Shane: I’ll make sure I’m around to help.
Emma: Oh no – no no no – you had better be elsewhere – it’s going to get rough.
Shane: But I can help you thrash out the final bits.
Emma: You can thrash off for the day – go to a football match.
At the same time, Lily emailed:
>> Shane, are you available to ask me horrible questions – I’ve got my viva (Ph.D. oral examination) in a few weeks and I need more practice at talking about my research…
> Lily, I am available and a grilling is quite within reason – but my price is that we meet up at a neutral location for food, football and foul questioning…
>> Details please.
> Meet me at Macclesfield station – shortly after midday, on Saturday 29th September. Bring your brain.
>> Will do. Bring your brain too.
> Will do.
Awaiting Lily’s arrival, I lazily observed chavs – they drank Fosters lager, ate crisps and smoked fat cigars (and it wasn’t even 1pm).
I also gazed over the funfare. Just out of shot (to the left) was a hook-the-duck, offering goldfish as prizes – must have been nearly 20 years since I saw such a thing. Though tempted, I remembered Jim (see sidebar, and below).
We walked towards the town centre. Some officers of the law were happy to provide directions to a man. The man must have been unwell – he seemed unsure on his feet, he struggled to open his eyes and his speech was a little slurred.
I asked a lady, ‘Excuse me, we’re on our way to the football ground, is there anywhere that you could recommend for us to get lunch?’ She replied, ‘There’s places between here and the ground - but nowhere that I’d recommend’. Still, we had a punt at a place with the word ‘Tavern’ in its name, it promised ‘home-cooked meals’.
The atmosphere was just short of raucous. The locals watched television.
Discreetly, we discussed Lily’s research. I got her to do most of the talking – all clever stuff, as I ate lunch. She didn’t even notice that she was being grilled – I, the casual, interested, naïve, speculator – she, the knowledge, whose lunch was going cold.
En route – up hill - to the football ground, Lily stopped off at a supermarket to get a drink. I perused the small ads, I smiled at 'STUNNING!'
At the football ground, some children were hassling the team mascot. Recognising this, a security official moved in.
The match was a largely graceless affair. The home side lost 1-2 to Chester. With adult tickets costing just £10, and all Under 12s gaining free entry all season, I was impressed by the football people at Macclesfield Town.
On the way back to the station, I noticed some signage that I’d missed first time round.
Now, back home, I have been able to invest time into the design of my sausage. Here it is (guarded by Jim, you will see):