I like to think that when I am writing articles for my blog I am among friends; friends in whom I can confide, to whom I can bare my soul. It is in this spirit that I have decided to make my confession.
To put today’s disgrace into context, I will first confess to something that happened in 1973. School was difficult for me for many reasons and, because other parents felt sorry for me, I was frequently required to go and play with girls from school who I did not like, one of whom was Rebecca, who never stopped telling me that her house had formerly belonged to Dicky Valentine (a well known British entertainer in the 60’s and 70’s). She was bossy, girly and patronising, even at age 8, and we had nothing in common.
But going to her house had one utterly, heart-stoppingly redeeming aspect. In her attic, she had a 1950’s Hornby “00” gauge train set. As soon as I discovered this, I was happy to go to her house as often as I could; she played with her wretched dolls downstairs or galloped about the house pretending to be a Palomino and I sat alone in the attic, laying out track, inventing villages and station names, timetables, de-railings, running the beautiful GWR locomotives and carriages round and round in total bliss.
Rebecca had absolutely no interest in the railway. She thought I was weird for wanting to play with it and made sure that she made my life even more miserable at school by telling everyone that not only was I an oddball, but that I was sad and weird and played with boys toys. I couldn’t have cared less, but one afternoon in the attic I exacted my revenge. Before I left her house, I picked up the metal level crossing with perfectly hinged gates and slipped it into my schoolbag. At home, I only had a red plastic train set, so it was no earthly use to me, I just wanted it. I wanted some part of that beautiful thing to belong to me, to belong to someone who really loved it.
I saw one just like it at the Harborough Antique Fair recently, and the whole sordid story came flooding back. I almost certainly still have it, probably in some deep cupboard at the Aged Parent’s house. I’m ashamed to admit that my only guilt is that the level crossing should have stayed with the set.
My second confession is as different as can be. I have had a bit of ‘challenging’ weekend, followed by a morning where everything I did went wrong or couldn’t be finished, concluding with my dropping a glass jar full of baking beans from a high cupboard, which sent shards of glass into the main course and pudding I was preparing in advance for dinner, into the toaster, the butter dish, the kettle, the floor and my hands. It took me two hours to clear it all up and I was forced to go into Harborough to buy more food. I was tired, cross, hungry and miserable. I saw something on a shelf that I have not eaten in 20 years, picked it up, took it home and added the 300ml of boiling water required for its preparation.
Ladies and gentlemen. This lunchtime I ate, without undue influence, a pot of Tiger Tiger Cup Noodles, Thai Spice Satay Style (less than 5% fat!). Apparently it was exciting and had an authentic Thai taste. I don’t have the words to describe the glutinous, malodorous, repellent mass which I chose to eat with the foldaway fork included in the pack.
I am so very, very sorry. I have let you all down, after all my brave talk of home cooking and locally sourced food. Most of all I have let myself down. And I can tell you that my guilt about The Great Train Set Robbery pales into insignificance in comparison.