|Ma and I pretending to own a beach hut.|
For our whirlwind tour of East Anglia, we’ve booked to stay at Premier Inns; inexpensive, efficient and do what they say on the tin… ‘Sorry, guys,’ a frazzled-looking member of the restaurant staff tells us as we arrive for our evening meal, ‘you’re not going to like what I’m about to say.’ (Too late; Ma’s already not particularly thrilled to be addressed as a guy.) The kitchen grill is apparently billowing black smoke so most of the menu’s off. We cut our losses, find a Chinese restaurant a couple of miles away and settle down for a surprisingly delicious meal with beautifully balanced flavours and textures… until a wayward chilli hits the back of Ma’s throat.
‘Water?’ offers a concerned waiter.
‘No!’ Ma manages to gasp because no matter how many times we tell her water’s good for her, she just won’t drink enough of it.
‘Yes, please,’ I add quickly before one of us has to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre.
Disaster is, thank goodness, averted. By breakfast time, even the kitchen is restored to order. It’s a bright, beautiful morning and we’re off … to look at a boat!