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Best of times, worst of times: Jock Stark

Categories: Behind the stalls

The likes and dislikes of Jock Stark from Jock Stark

Fantasy job
It would be a farmer. When I was a child I used to work on my uncle’s dairy farm just outside Doncaster. I just really loved the lifestyle. It is hard work but there is always something to do and it is a life spent outdoors, so a dairy farm would be my fantasy job.

Favourite city
I would have to say Edinburgh. It is a really old city which contains so much of the history of Scotland, but it is a really beautiful city as well. I have also found the people to be lovely as well. I’m actually from Glasgow, so given the traditional rivalry between them some people find this surprising. But I left Glasgow when I was 15 and it was a horrible city back then. I didn’t go back for years. When I finally did, I got lost because the place has changed so much. It is a completely different city now to the one I left.

Worst job
I was a window cleaner for a couple of years, after I came down here to London. It was just a way of paying the bills. One day I was 50 feet up a ladder when a forklift truck driver came around the corner and knocked the ladder from under me and I fell all the way down. It kind of put me off heights. I never went back to that job—in fact, it was after that fall, 49 years ago, that I started working here at Borough Market.

Favourite film
I’m not sure I can really pick a favourite, because I’m not a great film buff but I do like the comedies. Some of the really old-school guys like Harold Lloyd. I like the idea of them doing their own stunts—some of the stunts they did were unbelievable, like the one of Lloyd hanging off the clock face, way up above a street. It was amazing stuff as well as being very funny.

Favourite TV show
I’m really not into soaps and all that reality TV stuff. It doesn’t appeal to me at all. What I like is real life crime programmes—the kind where they talk to the officers involved and have reconstructions. I like watching the way they go about solving the crimes. I also like comedies; I’d say Only Fools and Horses was one of my favourites.

Ideal holiday destination
That would be Cyprus. There is the weather of course—the climate is wonderful there—and the people are lovely. There is so much history as well: the villas and their mosaics, the temples, the amphitheatres, there is so much to see. It’s a lovely place to go.

Favourite dish as a child
My mum’s home-made rice pudding. I’m not a cook, so I can’t do it myself. My wife does a good rice pudding, but hasn’t done one for a while now.

Worst meal out
It was fish and chips. Not mentioning any names, but it was disgusting. There are only two elements to the dish and they were both badly cooked. That takes a bit of doing.

Worst day at work
That’s easy: any day when it’s quiet. I hate quiet days, they just seem to drag, especially when it is really cold. One of the best things about working on a stall at Borough Market is dealing with all the customers—I love it—so on quiet days there isn’t enough of that. Plus, I don’t make as much money!

Favourite subject at school
Maths, I love figures. I suppose I liked it because I always found it easy at school. I also liked history a lot, but only at secondary school. I think that was down to the teacher, who really seemed to make things come to life, whereas before it just seemed to be about learning a list of dates.

Least favourite subject
Geography, I’m not sure why it just never worked for me. I used to get some dreadful reports for it.

Historical figure you’d like to meet
I think I’d like to meet Jesus Christ. Whether or not you believe he was the son of God, he was clearly a fascinating, charismatic man and I think it would be really good to sit down with him and have a talk.

Sporting hero
Andy Murray. As a Scot, you have to admire him. He has worked really hard to get where he is, both at the tennis but also at his public profile. Being a celebrity clearly doesn’t come naturally to him, so you have to admire the way he has worked at it.

Favourite thing about London
I love the Thames. I love walking along the river, just looking at the buildings. There is so much history here, and so many of the buildings have parts of that history written into them.

Favourite relaxation method
I like walking with the dog, a cocker spaniel called Dulcie. I also like a bit of cycling, all low-key stuff really.

Tipple of choice
Bacardi and Coke.

Hangover cure?
Raw eggs and back to sleep.