The heat? It was like being locked in a kitchen saturated with steam from all the pots bubbling away on the stove. I dare not shift from my sunbed – if I did, I’d have to quickly tip-toe across the hot white sand as if practising firewalking.
This heat was no joke – it was the kind that needed to be treated with respect, but unfortunately, I hadn’t. I’d been warned: tropical heat – wetness combined with raw heat – I thought I could handle it, but I was wrong.
The racket in the distance made my head turn whilst lying on the sunbed – it was harmless laughter and cheers. Two minutes later, I realised the reason for the friendly racket: a man dishing out cans of drinks.
“Want a cold Lilt?” he asked whilst smiling and looking incredibly cool. He was not bothered by the heat. I didn’t hesitate as the cold can instantly cooled the palm of my hand. The first gulp was like the firehose taming a blaze, and as I continued gulping, my body recovered to some kind of normality.
I watched The Lilt Man walk barefooted along the beach with a no-fuss swagger whilst handing out cans of Lilt. He was a man of few words but I’ll always remember him – that smile, the swagger, his sheer coolness, and of course, the can of Lilt.
I’d almost come to the end of my can of Lilt, when Grace Jones’ My Jamaican Guy mellowed out of the nearby speaker. I bobbed my head to the tune and muttered the word respect as I thought about The Lilt Man.
The Milk Tray Man, mouthfuls of Angel Delight, smashing Smash Hits magazine, splashing it all over with Brut aftershave, World of Sport or Grandstand? A fat wallet or your flexible friend the Access Card? Could you survive a term at Grange Hill? Nostalgia with enough clout to send you flying back to the 80s and 70s in the hardback book Section N Underpass. Click image below to get the rundown: