Fish and chips shop dream comes true for English pair

Breathless and exuberant, Barry and Dawn Newsum touched down at Lester B. Pearson International Airport with their dog, Candy, to start their new life in Canada.

It was the climax of a three-year saga in which the Canadian Government had refused them entry to run a fish and chips shop they had purchased in Fergus, Ont., a purchase that the Foreign Investment Review Agency had approved more than a year ago.

Fish and Chip Bar on Brighton Pier

The couple tried to describe their relief at finally setting foot on Canadian soil. “I don’t believe it yet,” said Mrs. Newsum, 22. “I can’t wait to see my brother and sisters, but seeing Mom and Dad, that’s the best part.” Under the Liberal Government, immigration officials had said Mr. Newsum, who ran a muffler repair shop in Nottinghamshire, and Mrs. Newsum, a college-trained secretary, did not have what it takes to run a fish and chips shop. Continue reading

A kingdom united by the deep fryer

J. Alfred Prufrock, that self-effacing nonhero – that ordinary man – of T.S. Eliot’s poem, may have “measured out his life with coffee spoons,” but mine has been measured out with what the Scots rather cozily call “fish suppers” or the English (who invented them) call “fish and chips.”

Stretches of a life can be punctuated by surprisingly small, even ordinary moments. Why not fish-and-chip moments? Toothsome white fish in crispy, delectable batter and chunky rectangular fingers of potato, all deep-fried for exactly the right amount of time. The rarity of the commonplace.

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Fish and chips recall for me times when I was a student in Cambridge; a teacher in Hertfordshire; on holiday at the seaside. My decade in Yorkshire, painting and writing, when I might dine in the remote village of Dent, high in the Dales, or low down in Settle, the busy town five miles’ drive from the farmhouse in my rattling Ford Transit.

Today in Glasgow, we are spoiled for choices of fish-and-chip shops. There must be dozens in easy striking distance, though not all at the peak when it comes to quality. Lately, we have been carrying out an individualized survey to discover which is best. Mr V’s at the foot of Battlefield Road is running current favorite.

But good as some fish-and-chippy experiences continue to be – the finest often served up in the most grotty-looking establishments – nothing rivals the fish and chips of my early childhood.

The fish-and-chip shop some way up Park Road featured large. My older brother, whose skill at badgering the grown-ups was of notable prowess, would campaign persistently for threepenny-worth of chips. Dad would generally give in gracefully and provide the cash. Continue reading

The wedding party, a [pounds sterling]35bn guest list and a menu of fish and 1chips

IT WAS one of the most lavish parties London has seen for years and the final bill is expected to run into millions of pounds.

But when it came to the menu the 600 guests had something rather more down-to-earth – burgers and fish and chips.

Lord Paul, 74, the Indian-born Labour peer and chairman of the Caparo steel company, invited the political establishment to a party to celebrate the wedding of his youngest son Angad, 37, to media lawyer Michelle Bonn.

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The 600 guests included Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah, Baroness Amos, Robin Cook, Lord Lawson, Lord Howe and Lord Bragg.

Also present were Lord Paul’s twin sons Ambar and Akash, 47, his daughter Anjali, 45, and his six grandchildren.

The reception was yesterday at Lancaster House, a palace normally used for government banquets. It was said to be the most lavish party Lord Paul had given since he arrived in Britain in 1966, and also celebrated the birthday of his wife, Aruna. Continue reading

Emily Post, this isn’t your wedding, dude

It would not be a traditional ceremony. That much I knew even before embarking on the journey to Prince Edward Island, steeled for the prospect of several days in “The S&M Wedding Week Extravaganza.”

Lest you get the wrong idea, S and M were the bridal couple and the architects of an event that promised to be a first in my experience.

I’ve been to my share of weddings over the years and enjoyed them all. This one, of my younger grandson, I faced with certain misgivings. Everything pointed to a service that flew in the face of tradition and I, at 84, am schooled in the ways of Emily Post.

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His proposal itself was unconventional. Not that anyone these days drops on bended knee, but holding up hand-lettered signs in an airport waiting room? Her exuberant “Yes!” initiated plans for a wedding also uniquely theirs.

There were hints, as the months passed, that the forthcoming nuptials might hold surprises. Guests were alerted in January to hold the date in July. The medium for this advance notice was a card picturing the happy couple and promising, “You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll hurl.” Was I the only recipient who didn’t know the current meaning of hurl or recognize in the image a takeoff on Wayne’s World?

Then came the “formal” invitation in May. No elegant engraving on ivory-coloured stationery requested the honour of my presence. Instead, a pale-green poster heralded in inch-high letters that on “one day only” the couple would “get hitched.” On the back was a hand-drawn map of downtown Charlottetown, renamed here “the City of Love.” A big red heart indicated the hotel where all would unfold. Included were tickets to “the Event of the Century” and a multiple-choice reply card offering six options, from “gladly attend” to “think you are just trying to wrest a gift out of me.” Continue reading

Spuds you like? Fish and Chips

Britain’s top chefs are giving fish and chips a new and respectable lease of life. Once a working-class staple when everyone knew their plaice it’s now a national dish to savour“, says A A Gill.

Remember the most exciting feeling in the world: waking up in a strange tangled bed with a strange voice calling from the kitchen: “Do you take sugar?” Beside you on the pillow is a white bra that smells faintly of vinegar. Last night, after the chat in the pub, on the way to the fish and chip shop, you casually slipped an arm over her shoulder. Your mates wolf-whistled. Then there was the first salty kiss up against the railings in the dark. Snogging, saveloy in one hand, the other up and under her blouse struggling for a clasp.spuds-you-like

Remember standing at the bus stop at midnight with a mate. Beery hooting, dum-dumming the second verses of pop songs. Two girls clattering round the corner on impossible heels. They’re as frightening and exotic as a brace of samurai. As they pass, the tall one, the blonde one, takes a chip from your packet with frosted Boots nails like a butcher bird’s beak. She pushes it between her puce lips and blows you an ironic kiss. Continue reading