Parking the car in Wisbech, Capital of The Fens, we notice this shop window. It's one of a number in a side street attached to a large rambling shop that still announces on its fascia board that they are drapers, outfitters and purveyors of trunks- which we assumed were the cabin variety rather than lido wear. Around the corner was the main entrance to Evison's, whose paper bag tells of their stock of Ladies' Wear, Knitting Wool, Gent's Clothing, Gent's Outfitting, Bed Linen, Suit Cases and Camping Equipment. And much, much more. We went in because in another window that displayed more gloves than could ever be put to use by an acid bath murderer, I spotted the back of a particularly nice-looking green tin alarm clock. "That's £5.99" I was told by the friendly girl assistant, "But it's so slow a customer brought it back". So you get the idea. Upstairs a friendly 'gent' who looked like he'd come straight from one of my grandfather's Wisbech Zion Baptist sermons, guided me to a huge stack of flat caps in an alcove. As he wrote out a written receipt to give to the girl downstairs (pin number keypad attached to a phone socket nowhere near a counter) he says "We had Ken Dodd in here. Couldn't get rid of 'im". I asked if he was looking for tickling sticks, which will assuredly be in here somewhere.
Philip Roth: End of a chapter
2 days ago