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The Uxbridge Arms, Borough

A wonderful joint, within easy bicycling distance of Foster's headquarters at TCS, (Foster being my subordinate second in command). I used to bring Jessie here sometimes when we were courting, she was asked to leave once for bringing her own pickled eggs, but they welcomed her back with open arms and a bucket of cider the next month, a respectable period of shunning having elapsed. I went there last week after a hard day's work of flyposting the neighbourhood with WDL propaganda, and was delighted to see a familiar face propping up the bar- the aforementioned young Foster. There was a bit of a kerfuffle as I ran up to greet him however, he was all octopus arms and I couldn't help feeling he had just passed something behind the bar to be concealed. Up his arms then flew, carrying in his cigar-fat fingers a delicately stemmed crystal-cut beaker of lime soda, and he made a grand deal of how refreshing it was, and how he loved nothing more than a soft drink of an evening. We chatted for a bit about cricket and zebra riding, when all of a sudden a familiar voice floated from the jukebox... it was Jessie crooning 'Nellie the Elephant' (a song that not many coves know was written by Ralph Butler and Peter Hart about her!) Foster's eyes glassed over as if lost in nostalgic reverie, I think I even saw tears dripping from the quivering corners. As I reached my arm over to tap him on the back in a gentle "there there, better to have loved and lost" motion, I caught sight of the shelf under the bar, and rack upon rack of toilet duck and custard slices that he had stashed when he saw me coming in the door. I felt so disappointed by his evident relapse that my eyebrows danced in a frenzy of shame, and he, sensing this, immediately broke down upon the floor, and started tearing at his hair as if he were plucking a chicken. To calm him down, I poured a shotglass of toilet duck and wafted it under his nose... at which point I don't remember anything thereafter except that we both woke up next morning in the same ditch, wearing only our socks (which we seemed to have swapped in the night). I wouldn't mind so much, but now whenever I see Ivor he keeps giving me sly winks and saying "you secret's safe with me, baldy".

4 Jul 2012 12:20

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