Fish & Chips with Fruits of Love

There might still be a few of you who remember the Fish & Chips of yesteryear. I do and remember well that The Daily Telegraph was the preferred newspaper into which the fish and chips would be wrapped in. Nothing will ever wipe out the memory of the fragrance of the newsprint embedded into those chips. The generous sprinkling of vinegar would help not only spread the newsprint bouquet but also actually imprint the black lettering onto the chips.

Who could ever forget or replace the joy of eating them and at the same time enjoy the luxury and opportunity to do some serious reading while picking at the lovely fish and chips. It was then as it is still now that juicy scandals were the preferred newspaper article. In those days a divorce could only be obtained if proof of infidelity could be obtained and presented into a Court. As the chips were being unwrapped so were the juicy divorce articles that I would eagerly devour as well. I was a randy teenager given to raging spontaneous erections no matter from which concrete reinforced steel park bench I was eating my chips.

Boy, oh boy (or, if you like, Girl, oh girl) did people go through trouble finding that proof. Nothing was more profitable that being a private detective stalking the guilty party. The best ones could name their price. Some had waiting lists as long as your arm and would even feature on the Sunday Telegraph social pages. They were the aristocracy of Australian Society on the move, almost on par with Nola Dekyvere who was the doyen of raising funds for charities and President of The Golden Ball committee. The private detective’s job was to get clear and unequivocal proof of sexual peccadilloes from anyone not being the conjugal and legal spouse (wedded bliss).

I remember reading (while devouring my chips) of a gabardine cloaked detective who had hidden underneath a bed into which, he feverishly hoped, an improper act would come to fruition. It did not take long for a couple to enter the room. He could tell they were man and women by just able to observe feet. One wore male shoes while the other had high heels. He ‘observed the undressing’ he told his Honor solemnly. It became very un-appetizing he went on to say.

“Why”, his Honor asked, keen to get to the nitty gritty? “Well, the detective offered,” while they were clearly enjoying the fruits of their improper behavior, they chucked the peeling onto my coat, he replied. “They did what,” His Honor clearly getting into his stride now, asked? “Not just once, the detective offered, but three times in one hour.” He followed this up by taking a small parcel from out of his suit pocket which the Court’s orderly, ever so solemnly, took to the Judge for damning evidence.

There was to be a short break for his Honor to contemplate this damning evidence. After resuming and the obligatory three knocks on the door, the ‘all to stand’ order was given, the divorce was granted. It was noticed by the detective, who had seen it all, that his Honor looked slightly flushed. Human nature is frail, he pensively reflected. He would not have been surprised if his Honor had a bit of private fruition just by himself. It’s not easy to listen to all those stories of human frailty and expect not to be affected.
It’s all so much Fish & Chips.


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21 Responses to “Fish & Chips with Fruits of Love”

  1. Lottie Nevin Says:

    I laughed when I saw your post title as I’ve got halfway through writing a post about the very same thing – though I admit not half so good as yours and really rather dull in comparison as there’s no mention of erections or infidelity. I think I may have to go back to the drawing board.

    And on the subject of F&C’s, I rather love the accompaniments that go with them. Not sure if it’s universal but Mushy peas, curry sauce and those rather scary looking eggs that float about in murky vinegar in large jars are also offerings that can be found in chippies the length and breadth of the British Isles. And of course when you get home and unwrap the steaming newspaper package which smells like heaven, you need bread and butter, tomato sauce and a big mug of tea to wash it all down with. See, I told you I liked them 🙂


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I am sure yours would be better. It’s not always necessary to have literature erection driven. I am only boasting. Yes, I am sure chips can be improved upon. I remember lining up in Leeds at a fish and chips shop so well known it took half an hour to get served with a queue going around their cricket ground and back again.
      I am afraid I left it too late to accept mushy peas with chips.


  2. Andrew Says:

    it may have been the Telegraph for you Gerard but where I lived the Daily Express was the wrapper of choice or perhaps The South Wales Echo. We used to have a Harry Ramsden’s in Honkers but it closed down. Shame. Now the places where you can still buy F&C use synthetic newspaper. A sort of plasticky stuff that may be reused, I am not sure. I can’t imagine The Thunderer going through a washing up machine but at least you don’t get newsprint on your chips. What was it about the piece of cod that passeth all understanding? Having recently seen Ian Anderson in concert the mention of park benches reminded me of Aqualung:

    Sitting on a park bench
    Eyeing idle girls with bad intent.
    Snot running down his nose
    Greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes.
    Aqualung my friend, don’t you start away uneasy
    Drying in the cold sun
    Watching as the frilly panties run.
    Aqualung my friend
    Feeling like a dead duck
    Spitting out pieces of his broken luck.
    Aqualung my friend, don’t you start away uneasy.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Wow, that’s a hell of a poem. Sadly newspapers are now a no go area in F&C. Just today the advertising of water being ‘organic’ has been banned. Good idea, we don’t want to think water is not water. I am sure many have different ideas. I always thought water is water. I wished Coke would get under a similar scrutiny. But then again, I don’t think it is being advertised as being organic.


