Sunday, 11 October 2009

Full English

I've just eaten sausage and bacon and beans and an egg. No, I'm not going to try to compare an egg yolk with a rising full moon, or bean's shape with an elliptical orbit. This is about travelling. Travelling around Britain. Lots.

By the end of this year, I'll have spent almost a month's worth of days crossing Great Britain in my hunt for moon-related bits and pieces. I'll have driven through many many counties, walked around nearly twenty towns and cities. I'll have met hundreds of people. I'll have lived through more night-time than most, seen more of the moon than many astronomers, bothered scientists, writers, publishers, tourists, locals, police. And, most importantly, I'll have clogged my system with an inordinate number of fried breakfasts.

The traditional British fry up - an abomination to much of Europe and much of the world - is a treat. As such, it should be enjoyed rarely. But to a travelling man, a man who's just spent the night's hours climbing peaks and fells, it becomes something far more regular. It becomes a tonic.

This year I've filled my body with enough bacon, sausages and beans to build a lifetime's worth of fatty insulation; I'm sure I now have more fat around my heart than a camel stores in its hump. But it's not that I'm a huge fan of this most British of greasy assortments. It's that I feel bad if I say no. I blame the kind bed-and-breakfast owners.

"Full English OK for you?"

"Yes, um, yep that'll be-" (say no, just say no, tell them the camel thing) "-that'll be great. Thank you."

A mind tired from nightwalking requires something the following morning: probably not fried food, but something. It's weary, disorientated, ugly. So when a genial landlady places heaped unhealthiness on a plate in front of you, and your mind fails to tell you that a banana would be a much better option, and that it doesn't have the capacity at this time in the morning to refuse what's been offered, you eat. You enjoy.

But when you do this three days in a row, every month, for a year, then forget and cook it for yourself on a dreary Sunday afternoon, the Full English Breakfast becomes less of a treat and more a sort of stodgy reminder that travelling isn't always the glamorous pursuit it appears when you flick through the glossy brochure. 

No comments: