Shuck the clams or steam them open using a little white wine. Keep all the liquor from the shells.
In a heavy frying pan slowly fry the bacon and onions until golden; transfer to a saucepan. Add the boiling water, potatoes and pepper and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add the clams, with their liquor, and the milk. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 1 hour.
Just before serving, reheat the chowder. Ladle into bowls over crumbled crackers. You can get rid of a lot of anger by putting your packets of crackers in a plastic bag and throwing them on the floor repeatedly, until they reach the required state of crumb. Or stamp on them, says my friend Claire Macdonald.