The village of St Just-near-Trunch in Norfolk lies about 4 miles north of North Walsham, and 3 miles south-west of Mundesley – just near Trunch, in fact.
It’s most famous resident is, of course, Sid Kipper – singer, storyteller, dancer, multi-instrumentalist, and all round megostar. But there are other worthy residents, not least some of Sid’s own relatives. This section introduces some of them, in Sid’s own words.
1 DOT KIPPER (Residence – Box Cottage, Christopher Chatter Way) “My old mother. Or not, if you want to believe Cyril Cockle, who reckons me and my cousin Annie were swapped at birth. Mind you, he never says what we were swapped for, so I’m reversing my judgement on that one. Nowadays mother spends most of her time watching Neighbours. Well, not so much Neighbours, being as we don’t have a telly, as neighbours, because she do have a large pair of binoculars. To look at her now you wouldn’t know she was a famous authoress, but she was. She did this book called Dot Kipper’s Book Of Handy Household Hints, and it sold loads. Well, it did till people tried the recipes. Then all hell broke loos. Anyhow, I’ll get them to put some of her stuff on here somewhere if I ever find out how it works. What is a web sight anyhow?”
Dot Kipper’s Handy Household Hints
2 RUBY KIPPER (Residence – The Old Fakery, Mohamed Alley) “Married to my uncle George, which mean she’ve been living alone for the last twenty years due to him helping the police with their enquiries in the Isle Of Wight. Mind, I’m not saying there haven’t been a few men got their feet under her table in that time, but you can’t get up to a lot of no good with your feet under the table, can you? Even if Ruby was under the table as well, she’d be too far gone for any hanky panky. Because she knows how to drink, does Ruby. Her motto is ‘The same again, thanks, and make it a double’. Still, what with George being on the run now, they reckon Ruby might go off and join him. Maybe that’s why she’s been practicing the castanets of late.”
Ruby in her younger days
3 CYRIL AND CYNTHIA COCKLE (Residence – Number 2, Cockle Cottages, Kirsty Walk) “Cyril and Cynthia have lived at number 2 since his old mother, Coral, passed off. Cyril reckon he’s my rival at the folk singing, but he’s not even in my league. He’s still in the Swafield and District Bob Martins Division 3 (South), while I’m in the Premier Ship, so I don’t know why he bothers really. Anyhow, he don’t have much of a chance, given as how all the Cockle Family songs are so bad. I mean, he have to make do with stuff like ‘My Love Has Got A Big Red Nose’, and ‘Robin Hood And The Nightsoilman’. Well, he’s never going to get no promotion with stuff like that, I can tell you. As for Cynthia, well, she used to be a Mussel before she married Cyril, so you can guess what they sang at the wedding. You can guess all you like, as a matter of fact, but if you come up with the right answer I’ll be astonished. The Vicar certainly was. Anyhow, Cynthia is the quiet one of the two which is a shame, really, as she couldn’t sing worse than he does.”
Sid and Cyril in concert
4 EXECUTIVE-STYLES, TOWNIES, AND OTHER FOREIGNERS (Residences – all over the place, but mostly in the new houses built in and around Vicious Circle) “I can’t tell you a whole lot about these people, due to the fact they don’t talk to me. Or if they do it’s while they drive past in their four-by-four Landrangers, on their way out of the village, so I can’t hear them. One or two have been into the Old Goat Inn, but when they found out they couldn’t get a cuppa chinos, or grape wine, they didn’t bother coming back. Which goes to show that they can take advice when it’s offered. One did once tell me that she was something in the city, but she didn’t say what city, or what the something was, so that weren’t a lot of help. On the whole we ignore them and they ignore us, so I reckon that makes us all equally ignorant.”
Letter to the Trunch Trumpet
5 FARMER AND MRS TROUT (Residence – Away Farm) “They do say that it’s Mrs Trout who wear the trousers, but so what? They also say it’s Farmer Trout that wear the dresses, so all in all it’s half of one and six dozen of the other if you ask me. Only there’s no need to ask me, is there? Because I’ve just told you. Mrs Trout is big in the WVRS. She’s pretty big in the trousers too, come to think of it, which I wish I hadn’t now. Farmer Trout is best known for his saddlefront pigs, and for being in charge of BAT, which is Bigots Against Tolerance. They had their manifesto in my book, Cod Pieces. The Vicar said it should be called a personifesto, but they weren’t having any. Mind you, men do get blamed for a lot. I mean, manslaughter, I suppose that’s fair enough. And mental. But the menopause is going a step too far.”
