‘Loving Lance Clark at the Sea Spray cafe’.

When  Lance returned to the cafe, feeling bruised by his serious bout of ‘flu at Christmas  he told us that he had been reluctant to take antibiotics for his bronchitis, but his doctor had advised him to do so.  He felt fortunate to have survived.  He was really shaken by how ill he had been. We  also learned that he had had a serious operation on one of his legs at the Lister hospital, shortly before his move to Sussex .

His family life, too,was turbulent.  He told us that he and his wife, Ying,  weren’t speaking to each other; and that  he had moved downstairs at the family home. His three daughters seemed to be acting as ‘go-betweens’.He  had bought a Baby Belling to cook on, and I  and others, were worried about his health, and how fragile he looked.

One Sunday, I accompanied Lance to the ‘Coach’ pub in Rottingdean, where he watched an international rugby match on television there. Lance really loved the game, and had been a fine player in his youth.  He had been chosen to play for Bath, I believe. I didn’t watch the match, but I had a meal with him afterwards. A delicious fish supper. It was good to see him eating properly; and we gave Kit some scraps from the table, which he loved.  Once or twice, I would make breakfast for Lance ( at my flat) and would encourage him to eat more.  He also loved eating at the ‘Star’ Inn at Alfriston, especially the excellent breakfasts , whenever he went painting in the village. We had planned to eat at a fish restaurant in Newhaven,too,  but it was not to be.

I would give him cans of soup and oranges to take home with him; and he started to buy various provisions from the local Tesco. At least he seemed to be looking after himself a little better.

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