Friday, 23 September 2011

Get Yer 'Ands Orf My Cobnuts!

There is an elderly owner of a fruit and veg stall, down a market very close to where I work, who is a right miserable so and so. I don't why but every encounter I have with him seems to be marked by some grievance on his side. I've been reprimanded for taking my time when eyeing up his apples and pears. My enthusiastic appreciation of his blood oranges has been met with derision. And he once gave me a right old rollocking for, as in his own words, for "fingering his figs". One episode in particular lingers long in my mind. I had made quite a hefty purchase of various bits and bobs from his stall and after handing my cash over, I went to grab what I thought was my blue carrier bag, when he snapped, "oh no sunshine, what do you think you're doing?". "I'm taking my stuff", I said. "That's not your stuff, this bag is for someone picking up their stuff later, your stuff is in that bag", he barked, pointing with one stubby finger to another blue carrier bag. "How do you know that's not my stuff?", I countered. "Because your stuff is different to her stuff". "Her stuff?". "Yes, her stuff". "Well, what stuff did she get?". Unfortunately, the conversation stopped quite abruptly at that point as Mr Grumpy simply shoved a blue carrier bag into my chest before turning and walking off, muttering under his breath. I think he might have even called me a stupid bar steward. Which was a shame because I was enjoying myself. Despite this somewhat abusive relationship, I always return because his responses appeal to my absurdist world view and as time passes, the opportunity for mischievous and surreal exchanges grow and grow. After this latest conversation however, I think he is beginning to let on that I am a bit of a wind up merchant.

"These nuts, are they cobnuts?


"From the cobnut tree?"

"They come from Kentish Cobs"

"Ah and where do they come from?"

"They come from Kent"

"Ah, hence the name"

*pause* "Yes" *pause* "Do you want some?"

"What's the difference between a green cobnut and a golden cobnut?"

"A green cobnut is fresh, a golden cobnut is older, nuttier, without the husk"

"And how fresh are your nuts today?"

"Do you want some cobnuts or what?"

"Hmm, nah, maybe not. Do you have any hazelnuts though?"

The lady standing behind me got served after that.

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