  3. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Oh my goodness. You’ve got it going on.That is a slang expression and I no not from whence it came nor where it’s going.

    Too funny for words to describe this post. Gerard I think that you were quite funny when you were young and you have not strayed from the antics of your youth. I would think that some of your stories were a tad embellished but these are too good for you to fabricate.

    I can’t add my two cents worth about fish and chips but I ate French fries when younger and prior to a physician telling me that my sufferings of foot pains resulted from an allergy to potatoes.

    A great post as usual.


  4. Office Diva Says:

    Mr. O, I sometimes get the impression that you are still full of life even in your…..late 40’s?? The next time I come across an American french fry, it will be a dull specimen indeed wrapped in cardboard with no newsprint in sight. I suppose I shall have to content myself with an online gossip magazine on my iPhone. Pitiful.

    Very uplifting post. Cheers!


  5. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    All the best old movies had private eyes in their trenchcoats and I imagine a few of them were hiding under the bed waiting for something to “come up”! It must have been a great life, and when they proved their case, they could rush off and read about it in the Daily News while devouring their fish and chips.


  6. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, sweet Kayti. Those were the days alright. I wonder what sort of training those private detectives underwent. Would they practice staying under beds or lurk above bedroom ceilings? The mind boggles.


  7. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Great fun post. It triggered rather more childlike memories for me. My mother was ‘very well brought up’ and the idea of fish and chips – let alone eating out of a newspaper – was anathema to her. However we were occasionally left in my father’s total charge. On these days, with an air of happy guilt, we would be taken to the fish and chip shop, and positively encouraged to eat out a newspaper. I still recall the thrill, with the safety net of Daddy for cover.
    I should say, that in other surroundings, my mother was very enterprising. Camping on beaches in Southern Spain (in the 1950’s), my mother would cook anything we brought out of the sea. We had amazing meals.


  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thank you Hilary. It seems that reflecting on past events is something I am stuck on. I do relish it though and also enjoy reading your stories and of so many others tremendously.


  9. auntyuta Says:

    I very well remember fish and chips in newspaper.
    I also know that detectives were employed to follow the straying party to collect evidence. But your story is absolutely hilarious, Gerard. 🙂 Well done. 🙂 🙂


  10. roughseasinthemed Says:

    Oh, I was quite disappointed with the sexual diversion. Clearly I have more interest in fish and chips. That may well come from the fact that we had a f&c shop conveniently situated at the top of our drive. Most helpful. We also had another one a few minutes walk away. What more could you want in life?

    I have written endlessly about fish somewhere, so won’t write a 1000 word comment. I’m sure our newspapers were tabloids, and along with mushy peas (special order normally), and pickled eggs, we also had pickled onions. Only other condiments were vinegar and salt. Still how we eat chips now.

    We ate haddock where I came from (West Riding), no cod. And for greedy persons there were specials and doubles (I can explain if that makes no sense). For kids buying a bag of chips to hang out with mates, you could get scraps. Or bits. Or whatever you want to call them. Yummy crispy batter bits.

    I bet fish and chip shops aren’t the same as they were! We have one in Gib, no idea what it’s like though.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, amazing the passion that lingers in memories by so many of glorious fish & chips. I spend a couple of days in Leeds with friends who kept on going endlessly how their fish and chips shop was world famous. We queued up all around the cricket field and waited an hour to finally get our F&C. Afterwards it was to the Bricklayers Arms or the Wild Ducks or something pub to quench salt F&C enriched thirsts. At now time were my friends and the locals proposing to the barmaids for Holy matrimony. ( on their knees)
      Pissed like hell.
      I drove them home to understanding spouses. God knows how they ended up hugging the porcelain throne.
      I hope people in Gib are more sensible.


      • roughseasinthemed Says:

        harry ramdens wasn’t that good. I keep telling people this. All chandeliers and no knickers. Or something liek that. There was a far better one at Tingley Crossroads. Excellent fish and chips.

        I don’t think there is the same culture here. For better or for worse.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I think for better. I don’t think the Spanish eat cold cabbage standing up in draught and then boast about it!
      Even so, I really, really lust after black pudding.


      • roughseasinthemed Says:

        I’m commenting on here with my Gib hat on and we are def not Spanish. And Spanish don’t have fish n chips.

        I’ve never eaten black pudding in my life. It looked as disgusting as tripe which is possibly the worst invention in the history of gastronomy.

        With age comes less lust. Although fresh peas, garden salad, and a San Miguel still qualify.


  11. gerard oosterman Says:

    Tripe. I see it sometimes in butcher’s windows. I feel it would be a good anti slip sort of mat behind the front door on a rainy day.
    I have never eaten it and I need a couple of days rest after seeing it it in a shop.. The horror, the horror.
    As for black pudding. We all have our problems.


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