tea and penguins...

I apply the sort of dedication to buying secondhand that Roy Castle used to sing about on Record's true, if you want to be the best and you want to beat the rest, dedication's what you need...
However, every once in a while an item of unparelleled form and function drops into my peripheral vision and I'm smitten.
What is it about the Penguin? I'm immediately drawn to that multi coloured jacket with its thick creamy stripe; I find it almost impossible to leave behind on an op shop bookshelf a dogeared copy of a book I already own or have read at least twice.
I put it down to a chance encounter on a train circa 1979.
The first Saturday of every month was a time of ritual and tradition during my childhood years. The Whitgift Centre, Croydon was my mothers church of choice and Marks and Spencer's her alter. My brother and I would trail in her wake, supposedly just "TOUCHING WITH OUR EYES", but I have never been able to resist the feel of fabric and my brother would always try and position himself so he could catch a glimpse of middle aged lady flesh through the slight gap in the changing room curtains; strange predilections even at nine.
Rattling home, tucked amongst the carrier bags and sweetened into submission with chocolate, I spotted my stranger seated across the aisle.
He was wearing an old army jacket and an earring, brown hair tumbling a la David Essex he plucked a Penguin from his battered old satchel. He stopped me in mid chomp.
At this point I'd love to say he noticed me staring, winked and twinkled at me a little before asking for a bite of my Curlywurly. Unfortunately, I'd be fibbing... of course he ignored me but I've always remembered him, the epitome of cool who started me down the path of Penguin love and a thing for men with earrings.

Edit: I'm also mad keen on men with speech impediments, but that's another story...

The cookies are a brownie macaroon mix that I have yet to master fully!


  1. I have a thing for penguin books as well... I don't have such a delightful story to relate though!

    Right that is it, stop the cookies and tell me about this wonderful diet! Went to put a skirt on last night - that I WORE LAST WEEK and couldn't do it up, so need some serious help!

  2. Fabulous post - had me smiling about your brother and your curly wurly !

    You were deleated ! but I see it's because the "The" has gone - glad I found you again !

  3. Ooohh! So what was he reading?

    Your story is so redolent of my childhood too. My sister and I used to hide between the rails of clothes in M and S. I had to buy curlywurlies when I was out on my own though - only KitKats (brought from home) were offered by my mum! In fact, I think I've inherited that trait...

  4. We were singing along to Terry 'My Bruvver' curly wurly fame man (memory has gone aged so I can't think of his surname, but I could when I was singing) on the way back from the beach the other night. That's what a curly wurly means to me.Then a David Essex lookieliky on the train - all too much excitement Jus. Loved your touch with your eyes - made me chuckle.

    Lisa x

  5. Oof, your description of that tousle-haired, well-read youth sounds like an enchanting moment to me.

    Penguin books. I love spotting a row of those alluring blues and oranges in a second hand book shop.