James Marston: I’m feeling a bit ‘sick’ this week

James Marston at Ipswich Police Museum

James Marston at Ipswich Police Museum

Have you spoken to anyone under 25 recently?

I was having a Sunday drink overlooking the sparking waters of the North Sea in Felixstowe where I have a small flat with sea views (distant) when it happened to me.

Millie, the daughter of my friend David joined us and started chatting. At least I think that’s what she was doing as I could barely understand a word. “Absolute Rodney”, “sick”, “fresh” and other phrases flowed out which don’t mean what they say.

Apparently ‘fresh’ doesn’t mean a little bit too saucy but in fact means something highly acceptable. ‘Sick’ has nothing to do with vomit but means excellent. And the Rodney business is, well, not something I dare mention in case I upset die hard fans.

The conversation turned to bluds (friends) and rents (parents) and someone who had dissed (disrespected) someone over a beef (problem). I nodded sagely but it was exhausting trying to keep up and watching her ability to talk without falter while ‘snap chatting’ and ‘facebooking’ at all times.

Anyway, she discussed the virtues of a young gentleman acquaintance she described as “hench”. I asked if I might be considered hench but, as I think I discerned from the reply given once my young friend had stopped laughing, that it is an adjective reserved for those a little more muscular.

I asked what word best describes me.

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“Tubby” came the searingly honest reply. And then, to add insult to injury, when the waitress delivered our coffees she looked directly at me and asked who was the “fat white” at which I indignantly said I was having an espresso and could she be a little more polite and where are the biscuits.

It seems, embarrassingly, that I misheard and got on my high horse for nothing as she had said “flat white” which was the coffee being drunk by someone thinner.

Anyway, I was glad to get home for a rest because the next day I was visiting the Suffolk Constabulary Museum. It’s by appointment only, and found in the corridors near the canteen at Suffolk headquarters in Martlesham.

My plain-speaking-photographer friend Lucy, the one getting married, caught the moment as I sat with a bigger selection of handcuffs than I had seen for some time. The museum, run by lovely volunteers, also has a birch – used until the 1950s to punish the unruly – and other weapons seized by officers over the years including knuckle dusters and a few flick knives. Sick.