Blog it and scarpa on 22nd Dec 2022

You know when you’ve had a big night out. You wake up with the fear. You KNOW you did something terrible last night, the last thing you remember you were wrestling with a kebab on a nite club dancefloor. You woke up on somebody else’s bathroom floor with somebody else's underwear on. And it’s a Tuesday! 

The light comes through the window, you recoil like a vampire. Someone, somewhere, in a distant town, opens a packet of chips. The sound explodes in your head. The world crashes around you, You look in the mirror. An old man stares back at you. ‘I used to be someone’, you whisper to yourself. There is no hope. No future. You need a miracle. You’ve made some questionable life choices. The next one is crucial. You hear a voice inside your head. Amongst all the noise, the thoughts, the self-loathing, the terror, bewilderment, the frustration….that quiet, lone voice pipes up.

‘Full English. Full English’. Hope rises. There IS a way out. You peel yourself off the floor. You adjust someone else's underwear. They cost $20, but you’ve got $10 worth stuck up your buttcrack. The fightback begins. You stumble out of the bathroom and head down the stairs. Stepping over other, poor unfortunates, you head for the front door. A breeze wafts away the shame. You feel a million dollars. You remember. There's a recession going on. You feel like a crumpled 10 dollar bill. But that’s all you need for a ‘Full English, Full English’. It’s now a mantra. A mission drive. 

You step out on the street. You don’t recognise this place. It’s posh. There won’t be a Greasy Spoon (a name given to a cafe where the chef smokes whilst he’s cooking) around here. Then, your inner Google Maps kicks in. It’s your Superpower. Wherever you are in the UK, you are never more than 1 mile from a Greasy Spoon. They even appear on roadsides, where truckers and salesmen gather, differences cast aside. ‘Google’, you say to yourself. ‘Save me’.

As if in a trance, your body jolts and your survival instinct stirs. ‘The Holy Grail Restaurant’, 1.2 miles away. Approximate time, 21 minutes. Not today, brother. Today, I am Usain Bolt. And in a twisting of the vortex, you not so much transport to The Holy Grail, more The Holy Grail comes to you. Over the horizon, like an oasis in the desert, a glow appears. Angels sing. Trumpets blare.You throw up in the gutter. You are not Usain Bolt. You are a chubby 40 year old, unfit, unkempt, hungover, chundering loser. You vow never to drink, or run, again. You enter the cafe. 

On seeing you, Chef removes the cigarette hanging from his lips. Ash falls into the beans. He’s seen that pain before. 12 times already this morning in fact. His eyes narrow. Time slows down. ‘Full English, mate’, this miracle man, this re-incarnation of Jesus, Jehovah, Mohammed, Krishna, Trump, whoever you God is, says. It’s like music to your ears. But not that modern, crap music. Proper music. With instruments, and lyrics and melodies, and passion, and talent. And no autotune or awful face tattoos in sight. You nod and take a seat.

Chefs wife, Maureen, or Doreen or Eileen, cigarette hanging from her lips, brings you over a steaming cup of tea. Ash falls into the cup as she slams it down. Like one of the witches in Macbeth, but not as pretty, she has had that magic potion on the boil since the sun came up through the mist. The Full English has begun. You look around. A radio plays. Something from the 80s. You sip your tea, and you’re sitting here, playing so cool, thinking, what will be will be (bonus point for guessing the lyric). The warm, hot sweet tea brings you back to your senses. The smell hits you like an Oscar winner losing his sense of humour. Even before you can see or taste the Full English, you can feel it. Ten minutes ago, you were at Deaths Door. Now, you have snuck in through the back door of Life. In slow motion, Maureen, or Doreen, or Eileen, heads to your table, plate in hand. 

This time, there is no slamming of crockery. This cargo is far too precious. Like handing over a newborn, the plate is delicately, deliberately, placed in front of you. Your eyes widen. Your mouth drops. The music stops. You say a prayer. And then you dig in. Fat, succulent sausages. Proper sausages, like chubby fingers. Not the flat thing. That's not a sausage. That's a pig that's been run over. Sliced back bacon. Smoked. Salted. Eggs, poached, scrambled, but mainly fried. And runny. Mushrooms, sliced, sauteed in butter. Seasoned. Beans. Contained. Don’t let them run free on the plate. They’ll taint the other foods. Use a sausage as a breakwater. Tomatoes. Fresh. Cut in half. Fried. Bread. Toasted, but this ain’t no health kick. 

Fry it. In a frying pan. With oil. And fat drained from the bacon. Make it crispy and on the verge of burnt. Or go home. Ketchup. Heinz. Or, if you’re serious, Brown Sauce. HP. No other. Professionals have red AND brown. Are you a man or a mouse? And if all that isn’t enough, black pudding. Fried pig's blood in a pig's skin. People who love black pudding have a cellar in their house. Never go down there alone. 

Our hero devours this magical, medicinal plate of food. It defies all medical science. It’s a miracle cure. He's back on his feet. The mojo has returned. He kisses Maureen, Dorren AND Eileen and moonwalks out the cafe and all the way to The Queen's Pantry. There, he picks up the sausageS, bacon, beans, bread and more!\

Today, he is Full English. Oh. Maple syrup and pancakes do not belong on the same plate as bacon. It’s like someone said to a kid ‘what are your favourite foods’, and they said ‘bacon, syrup and pancakes’ and a lazy mom put it all together on a plate. Adults should know better. Grow up.