Preserved in Aspic

Mission accomplished on the flat front, we said our temporary goodbyes to old Norwich Town and ventured back to London. Norwich has remained a bit off the beaten track since it’s not connected to the motorway network; it’s an hour’s drive along single and dual carriageways until the roar of the M11 is reached. This gave us the opportunity to take in a full English at a Little Chef. I suspect this traditional chain of roadside eateries is destined to die. Just like the Bates Motel in Psycho, Little Chefs are in the wrong place and, these days, weight-rich, time-poor Brits prefer a processed cheese burger to go. It’s a crying shame.

One the way to Liam’s folks, we couldn’t resist a minor detour to our old home in Walthamstow. We pulled up outside. It was as if we had never left. Four years down the line and the pretty little Victoria terrace hadn’t changed a bit. There was the heavy red Thirties door with feature Art Décor stain glass window, the twisted wisteria dripping from the bay window and the neatly trimmed chest-height box hedge. Even the original sash windows were still dressed in the same wooden Venetian blinds we’d left behind. It was like uncovering a time capsule; our old life had been preserved in aspic. We smiled at each other but didn’t linger. It doesn’t do to go back.

20 thoughts on “Preserved in Aspic

      1. You are so right, Jack. It doesn’t do to go back. We lived in a Victorian house in Newington Green. Last time we passed by there on a bus somewhere, I deliberately averted my eyes. Too much nostalgia ain’t good.

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  1. My Dad used to love Little Chef when he was traveling on business. He became quite unhealthy at that stage, until my Ma put him on a strict diet of what he called “rabbit food.” He got used to it in the end… I suppose Little Chefs aren’t cool any more, but surely you still get the transport cafes, don’t you?

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  2. Walthamstow, eh. I grew up in Walthamstow. Firstly a Warner flat near Lloyd park till I was 10, then a council flat behind the Granada. Aah memories. And yes, you are right, it doesn’t do to go back.

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  3. Ohhh what a surprise I had an old Victorian house in Leytonstone, not a stones throw away and now live in Turkey. How I wished I could of transported that house here, I spent years restoring all the old skirting boards etc. etc. it turned out a treat and was too easy to sell. I don’t have too many regrets but would be nice to go back and see the old place. I used to go to the Art College in Walthamstow and have fond memories of that too, London is just a load of little villages connected together by transport systems it never failed to amaze me how different it was living in one village of London to another. Little Chef reference, fast food excites me for a moment then passes rather quickly as my hunger returns, what do they put in it ?

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  4. . . my first real girlfriend came from Walthamstow . . or was it Leytonstone? Could have been Leyton Orient – Ahhhhh! Such memories . .

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  5. Aspic is a jelly made from boiled cows hoofs, luckily nowadays its a bit more synthetic. Lots of classics such as tongue in aspic and it is of course the jelly bit in the pork pie.. xxx Enjoy

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      1. Oh good Lord yes! But I love the jelly bit in pork pies… And Jamaicans eat “cow foot and beans”… It’s all sticky and gummy!! I don’t go near that, though… My husband loves it.

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