BAT transport policy
6 FARMER OYSTER (Residence – Old Mac Donalds Farm) “There’s been Oysters at this farm as long as anyone can remember. Years ago it was actually called Oyster Farm, but they had to change it because people kept knocking on the door to try and buy shellfish. So then they called it after the Oyster who was farming there at the time, who was named Donald, and known for wearing an old mac. He did have a new mac, but he wouldn’t wear it because he reckoned if he did it wouldn’t be new any more, so then he’d have two old macs, and one of them was enough for anyone. After that the family started having more and more proper names to get away from being called things like Old Mac. The Oyster at Old Mac Donalds Farm nowadays is called Ebenezer, Isiah, Emanuel, Ignatius Oyster, but he’s generally known by his initials.”
Barley, Barley and Barley-Oh
7 LORD AND LADY SILVER-DARLING (Residence – The Great Hall) “The Silver-Darlings are new in the village – we’ve only had them for three or four hundred years. But they still reckon they can tell everyone what to do, and they’re generally right. They come at the time of the lowland clearances, when the land was all fenced off for sheep ranching. So everyone else had to take what they could, which was mostly starvation, but I suppose that’s better than nothing. Some years later the bottom dropped out of the sheep (and they reckon foot and mouth was bad) and then they went over to the Norfolk four-course lunch.”
A Christmas Nosebag
8 ANNIE KIPPER (Residence – The Coote Memorial Museum) “Cousin Annie and me are reckoned to have been swapped at birth, but since no-one can say what it was we was swapped for I’ll take it with a pinch and a punch. She lives over the shop so she’s handy for any late night curating that might need doing. She also writes pomes about derry-down-dildos and fluffy baa lambs and such. “I wandered lonely as a clod” – that’s one of hers. Personally I can take it or leave it, but if I had the choice I’d leave it. Someone once said she was carrying a torch for me, but that’s ridiculous. Annie would never come poaching. Annie is still on the shelf, but if you ask me she’s passed her sell-by date. If anyone would like to take her off our hands we’d be only too grateful. All offers to aunt Ruby.
A Pome By Annie
9 THE BREAMS (Residence – The Vicarage, now re-named ‘Dunsinnin”) “Our Vicar come to the village in 1967, and he married his wife the next year. Mind you, she wasn’t his wife until he married her, so I should say he married someone who wasn’t his wife. But, if I did, it’d still sound wrong. Mind you, Bridget would be Bridget whichever way you look at it, even down your nose, which a lot of people did. Well, she was only a trainee lecturess in teacher training, and a lot of people thought Derek could do better for himself. Most of them were undetatched women who thought they were better than a trainee lecturess, as a matter of fact. But it’s worked out alright, and they seem to get on alright. At least, they always back each other up, which can make things awkward because really one of them needs to be in the front. It means they move in mysterious ways.
A Song To Bridget
10 MRS DACE (Residence – The Corner Shop) “Mrs Dace have run the corner shop for yonks (although some reckon during the war she ran it for Yanks, which may explain why she stock so many silk stockings). You can always get what you need in there. You can’t always get what you want, but whatever it is she hasn’t got, she’ll always find you a replacement. For instants, I went in once for some paint stripper, because it was less work stripping off the paint left on the front door than putting some more paint on. Only she didn’t have none. But she sold me a bottle of McSporans Finest Distilled Whiskish. “That’ll sort out your worries, young Kipper-me-lad” she said, and she was right an’ all. Although to tell you the truth I can’t remember to this day what happened about the door.
A snippet from A Midsummer Night’s Bream
11 ERNIE SPRATT (Residence – The Old Goat Inn) “Old Ernie is what they call ‘miserable-go-lucky’. That mean although he’s lucky, he don’t let that spoil a good grump. And what make him grumpy is usually customers, because they’re always wanting something. Like being served, or being told no he don’t do food, it’s a pub not a restaurant, and would they like it if he came round their house and demanded a pint of Old Nasty? Things like that. The only thing he don’t mind is if they ask to borrow the cards, because they’re his cards, and he always insist on playing, and that’s when he’s so lucky. Let’s just say that when he tell a customer he’s marked their card he means it. So I just play darts with him. And if he’s playing with marked darts I’ve never caught him at it.
A story set in the Old Goat Inn
More to follow, as and when ……………..