Excerpt from The Tomato Dip

Later that day and after a few lunchtime pints in The Hole in the Wall pub and a nice meat pie from a nearby butchers shop Bob and Brenda are laid out on two towels on Scarboroughs ever popular south bay, amusement arcades, candy and novelty shops behind them and most of the population of West Yorkshire on the beach in front of them, the accumulated mish-mash of noise is incredible as thousands of young and old alike talk, shout and scream their factory shutdown fortnight at the only place they’ve ever known for a holiday – Scarborough.

Bob wonders just how much the shops along the Scarborough promenade are taking in these two weeks and just for a moment ponders on the possibility of opening an amusement arcade of his own, thinks about it for a few seconds before ditching the idea, everyone knows that Jimmy Corrigan owns the Scarborough seafront and in any case the place is usually dead for 40 weeks of the year, no he’ll stick to being a property tycoon in Leeds and to this end he’s even thought up a name for his empire – RoBeck Properties, very clever amalgamation of his christian and surname, took him a while to dream that one up but its sounding better each time he repeats it to himself.

Brenda turns over onto her front and asks Bob to rub some sun cream on her back and even though everyone knows that there is little chance of getting sunburn today, Bob obliges, turning first to his friend from home Frank Kitchen and giving him a grin and a waggle of his eyebrows, Bob loves showing off his dolly birds to Frank.

Frank and his family have come to spend the day with Bob at Scarborough South Bay today rather than claim their usual spot on Cayton Bay beach and as usual Frank has brought a huge posse of family and friends with him, their holiday camp holidays involve meeting the same family crowds of people every year, most of the industrial towns of the north have the same compulsory factory shutdowns and for the first week in august its the Leeds and Sunderland holidays, and every year the same people make their way to Wallis’s Holiday Camp at Cayton Bay for their completely organised and almost regimented holiday.

Bob often regrets the fact that as a single man he’d stand out like a sore thumb at Cayton Bay, its not the sort of place that you go to meet new birds, its a holiday camp for families, over 1000 families on the site being entertained and organised for almost 24 hours of the day, when he thinks of what he’s missed out on Bob almost regrets his divorce five years ago and the two young daughters that he left with that nagging bitch Audrey.

“Fancy a game of cricket Bob ?” Franks brother-in-law Sid is asking, one of Franks posse of relatives and friends is Sid, and fancies himself as a bowler

“Aye Sid, where’s the pitch then ?”

“Down there,” and Sid points to a place much further down the beach where they’ve found a space on the beach that no-one wants to lay claim to, “near them donkeys, we’ve cleaned most of the George’s off it” and Sid and Bob both cackle with laughter as Sids wife Irene shouts out “Sidney !!!” in mock anger at his use of the slang phrase “George the Third” instead of “turd”.

Bob hauls himself off the sandy towel and follows Sid “Fenno” Fensome down to the newly cleared donkey’s toilet area to represent England at cricket against a group of assorted ten and eleven year olds.


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