Web site design: banboo associates Literary content: copyright of The Part-time Poets


jumpy = jumper

cardy = cardigan  

drinkies = alcohol  

pandy = hand

I-keem = ice cream

spuddy duddies = potatoes

roon = rabbit

booon = bunny

pickling = raining

pics &


Dusk is already blending with fading sunlight when some inexplicable force prompts me to break the firmest of unspoken rules by seeking absolute clarification of a past event.

‘If you don’t mind my saying, you seem a little ill at ease… Drinking in public, that is.’

Mercifully, Morton-san receives my query graciously. He pauses, regards his wine glass thoughtfully, and then seems to talk to it.

‘Well then, my smooth tasting friend, what do you think the inquisitive Ms Kurakawa actually wants to ask?’

Of course, he is being kind in pandering to my fragile condition. I know this and should back away… But the demons do spur me on so.

‘What really made me choose a hostess bar for refuge after—’ Morton-san paraphrases my clumsy question with remarkable alacrity, hesitating only momentarily before offering a reply. ‘Hand on heart, I don’t really know. I’ve never given it much thought. All I can imagine is that I must have been there before with clients. The place was private, away from home, and I could pay not to be disturbed. Ideal, I suppose, for the recently bereaved.’

I cough nervously then deplorably play Devil’s advocate with Naomi’s discovery.

‘It worked – the peace and quiet, I mean – so that’s why you returned.’

Morton-san scoffs.

‘Not at all! I hated it. Ironically, though, by the end of my first visit I’d discovered a Karato connection. Hostesses can be remarkably indiscreet in the company of a grieving foreigner, especially one with money to spend. Result: a way to feel a touch more human. So there you have it: solace through investigation… Helped along, of course, by the magical touch of serendipity.’

So, there is nothing more to discover after all. Time to go, then, before I shame myself any further.

As promised, our route back to the taxi rank is engineered to include the Mitsukoshi department store. Primarily my interest is in some magazines to read while alone, thus my wish to visit its bookshop, but I find myself shunted instead into the cosmetics section and temporarily abandoned without explanation. As the minutes tick by I can feel my restlessness growing, and I am on the point of initiating a search when Morton-san returns carrying two identical oversized boxes, which he encourages me to open despite the presence of numerous onlookers. Self-consciously, I comply – reluctantly, it must be said – and find inside two identical teddy bears, except, that is, for their colour. One dark brown, the other tan, they are introduced by Morton-san as Cyril and Cedric, and are apparently multi-functional. By day they will tend me and steady me should I stumble. At night they will guard me by vanquishing demons. And, of course, they are experienced dragon slayers.

Sweet, very sweet… And acutely embarrassing with so many shop assistants looking on. An odd fellow, then, my Mr Barraclough. But of one thing I now feel certain. He does care for me, even if only a little.

Tale Time - Cyril and Cedric

An excerpt from the novel, A Christmas Cake in Spring..