Puke Pie Prelude


Immingham, South Humberside, 1981

Chimneys. Smoke. Fertiliser.

Photo by David Wright

But the black clouds and vomit-inducing stench were just a prelude. The hallucination that greeted the Cool family, recently departed from Aberdeen, was Killingholme. The village of Killingholme merely represented the pearly gates to its larger-all-embracing neighbour – the after world …


But the Cool family didn’t have to live in one of the chimneys or the factories. This was disappointing. For, in spite of my initial horror, it had only taken five seconds for my ten-year old self to acknowledge that it would be more-than exciting to live in a huge chimney – almost the equivalent of living in the tower of a castle. A turreted castle floating on a huge pink cloud (1). But our destination lay beyond.

Destination Immingham.

I was right about the elevation. The Cool family was on its way up. Our new house was prestigious. A large detached mustard box over-lording a front lawn that took forever to slope down to the road. Pelham Road. Pelham Road, the main thoroughfare of the town. 


A happening town. A town invaded by heavy lorries going at full pelt, ferrying cargoes of steel and nuclear waste to and the dock. Immingham Dock – the biggest and busiest dock in the land.

A dock that no-one had (and still hasn’t!) ever heard of. 

A dock hidden from the world. A dock that the Cool family had exclusive access to. A dock that Jay Cool, budding broadcaster extraordinaire, would in a future existence educate the world about.

And behind the mustard box of Pelham Road? Behind, lay a back garden that went of for miles (2), before reaching a triple set of moats (3). During dry seasons, these were nothing to rave about but, during monsoons, they would have won over David Bellamy himself (4).  It’s true that the Nemo-before-Nemo-existed declined to take up residence, but the Cools were almost able to observe a complete life-cycle: a visiting frog deposited its spawn; the spawn transformed itself into tadpoles; most of the siblings ate each other (5); and the few remainders stretched out their lonely little legs, only to be suffer a long and painful frying, at the sudden appearance of a scorching-hot sun, accompanied by the mysterious disappearance of the Cool’s protective waters.  In Immingham, wildlife was devastatingly exciting!

Photo by Andy Beecroft

And the downside? Ever tried a Puka pie?

No, well tough! If you want a taste of Puka, you will have to await the publication of Quing Jay Cool’s next blog post ….

Copyright owned by Quing Jay Cool, September 2017

(1) And, no, it wasn’t an ice palace. Killingholme, and most likely still is, a fiery furnace. And, in those days, we were uncorrupted. In those days, Frozen hadn’t been dreamt up and Britain’s Got Talent hadn’t been dreamt up, and no sane person had to put up with squawking daddy’s girls singing ‘Let it Be’ in talent shows. And, yes, it might well have been better had I been born in 2010, rather than 1970, so my younger self could have got in on the action. Because it must be pretty obvious to you by now (this is only the umpteenth time I’ve ranted about Frozen), that I am a worthy candidate for the title of Wrinkled-Old Sour Grape.

(2) Not as big as the O2, but in 1980, my Fresh Grape self didn’t have the O2, the venue for Jay Cool’s rise to fame at the Britain’s Got Talent auditions in 2010, as a benchmark.

(3) I’m not aware of any other abode in the country protected by three moats; evidence, I believe, of the Cool family’s unquestionable royal heritage.

(4) Yes, the naturalist David Bellamy did exist then. He was born in 1933 which is why you young Grapes have never heard of him. He had cherry-pink cheeks and he rotated his arms around a lot, whilst talking non-stop. The BBC went for his off-switch when he went public with his view that humans are not responsible for global warning. Personally, I’m with the BBC on that one. The scorching hot sun that dried up my tadpoles was surely a projection of the evil emanating from the fiery man-made furnaces of Killingholme. But, hey! Whatever happened to free speech? Bring back Bellamy!

(5) A nasty family tradition that my royal ancestors set the precedent for. Was King Arthur Tudor really so ill that he went willingly to the grave? And how did his brother, the young and fit Henry, suddenly become so f*t? (For the sake of political correctness, I, Quing Jay Cool, will happily take suggestions for a synonym for f*t that goes with fit!)

Glossary of Jay Wo

Quing = non-gendered royal title
Jay = non-gendered royal name
Cool = a better fake name than Windsor
Windsor = supplanters of a throne rightly belonging to William the Conqueror’s most extraordinary direct descendant
Quing Jay Cool = rightful heir to the English throne


The photos of Killingholme were taken by David Wright and Andy Beecroft. They are creative commons images, for which the licence can be viewed on http://www.geograph.org.uk



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