt, a nod of his head, but in some way he will acknowledge your presence. Success.
Give it another week before you repeat the process. This time go straight to his heart. Ask a direct question. The best is something like, ‘You after anything special today?’ that needs to be spoken quietly, in a local accent if possible, without looking directly at his face. If you feel that’s too bold be more general, ‘Have you seen the mushroom seller today?’ These questions, must always be open, force a reply as that can lead on to a longer conversation. However trivial that may sound you have made a breakthrough.
As this friendship continues you can strengthen it immeasurably by adding snippets of gossip. He’ll love that. It may take some research to find something that interests him, that he’s not already heard, but don’t expect too much of a reaction. Perhaps a quick twist of the head, or he’ll shuffle his feet, or glance around as if he is making sure that no-one else had heard.
These can develop into proper friendships. Don’t be fooled by his appearance or strange accent. He knows more than you will ever know. Take your time and develop a friendship. Once that’s in place, watch your back as a Suffolk peasant will love to get one over you, in whatever way he can. You may never know it’s happening, yet there is little malice in the way he works. You must remember he’s had generations of pulling the wool over the eyes of countless land owners, all of whom have regarded him as a worker, never as a friend.
On the way back from the market I went to Marks & Spencers. They had a cafe so I decided on a comparison study. I bought a bacon roll and a pot of tea. Gone were the smiling country women of less than ten miles away. Here the staff were much younger, much slimmer, and elegant in their black uniforms with small aprons that exposed pert backsides as they moved efficiently around the room. The clientele had changed. No men here, unless acting as bag carriers and chaffeurs for smart women, all of whom were clearly in charge of their lives.
I paid £5.80 for the fare tat had been so much cheaper at the market, and wondered at the price of progress.