I know my plaice


I LOVE fish and chips, but it’s never as good as the old fashioned grub from my boyhood days when lard was used in the frying.

Pure poison we are now told, but the smell from the chip shop was exquisite and the taste of the food even more so. Life turns on a sixpence my dad used to say and it’s true, because one of the most significant moments of my life occurred in our local chippie on the council estate where we lived.

It was a Friday night, so there was a long queue when I arrived and as it snaked its way towards the order counter, I had time to peruse the tasty items on offer in the glass fronted cabinet.

Do I fancy a piece of haddock I thought, or perhaps a spam fritter or savaloy.  But savaloys weren’t really my thing.  No batter for a start. What about one of those nice pies keeping warm in the rotisserie.

But then I saw a solitary piece of fish away from the cod and haddock and I made up my mind.

Tonight I will have plaice, more expensive but what the heck.  I just hoped nobody else would buy it. I was next in line when I caught sight of the wall calendar which depicted a pretty scene of pastel houses tumbling over themselves surrounding a small harbour.

I left the queue to look at this closely. It was stunning and I could almost see myself in the picture leaning on the stone wall gazing out over the bobbing fishing boats.

“What can I do you for mate?” I vaguely heard the assistant call out.  But I was transfixed and could not tear my eyes away from the scene.  ‘Polperro’ it said below the picture and I knew with absolute certainty, that’s where I wanted to live.

I hadn’t noticed that the bloke behind me had been served in my absence, but luckily the kind lady behind beckoned me forward to make my order.

“Plaice and chips please” I said cheerfully and was suddenly ravenous for that expensive piece of fish. My future stars had just changed.

“Sorry, that gentleman had the last one” said the assistant. Damn, it looked like it was a battered sausage after all.

But six months later I was living in beautiful Cornwall and there were no regrets about losing my plaice.

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