A couple of months ago I’m wheezing down the towpath in search of a light breakfast at my local café when I’m passed by some impressive jogger, and then another and then another but jogging in the opposite direction.
All was revealed when I got to the point where the towpath meets the road and at that junction was a stall with the words “Turning Point” printed on it. Two cheerful fellows were manning this station and offering bottled water to any passing runner: I did not qualify!
I was not running, obviously, but I asked them what it was all about and was told the following. “They run up and down the river four times, from the Wraxley Arms to here, and at the end of it they all get a free cooked breakfast, courtesy of the pub: something to do with fund raising.” I nodded at them before carrying on with my walk. As I moved nearer the café a plan formed and I smiled at the pleasures ahead.
Once home I checked up the Wraxley running club and saw the event was to be repeated in six weeks’ time. Moving forward to that date and on a street behind the pub, having parked my car to avoid unnecessary exertions, yours truly could be seen loitering with intent, but now sporting the impressive Wraxley T-shirt with the number 248 proudly displayed on its back. I had joined the club, free of course, and put myself down for the run, but otherwise had not bothered them with my interest or presence.
Once the pub was near full, I did a bit of emergency jogging on the road and then walked into the pub, sporting the required shirt and red face. No newsworthy gluttony welcome here so I helped myself to a modest plate of three sausages, two fried eggs, beans, mushrooms and a couple of slices of toast. As an afterthought I popped a small jar of marmalade on the plate because to breakfast aficionados, a mouthful of T&M, (toast and marmalade) is almost “de rigueur” if you seek to reach food Camelot.
Once seated among the sporting elite I quickly slide a piece of toast into the middle of the plate followed by the required number of beans. Those “In the know” recognise that ratios are everything in the breakfast community and the correct proportion of beans to toast is vital if the full experience is to be enjoyed: too few beans and the toast can dull the flavour of the beans, and too many beans tends to make the toast soft thus robbing you of that delightful crunch which is key to experiencing breakfast heaven. Beans added, I slid a friend egg on top and punctured the yolk allowing the subtle flavours of the egg to seep down amongst the beans: “Mmmmmmmm, Oh yes, heaven indeed.”
As I raised my loaded fork a voice said. “I don’t recognise your face?” “Nor do I” I said hurriedly and then quickly filled my waiting mouth with a well-prepared supply of paradise. Food training kicked in and soon chomping and fork-filling consumed every fibre of my being until another voice asked, “So when did you join then?” and I could see that my original inquisitor and a couple of other noble runners were looking at me with growing suspicion.
I pointed my food filled fork, (or “FFF” in gluttony circles), at my chomping mouth and raised my eyebrows apologetically in the classic semaphorical signal for “Can’t speak now” before cramming more breakfast heaven inside my jaws.
Some rude chap reached forward and pulled my plate away from me and another rose from the far end of the table, possibly to discuss my presence in a non-verbal language: his eyebrows were gathering with alarming intensity.
“Toilet” I said, attempting not to splutter food particles among my new friends, and scuttled off towards that facility which luckily was sited near the exit, A small wave of regret passed through me as I realised that, apart from the two sausages I had picked up on my way out of the building, I was now in a food-free zone, but still a pretty good morning’s adventure don’t you think? Already I am looking for other sporting clubs which might require my presence. Tips please to an address of your choice or in the comments section below J