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Lincoln & Lellie

7 June 2004

I’ve said before in these pages, how fond I am of Lincoln; let me say it again. I was down for the weekend, for a symposium (which, you will remember, means a drinking party) with the northern chapter of the Crime Writers’ Association. It is not of course the north, but we are a broad and a flexible church, and we inch our borders outward at need. Or at whim, really. So we had a business meeting to be official, and a visit to the police HQ to be professional, and otherwise we ate and talked and drank and talked and hit the town while talking. It was great, you couldn’t go anywhere in Lincoln without finding another crime writer there first.

Having done the tourist/cathedral bit last time, this visit I just shopped. They have good shops; I found a butcher that I craved, that I just wanted to bring home and reposition on the corner of my street. And I found a tea-shop like no tea-shop I have ever seen: not just dozens but hundreds of varieties of tea, and run by someone whom I strongly suspect of being an elf in exile, one of those beautiful young men who seem to walk more lightly on the earth than the rest of us. So we did some serious tea-talking - and this is me, please note, who has never taken tea seriously except in Taiwan, where you have to - and I came away very happy with a packet of Chinese white tea, a brew of which I am sipping as I type. He might have changed my life, I can see this becoming a habit (and he does do mail order).

And so home, to the last university business of the semester and then the news I’ve been dreading, that a long-time and beloved friend of mine has died. She’s been ill for months, and the book and the teaching between them have conspired to prevent my travelling to Cornwall to see her; and now - having finished the one and missed the deadline for the other - I could have gone tomorrow, and so she died over the weekend. She always was contrary thataway.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2004
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.