chapter  7
20 Pages

Voices

Some time in the mid-eighties, as I was chaining my bicycle to the railingsoutside Norwich City Hall, I got into a conversation with another cyclist, a trim, pugilistic-looking fellow who told me he’d recently completed a charity bike ride of almost 900 miles that had taken him less than four weeks. He was nearly eighty years old. His name was Snowy Fulcher, and he was, he said, a ‘lifelong health and fitness fanatic’. He had trained as a junior boxer in the back room of a pub during the First World War, and the lessons had cost his father a shilling and sixpence. On Friday nights a ring would be roped off in the bar for competitive bouts against the boxers of other pubs, and Snowy had won back his father’s investment, first time out. Later he’d learned gymnastics in a boys’ club organised by the city’s chief constable to keep hooligans like himself, he said, away from the pubs.