Mr B is a Man on a Mission.
And Mr B on a mission is a sight to be seen. The determination! The persistence! The sheer stickability!
He is on the search for the Perfect Cherry and in his opinion (which is not at all humble, I have to tell you) that means Kentish Naps. Naps, for the uninitiated, stands
for Napoleons but, surprisingly enough, Naps do not come from the Land of Snails and Frog Legs across the Channel but are a species native to the County of Kent. They are slightly different in appearance, too, being more yellow than red. They are also quite,
Mr B, being a Man of Kent, born and bred, remembers gorging himself on naps plucked straight from the trees in many a Kentish cherry orchard.
He positively salivates when he talks about them. I don’t like to ask whether the cherries were come by legally or whether he was scrumping – I suspect the latter: Mr B did not have a Completely Blameless Childhood (but then that’s another
Should I question why it has to be naps above all the cherries in the world, he likes to remind me of a far-off day at the seaside when our Foursome were
small. We used to go to St Mary’s Bay where we could park our car right up against a beach which was just made for building sandcastles, picnicking and long drawn out games of French cricket. At the end of one perfect seaside day we were
travelling back home when we came across a roadside stall selling – yes, you’ve guessed it – naps. I can’t remember but I think it quite likely that he bought up the whole stall’s offerings. We ate them all, with relish.
They were not (apparently) quite as good as those plucked straight from the tree but they were pretty near.
I actually remember that drive for a different
reason – we were playing our well-worn tape of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at full belt and everyone was singing along – until gradually one voice after another dropped off as each child slipped into sleep. Finally all was silent
in the back of the car and the silence lasted all the way home where we carried each sleepy, sandy, sun-kissed child into the house and up to bed. A perfect ending to a perfect day. With cherries too, Mr B would doubtless remind me.
Anyway, Mr B has been on the Internet to research the time when naps are harvested. He has also enquired at several market stalls where the stall holders have gaped at him with a complete lack of comprehension
and offered him their best cherries, straight from Sunny Spain. But they’re not naps! he told them. They shrugged their shoulders, clearly dismissing him as another Mad Old Man from Worthing. Indeed, so desperate was Mr B to find his naps that he has
been planning a special trip to Kent where we would travel the highways and byways in search of a roadside stall selling these most elusive of cherries,
it was a different story completely as we made a special trip to Pixie’s the greengrocers. This necessitated a short trip on the Pulse bus (love our bus passes!) but it was well worth it to find, at last, a knowledgeable greengrocer. Not only did he
know what naps were, he also knew where they came from. It was likely, he told Mr B, that there will be a bumper harvest of naps this year. If we return at the end of next week, or perhaps the week after, they should be on sale. At which point he thought again,
recognised a despairing man when he saw one and took our telephone number, promising to ring Mr B just as soon as the naps arrived. Now I don’t know about you but I call that unbeatable service.
My only worry is that when Mr B finally gets his hands on them the naps won’t be as deliciously, juiciliciously tasty as he remembers them being. (I know, there’s no such word as juiciliciously, I just made
it up, I’m quite proud of it....) He will be so, so, SO disappointed.
I really don’t want to see a grown man cry.