Our old neighbour across the road had long ago scornfully told us that the huge bananas we were buying weren't bananas at all, but plantains. He said they were a con, and tasteless, but we just smiled at him and put it down to more of his opinionated, geriatric ranting, which was an occasional flaw.
However (yes there's a point) when we bought a tiny hand of Fyffes from the grocers this week, the taste was like stepping back in time. They are incomparably sweet and wonderful and reminiscent of bygone days.
Now the bit where I explain why The Man On The Clapham Ambulance compares to a proper banana.
I never thought of my dad and uncle Leslie as having a 'type' of humour. They were (and pardon a daughter for hero worship) simply blessed with the dryest, quietest, most gentle and delightful sense of lunacy. They were silly - silly with straight faces and their attitude was my heaven.
I'd forgotten what proper silliness was, just like I'd forgotten proper bananas.
And then I left a compliment on The Man's blog, and got this email back:
Thank you for your kind words of appreciation; it's most
gratifying to learn that my little stories amuse you.
I was terribly sorry, however, to hear about your father: a
career as a mental nurse followed by a spell as an
ambulanceman; how awful - he must have been quite profoundly
mad by the time he retired. I hope and trust that he found
some small comfort in his washing machines.
All ambulancemen turn for solace in their twilight years to
tinkering with inanimate household objects, often finding
great consolation in the innards of an old wireless or a
prized collection of broken kettles. A shed and a bicycle is
really all that most men ask of life.
My own father developed a deep and abiding love of
refrigerators in his latter years, eventually, when he judged
the time was right, climbing into a chest freezer and simply
shutting the lid. I can think of no finer way for a man to
pass on; indeed, we'll probably bury him in it one of these days.
It's certainly a theme that warrants further investigation and
I thank you for bringing it to my attention.
The Man on the Clapham Ambulance
And I really can't add anything to that - fantastic.