I went swimming this morning for the first time in a month. The gap had been due in part to the schoolkids being on holiday and filling up the pool, and also to a degree of laziness on my part.
I really enjoyed the swim, but felt a touch 'foggy' as I emerged. Afterwards in the changing room I had a conversation with a fellow swimmer.
We exchanged pleasantries about the weather and the benefits of swimming. I confessed that I would feel much better after a coffee.
I am often aware of regional accents, and I detected a southern one, he used the long 'a' in 'barths', brummies go to the shorter voweled 'baths'. Putting aside any residual prejudices against cockneys ( I don't mind that Wembley stadium was rebuilt at four times the cost of moving it to the Midlands) I asked him where he was from. "Shoeburyness" he offered.
My father was born in the army barracks in Shoeburyness just 3 months shy of a 101 years ago. My grandad was in the army in family quarters down there. Thank God grandad moved the family back to Birmingham soon after, or anti northern prejudices would now be peppering this piece.