For the benefit of new readers, readers with a poor memory, confused old readers and anyone who tuned into the wrong website by mistake, I think I should explain that Knickerbocker Glory, as well as being a large ice cream pudding, is the name of the set of radio plays that I wrote a decade ago that sat in a corridor for some months before limping home covered with genuine BBC dust. At the time I had less experience of writer’s rejection than I have now. I have currently been touting my comic novel round for a good eight years; I had a fake literary agent for two and a half years until the police turned up on his doorstep and I still possess enough coffee stained rejection letters from real literary agents to wallpaper the back bedroom. Incidentally if anyone reading is a publisher, or has an auntie who is a publisher, the novel is still very available, highly erudite, funny, has a short, short skirt, good legs, long hair, only screeches a bit on the top notes and would weep buckets the minute she got the part. She’s really only been born in order to be there on the stage starring and the minute she’s famous, will lose three stones in weight, temporarily marry another actor and instantly adopt six foreign orphans from photo opportunities round the world.
The radio play, however, never got sent out again but has been served up here weekly, or possibly even weakly, archived under Knickerbocker Glory. There are several playlets within. We have regularly visited the radio archaeologist, Very Devon, his assistant who does all the digging, Derek Here and his nemesis, Coracle Man, a member of the public with a knack for turning up at recordings wearing a boat and saying all the wrong things loudly as the tape is running. In one episode Coracle Man put a pickaxe through a water main and I am still getting spam from plumbing agencies linked to that posting. To umbrella this one from the spam showers I should perhaps point out that beer can be bought from pubs. Well, at least that is my husband’s belief. As I keep telling him, you can really only hire it, once it’s given your liver a work out it’s keeping plumbers in a honest day’s work again.
Quick burst of early English theme music, tambours and shawms.
Very Devon. ’Ello and welcome to Archaeology Now with me, Very
Devon and my assistant, Derek here. We’re in the
cellar of a modern pub where re flooring ’as uncovered
the remains of what might be a Roman floor under the
old boards. We’re being very cautious even though we
’ave got three trays full of black and white tiles. What
do we know for certain, Derek?
Derek Here The best bitter’s very good.
Very Devon So it is and they do a lovely ploughman’s lunch. But
what about the floor? ’Ow complete is it?
Derek Here It’s difficult to see because it’s so dark down here. I
think we should open the barrel hatch and get a bit
more light in.
Very Devon Good idea. I’ll do that.
Sounds of hatch opening.
Very Devon There, that’s more like it. Oh I say, look at that. ’Ow
impressive is that then?
Derek Here It’s massive. Very untypical black and white
geometrical pattern. More like 1920s.
Very Devon There’s writing look, over there, under the arch.
Coracle Man Cooee!
Very Devon Oh ’ow annoying. You open an ’atch and some fool
sticks ’is ’ead through.
Coracle Man Cooee, it’s me! Oh, hello, it’s you.
Very Devon Oh no, it’s the idiot with the boat. What are you doing
Coracle Man I just saw the hole and thought it needed looking into. Is
that a tiled floor you’ve dug up?
Derek Here We thought it might be Roman.
Coracle Man Oh how fantastic. I love the Romans. Hang on, if it’s
Roman why does the writing say ‘Groceries’?
Very Devon What? It’s Latin, innit?
Coracle Man You’re reading it upside down. You can see it quite
clearly from up here. Look: Dry Goods, Groceries.
Very Devon Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs.
Coracle Man I’m not surprised at all. You should have had me as a
consultant. I only live round the corner. This is where
the old grocery store used to be. You should have
asked me. Do you want to come and excavate my
Very Devon Definitely not.
Coracle Man Are you sure? It could do with a dig.
Very Devon I think this wants thinking about. What do you think,
Derek Here My thoughts exactly.
Coracle Man What are you going to do?
Very Devon Close the ’atch and pop upstairs for a pint. Mind yer
JaneLaverick.com – cool, refreshing, silly.