I had occasion, yesterday, to be out amongst the gainfully employed as they made their collective way to their individual places of employment. This came about because my wife is on a two-day training course in a distant city that makes it more convenient for her to travel by train instead of by car and, due to my uxorious nature, I drove her to the station.
Seeing people bustling about with a sense of purpose—while juggling cups of coffee, briefcases and smart phones—left me with an unexpected pang of nostalgia that lasted a full five minutes. That was when my wife texted to tell me the trains had been cancelled. Not “her” train, “the” trains. Monday morning, rush hour, no way to get anywhere, thank you British Rail. And then I remembered why I was so glad to accept redundancy.
So I drove my wife to the aforementioned distant city, thereby becoming reacquainted
with the frustrating ritual of driving through a maze of unfamiliar streets, in
rush hour traffic, searching for a place I’ve never been to before. Fortunately,
my wife had been there before, but only by train, and then by following
pedestrian paths to the location. So we went to the station and followed the
roads that sort of matched the direction she would have walked in if she had
come by train, and eventually we found it.
|Ah, the memories this brings back.|
(You’re wondering now why, if we got to the train station, I didn’t just let her out and tell her to walk the rest of the way; so am I.)
At any rate, after dropping my wife off and pointing the car confidently toward home, it occurred to me that it would be some time before I made it back home for a delayed breakfast, so I decided to relive yet another “Road Warrior” experience: eating at a Little Chef.
I have written about Little Chef before, but for the sake of new readers
let me reiterate that Little Chef is a sort of UK Denny’s, but without the
ambiance and fine cuisine.
|The UK's answer to Denny's|
I haven’t been in one for a while, but the only difference I found was that the staff—perhaps due to the current economic climate—was a touch less insouciant. I don’t want to imply that the staff might benefit from a customer service primer, but one time I entered a Little Chef at a motorway service stop only to be told by the waitress, who was lounging in a booth, that I would be better off eating at the Burger King across the hall.
At Little Chef, I quickly learned to order griddled eggs (sunny side up)
instead of scrambled because when I ordered scrambled the guy sent down by the
Job Centre that morning couldn’t even be bothered to stir the powdered egg
mixture and I ended up with something that looked like melted yellow Play Dough
(but didn’t taste as good) with a side of yellow powder. With a fried egg, you
can believe that, whatever it is, it has at least seen the back end of a
|Actually, a Burger King would be more inviting.|
That said, their griddled eggs are suspiciously uniform in size, texture and color, leading me to speculate they are assembled outside of Bangladesh, where child laborers sew surplus egg yolks from the chiffon pie factory next door onto synthetic “whites” made from genetically modified petroleum by-products skimmed from the surface of the swamp behind a nearby oil refinery. These are then flash frozen and flown to a dispensing point just north of Manchester where they are distributed to individual Little Chef restaurants around the country for thawing and placing on customer’s plates next to other specious culinary items.
At least, that’s what I remember them tasting like, and the pair I ate yesterday
tasted about the same, only colder.
|Seriously, don't they look just a little too perfect to be real?|
But my visit accomplished its purpose; I returned home with my nostalgia ache fully resolved, and replaced by mild indigestion.
I took my wife to the station again this morning. She just texted to say the trains are merely late today, but for the moment, at least, they appear to be running. Good thing; I don’t think I’m up for another visit to Little Chef just yet.