Jedland has always held a soft spot for me, and while I originally thought Jed’s story had been told, I now realise it needs to be finished.
The Jedland sequel picks up in 2016, where Jed is now in his early fifties, no longer working in the press room, yet still hankering for a final dream to be fulfilled.
Below is a short snippet
Heading along Leighton Buzzard’s High Street in search of a cup of tea at May’s Tea Shop, Jed P Horton’s well-eaten, and almost non-existent fingernails held grip to a travel brochure he’d had his eye on for some time now. The brochure had been the only change to his routine. A routine that took him daily along the same route . . . always at the same time of ten in the morning . . . his feet religiously secured in a pair of favoured red Doc Martens, which after suffering years under his lumbered pace, were now held together with more of a wing and a prayer than the dozen or so tubes of glue he’d purchased over the years. It was fair to say Jed’s boots had seen better days. And it was fair to say Jed had too.
Of late the nip in the air had started to catch up with him, and not bothering to slow his pace, nor change his grip on the brochure, Jed sunk his neck into the up-turned collar of his weathered, brown leather jacket, going as far as pulling the zip hard until it would go no further, and even then giving it an extra pull to ensure it was right to the top.
As to the teashop, well it certainly wasn’t May acting as a draw card. Not a chance. For as Jed would say, May had taken the wrong turn when passing the looks department on her way to be birthed. She’d also gone on to make matters worse by adding tattooed lips and eyebrows – which even Jed would wager money on being a do-it-at-home job. She’d effectively done a hatchet job on herself, and having done so, now paid the price of garnering the kind of attention she’d hoped for, but yet beneath was along the lines of, what the heck has this nutter done?
Jed could vouch for this too, having paid witness to a combination of surprise, fear and confusion, as non-locals entering the teashop found themselves holding May’s gaze far longer than they really should do, or for that matter need to. They pretty much followed the same pattern, trailing an eyebrow to the peak, just below her heavy fringe of grey hair and of late purple highlights, and then back down again, before crossing to the other brow and repeating. If they weren’t careful they could be at it all day, eyes going up and down, down and up, all the while May smiling a toothless smile, as often than not she’d left her teeth at home, or had dropped them in a glass by the till.
In fact both ends of May had fallen victim to the wrong end of the body scale. There were bunions too. Great, big, onion sized lumps, overlapping her sandals. Jed had caught sight of them often enough over the years, and in doing so could well understand the ease of being put you off your teacake, should they be in view as you went to take a bite.
No, what drew Jed to May’s then was how she ran the place. Setting it up as you’d have expected in the 70s and early 80s. A place where when you wanted a cuppa, all you had to do was ask for a tea. There was none of this choose a blend of leaves from a carefully written chalkboard, secured to the wall behind the counter. Further more, and thankfully, there was no sight of egg-timers, fancy pots, and pyramid shaped teabags within a fifty-mile radius. No way, all you need do at May’s was offer a nod, a thumbs up, and a single word, tea. Magic it was, almost immediately you got your tea; a heavy, thick-lipped mug of strong, sweet tea that warmed you to the core, and called Jed back every day.
If he were to be lucky, May would have some sausages sizzling too. And being it was market day, she probably had some soft, fresh rolls to push two fat ones into, layering with them HP brown sauce and a flick of mustard. Talk about a winning breakfast. He was already licking his lips as he touched the door of the Tea Shop.