“Remember the teas we had on Sunday, Mum?”
“No, I can’t say I do,” said Jessie, tearing at a slice of bread.
“Of course you do,” scolded Lew. He went on to explain, mainly for Frances’ benefit, what afternoon Sunday tea was like.
“The fish man showed up, on Sunday. He sold prawns and winkles and cockles, welks. Never much liked welks. Mum got the prawns, I got the winkles, and Denis had the cockles. Lots of vinegar and pepper, and bread and butter. Lovely.” He grinned at the memory and I recalled it myself.
Seafood was a regular Sunday afternoon treat in Dagenham. Shrimp, tiny, tiny crustaceans, heads and tails pinched between forefinger and thumbs, a slight crunch like biting into the sea. Cockles, chewy and soft and tasting mostly of the vinegar and pepper they were dunked in. The seafood was sold from the back of a van that dripped with briny ice water and smelled of the sea.