Sunday, 2 September 2018

Salt & Vinegar Please!


A 'CHIPPY' near the ancient town of York is attracting more than 100 Chinese visitors a week, stopping off for a fish-and-chips supper after touring the ancient Yorkshire city.
Its manager had launched his restaurant on a Chinese social media site, created an app and inducements such as menus in Chinese and photo opportunities with staff.
Chinese tour promoters are adding the 'fish-and-chips experience' to their itineraries as the traditional dish was made famous when visiting Chinese president Xi Jinping had supper with then Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015.
The Yorkshire chippy, Scotts on the A64 road at Bilbrough Top - about six miles from York, found their Chinese customers "very friendly, smiley and happy".
This news item surprised me as I recall, when living in Hong Kong back in the 1980s, Kentucky Fried Chicken struggling there - as the Chinese were wisely wary of deep frying. It seems times have changed, although Chinese culture is broad and full of surprises.
How I remember, as a boy growing up in Manchester in the 1950s, the first Chinese restaurants opening and our careful curiosity about their food. When I worked in the Far East myself, I soon learnt to respect the great depth and wonders of both cuisine and culture.
Happily, now the ordinary Chinese are discovering more about our lifestyle and traditions. Perhaps after Brexit, it that ever arrives, we will promote a truly British style. Here in Blackpool, a Mecca (sorry for mixing metaphors) to chippy lovers, we often feel we're in a living museum. Our once world-famous Victorian seaside resort has even been mooted as a World Heritage Site. Well, we'll see . . .
In the similar interest of advancing mutual understanding and world peace, this light literary website was started by retired journalists tired of all that bad news we usually read.
Instead, here is uplifting fiction and amusing, anecdotal memoir, along with popular poetry. Most of the reading on the site is free but, if you should purchase any publications on our Books page, the money helps maintain this non-profit-making venture. The books can be ordered on that page, published on Kindle and in paperbacks sponsored by the British Arts Council. They can also be ordered at stores such as Waterstones.
This autumn we hope to publish an illustrated book entitled Wish You Were Here (front cover, top), comprising the last few years of newspaper columns by Roy and his very first (and supposedly last) columns for local daily newspaper The Gazette. His current columns, published in that paper on a Thursday, can be read on our Column/Memoir page a day later. Submitted or favourite poetry is welcome on our Poem page, while excerpts of latest books are available on both the Books and Chapter/Story pages.
Also in the publishing pipeline is a fifth novel in the popular Sam Stone Investigates series (front cover, above right), set as usual here on the Fylde coast of Lancashire but also in the past at Montmartre, Paris, with an underlying jazz theme.
Jazz, fish and chips, what more would you want?
Bon apetit to all!


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