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Sober Life
by Sinclair Newton



Sober Life

Here's a strange, new sensation: I've just been listening to one of my nephews playing his cello. But he was hundreds of miles away in Newcastle upon Tyne and I was driving through foot-and-mouth forsaken Dukinfield.

Yes, he was on the radio and the strangeness of it all almost caused me to run into the back of the next bus.

I don't get to know much about any of my nephews - and there are great nephews, too - until they grow up a bit and start doing interesting things.

This one is to play in Majorca next, followed by the Royal Albert Hall where he is to perform a ten-minute solo whilst wearing an outfit that resembles what would be left of a penguin if you took its insides out.

The delight is that I can enjoy all of this - particularly boasting about it - without having had to endure what must have been years of torment for his parents and no doubt his parents' neighbours.

I suppose it is the joy of Unclehood to have nephews without nuisance. A bit like going to a restaurant and having something sumptuous to eat without having to do the shopping or the washing up.

I've been thinking about restaurants and in particular about a fish one in San Antonio.

Gary took me there and I later took two retired Blackpool landladies whose apartment I was renting when I was over with She Who Went Bananas.

It's got an X in its name and it's somewhere near the Post Office.

Excuse me, but I must go on about The Fish Baked In Salt.

What happens is this… you say to the waiter: "Could we have a fish baked in salt please?" and he looks pleased.

You then look smug because you know the diners at the adjoining tables are ordering ordinary things and will be very envious when your fish comes in.

The waiter arrives a few bottles later bearing aloft this wooden (I think) board with your fish held aloft and you are the star for having ordered it.

Apparently The Fish has been dredged in Ibiza's legendary sea salt (about two pounds of it) and then baked. It forms a crust under which your fish (by now it's definitely yours) has taken in all the good things like iodine and is positively glowing.

Of course, by the time the crust has been bashed apart and the skin and bones removed, there's just the white stuff, opalescent and gleaming and it's like chip shop cod without the batter.

But it flakes and it glows.

You could imagine a cello droning in the background.

Sinclair Newton