Those with an interest in history may know an army from Normandy arrived uninvited on the south coast of England in October 1066, led by Billy Conqueror. They were greeted by King Harald on the beach he had played on as a boy thus a “home win” was strongly expected: that was not what happened. Recent research based on papers recording court gossip revealed the secrets behind the home defeat.
Harry, as he was known to his chums, or King Harald for the more formal among us, began his day settled before a cooked breakfast made by the adorable Mrs Cummings and consisting of three sausages, two fried eggs and a modest supply of baked beans. The sausages, made from meat supplied by her uncle’s farm, always produced a beautiful symphony of flavours, the memory of which caused our Harald, regardless of the battle raging round him, to gaze briefly at the sky in a moment of sublime euphoria. It turned out to be his last moment because an arrow dropped from above, and pierced his eye thus calling time on his life, the battle and any further opportunity for catering reflection.
As we say in learned circles, “The rest is history” and the English essentially surrendered, allowed the folk from Normandy to take over the country, sweep away all idea of the perfect sausage and replace it with the croissant or “Continental” as it is now known in hotels across the globe.
Later in history, at a time when the cooked breakfast was making a bit of a comeback, Richard the third was heard to murmur, “A fork, a fork, my kingdom for a fork,” as he tried to locate something to eat his breakfast with, regardless of the battle raging round him. Local scribes changed the word to “Horse” as they feared the word “fork” lacked the gravitas required to maintain his place in history.
The reason I mention all this is I was going to ask my secret crush, Allison Jennings, out on a date as soon as I got to work and after my habitual Friday cooked breakfast. However,regardless of the nerves which consumed me, I got there late after being delayed over one of life’s great quandaries, “Two sausages or three?” A question prompted by a recent and unsettling conversation with the weighing machine.
When I got to the library, where we were both employed, she had a kind of glow about her and confided in me, as someone she thought of as one of her closest friends, that Alan, the senior librarian, had asked her out on a date. Now, for the rest of my life I will wonder if that delay caused by my absorption with catering has changed my life forever, or if I was never on her menu!. It may not be the battle of Hastings but it feels a bit like my Waterloo !!