One of Carlisle's most popular delicacies is off the menu. But the man who makes Pieri's patties wants his customers to know that they - and he - will be back.

David Wilson is one of the longest-serving fish and chip shop owners in Cumbria - 33 years and counting.

His patties - a dish blending potato with ingredients including meat, cheese and curry - are widely regarded as the best in Carlisle.

A News & Star story about them last year attracted hundreds of favourable comments on our Facebook page.

But no Pieri's patties have been served since June 30.

The following day David fell from a ladder when painting at his nearby home and damaged his right shoulder.

He has had an operation and will be unable to reopen the Northumberland Street shop he runs with his wife Pauline until next year.

"I was decorating the house and the ladder slipped," says David. "It was an ambulance job. I knew right away.

"I thought it was just dislocated. I thought I'd be back in a matter of weeks. Sadly it wasn't to be."

The shoulder was dislocated and tendons were damaged.

David had an operation last week to reattach the tendons. His right arm remains in a sling.

"I get my staples out soon," he says. "Then it's physio. They reckon it could take up to six months from the operation. That would take us to March next year.

David bought Pieri's from brothers Ronnie and Freddie Pieri in 1985.

The longest the shop had been closed until now was its usual fortnight at Christmas.

At 67 David has occasionally thought about retirement.

But being out of action has made him realise he's not ready to put his feet up.

"I said to Pauline, I never thought I'd want to be back at work! But it's frustrating just sitting at home.

"I can go for a wander about just to put time in. I've been walking up town and had people asking 'When are you back open?' We've had phone calls from people.

"Just the two of us run it. It's not worth getting someone else in. By the time they were trained I'd be ready to open again."

"It could be worse," says Pauline. "He just gets bored. The TV's on most of the time - Escape to the Country ."

It's not only locals who are missing Pieri's patties. Regular customers travel from Haltwhistle, Workington, Wigton and Annan.

Three times a year a group of eight bikers from Hull call in en route to a weekend in the Lake District.

And of course those who live much closer are struggling without their favourite treat, as David discovered during his treatment at the Cumberland Infirmary.

"One of the nurses - her husband is my first customer every Saturday. She said 'I miss my curried pattie every Saturday.'"

And what does David miss? "Just the crack. I used to say 'Am I going to be in there forever?' Now I say to Pauline 'I wish I was back in that shop.' The routine is something that keeps you going. Hopefully I'll get up and running as soon as I can. But I don't want to run before I can walk."

He adds: "We will reopen. We'll definitely be coming back."