A troupe of Chinese dancing girls approached.
‘You American?’ they asked.
‘Ah, English. English good.’
‘Dead right it’s good.’
‘You want to come for picnic with us, so we practice proper English?’
‘Dunno. What’s in the tucker bag?’
‘The food box.’
‘Ah, food box. Rice.’
‘Rice? Just rice?’
‘Fried rice. You like fried rice?’
‘Well, yeah, ’suppose I do. No bean sprouts or water chestnuts?’
‘No, just rice. You only have time for rice, then we give you our undivided attention…’
‘Hey, that’s pretty good English for a Mandarin speaker.’
They giggled – all at the same time – and the reverie faded. But then I realised something. You know what Ashbourne doesn’t have? It doesn’t have a Chinese takeaway. Whoever heard of a town without a Chinese takeaway?
It was my ex-wife who introduced me to Chinese food. I’d never heard of bean sprouts or water chestnuts until then. She also introduced me to Monkey and The Water Margin. The hero of the latter, Ling Cheung, became a household name and I never looked back.
So there you have it. Ashbourne is seriously deficient in one important particular. And I managed a post after all.