Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Selig

Last week the charms of Ipswich lured me to its heart once again. I may be exaggerating. Anyway, I decided to give myself a day off and my friend there was at a loose end, so I hopped on a double decker bus and travelled the highways and byways of  * 'Silly Suffolk' to its county town to meet him for lunch.

Now I didn't take my camera this time, so you're just going to have to imagine things. Like the road that's about halfway between here and Ipswich which goes by the wonderfully evocative name of Wilderness Hill. If you know East Anglia, you'll know that hills are not our most prevalent feature, nor is our countryside particularly wild (although Stowmarket town centre on a Saturday night may come close). A more apt name might be Mild Bump.

After an hour of flat fields punctuated by mild bumps, Ipswich comes into view. I'm looking out for the house I saw last time with its sinister message to 'KEEP AHHT!' Ah, there it is! This time I notice more detail. There's a boarded up window to the side and more writing. It says

 GAURD DO

It's just a wild guess but... d'you reckon the literary genius concerned had run out of paint? Or did they just run out (on hearing the sirens)?  Either way one can presume that they uttered a few expletives like “flipping heck” before returning to their flower-arranging, safer in the knowledge that neither they nor their 'GAURD DO' would be disturbed. And I've just had to 'correct' the auto-correct for the second time as I spelt that.



Some graffiti on the side of another nearby building has a more positive message. Taking up the whole space, in letters that must be at least a foot high, are the words

  I LOVE M ?

The question mark made me smile. Is it there to tease... to tease every Michelle or Mary or Mark who walks by, to wonder if it's for them?  Or is it a desperate expression of mixed feelings?  “Erm, I think I love M but, I'm a little put off because they've got terrible spelling and a bit of an attitude problem.  Still at least they lent me their spray paint”.

Anyway, lunch was fine. I asked my friend to source somewhere cheap, easy and unpretentious. “You're going to love the inside of this place,” he announced and took me to a grand-looking building in the centre of town. I did love the inside. It's curiously schizophrenic. In previous lives it had been a theatre and a picture house; there are chandeliers, balconies, sweeping staircases, a high ceiling and elaborate archways. That's if you look in a generally upward direction. At ground level, though, there's something more spit and sawdust about it. Tacky, even. I quite like that. We got a sandwich, side dish and a pint all for £5.99 and I was the barmaid's "sweetheart", "love" and "darling", several times over, which was nice, as she was quite macho.

Late afternoon I headed back to the Bus Station, following an elderly woman in a purple T-shirt. Groovy colour, I thought. Shame about the slogan on her back:

'Take back control of our country.
Vote UKIP' 

 I had to look away.  Maybe she was the one who wrote 'KEEP AHHT'?

The bus got back at 5.30pm and I went to check the time of the last one onward to my village. Oh. 5.23pm. That's how it works around here. So I walked home, about four miles. I don't often walk those kind of distances, especially not in the rain, and especially not in heeled patent boots. Never mind, it was good exercise, I should walk more.

Mr SDS arrived home from work a short while after I did, carrying a strange looking device under his arm. “Yeah, the customer offered it to me - she doesn't want it any more and I thought you'd like it,” he said with a smile.

“What on earth is it?”

It's a walking machine... Ha!

Still, I love it. I said I should walk more. (It's either that or get a dog.  I mean, 'DO...')


* 'Silly Suffolk': a corruption of the name 'Selig Suffolk'.  'Selig' is an Old English word (also German) meaning blessed, happy, fortunate.

19 comments:

  1. I have been thinking of getting a 'Do' too, but on reflection a walking machine would smell and eat less. Perhaps the person who decided back in the late '70's to write "Sid is In" in 3 foot high white lettering on a brick wall in my home town moved to Suffolk? I presume someone came along before he got to add "...nocent" but you never know. More embarrassingly, a friend of my brother laboured for hours on an impressive example of beautifully hand lettered graphic for the back of his new leather Biker jacket. No-one had the heart to tell him he had missed out a "y" and so he was quite the local talking point in his "Pink Flod" jacket.

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    1. Brilliant. I do hope you have a photo somewhere of your brother's friend posing in his jacket next to that wall... :-)

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  2. I've never been to Ipswich. The seeping staircases and chandeliers sound lovely but I can get 'gaurd dos' every day of the week around here. Thanks for letting us in on 'silly/selig' - I was just about to look it up. Was a joy to accompany you on your journey but that long walk home in the rain was bit much. The walking machine is questionable.

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    1. I note I wrote 'seeping' staircases...is that what I meant? Ah well.

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    2. You're not missing much, there are far more appealing places around here but, at the same time, I get the urge to see a tawdrier, sleazier side of this sleepy county every so often!
      I have to say, much as I'm a fan of walking, I'm also a fan of the machine, because I can "go for a walk" without having to get dressed for the weather... or without having to get dressed at all if I want!

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  3. Goodness, C, did I need this amusing post from you today! The dentist picked my pocket to the tune of $363 (approx. £150, I think), and I can't help but think about the number of CDs and/or books that amount could have purchased instead. I love "KEEP AHTTT" - I can actually hear their accent, thanks to some of the unusual characters I've been introduced to on the British TV shows I watch.

    Free association, I guess, but there used to be a funky Chinese restaurant we'd hang out in, located on the corner of my street in the Beaches area of Toronto. The neon sign read "Good" vertically and "Food" horizontally, so when the "d" in "Good" burnt out, it read "Goo F". Even though it's now under new management and has been somewhat gentrified, to this day, people know what you mean when you say you're heading for the Goof! Haha!

    Your sense of humour is a source of endless delight, Ms. C!!

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    1. Oh I'm so sorry you had to pay for your pain! It doesn't seem fair, does it? I hope it's over now anyway. If it's any consolation, our broken down car is now going to take a week to fix and cost in excess of £500. So I'm pretty gutted too at the moment :-( Thank goodness blogs are free!

      I love the idea of going to Goo F. And so pleased you enjoyed the post, thanks for your kind words.

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  4. I know the place where you had your lunch quite well and even frequented it a few times back in the 1970's when it was a theatre. I'm glad the lovely building was preserved (so many others in Ipswich have been lost over the years), but it's a shame that it's become just another typical 'town centre' pub.
    Funny and engaging writing as ever C. It's always a joy to travel with you.

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    1. Ah, you know the place, brilliant! I enjoyed imagining it in its theatre days but yes, as you say, a typical town centre pub now. Thanks for your kind words... and for coming back to Ipswich with me, even if only virtually!

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  5. Ahhhh the joys of the hub of culture that is Ipswich ;)...and rural public transport

    Stowmarket ? Wild ? More feral, dear...feral

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    1. Hi Cusp - thanks for dropping by and commenting! I take it you know the place well... ;-)

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  6. Near where I live there is a shopping arcade which used to be called Mearns Cross Shopping Centre or arns Cro hopping Centre after some of the letters fell off

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    1. I'm imagining hopping crows now...
      I'm also thinking back to long ago seeing a sign on a tube train or was it a bus, which had originally said 'Seats for the disabled' but which had had letters deliberately rubbed off so it was transformed into (brace yourself): 'eat the disabled'
      Ermmmm.

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    2. I've seen No Dumping replaced by No Humping!

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    3. :-) not sure which sounds worse!

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  7. I've been out and about for work lately and one of the things I love about it is being called..."baby," "sweetie", "dear" by ladies in the diners and curbstores.

    I think misspelling your warning sings adds an extra element of menace.

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    1. Ah honey, I know just what you mean :-)

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