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Adieu to the Cleethorpes Shangri-La. By Jem Clarke

Regulars | By Jem Clarke

Mother and I make a tearful pilgrimage to our hardware store, paradise of my childhood. By Jem Clarke

Jem Clarke is in his very, very early fifties, is five foot zero inches tall and has never left the family home in Cleethorpes, which he shares with his parents... We live a street away from my town’s main avenue of shops. It’s uncanny that as various retailers mirror the national trend and blink out of existence, so too do my parents’ various functioning body parts. So this month I can report we have lost a butcher’s, a newsagent’s, some bowel control, significant hearing in Mother’s better ear and – most tellingly and worryingly – my father’s get-up-and-go. Father won’t hear of prioritising his own health on the eve of my mother’s spinal surgery. He says, ‘I’d rather die and have your mother out of pain quicker, than hold up this appointment.’ I had to point out that Father isn’t actually performing spinal surgery. His role will be simply that...

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