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Bubble stops squeaking

November 20, 2012

Manchester airport is the pits. Arriving too early to check in with Emirates for the hop over to Dubai, we were forced to endure Coronation Street cooking style of the most wretched kind. No bar as such, just a very dodgy, grimy, poorly lit, terribly designed and poorly staffed cafe in which we were treated to something they refer to up north as food. Given the state of my cholesterol and high blood pressure, I had wisely avoided the big all-day breakfast fry up with extra fried bread in favour of eggs with bubble and squeak. We once had a horse called Bubble and I always wondered what happened to him, and now I think I know. What concerns me now is what it was that was doing the squeaking and why it was squeaking so much it had to be put out of its misery.

I am being a little ingenuous; it was better than it looked and was garnished (they called it smothered) in hollandaise sauce. The problem was that once I had made the connection with Bubble, I thought I could see it winking at me so had to eat it as soon as possible, as my picture today shows.

skeaky bubble

Bubble, after it had stopped squeaking

Being 5 hours early for a flight is a new one on me and it is not something I would recommend, especially when this far north. We managed to get wet and cold crossing from Terminal 3 to 1 in search of a “french cafe” that the disinformation desk had told us about. I do not see what is French about Cornish pasties, the main food on offer, so we went back to the grimy cafe where we did at least get a glass of wine of sorts, a 2011 table wine, yum.

We were scheduled to meet John “Chuckle Brothers” Surtees and his wife, the voluptuous Rachel, with who we are travelling to Bangkok and then Australia. Rachel likes a drink even more than that Nice Lady Decorator and was gagging be the time she got to the airport, where we had set up shop in the executive lounge with the brief to drink back the annual fee I pay for access. It is gratifying when one sees how quickly the really dedicated drinkers were able to do this.

Some people have been asking me to remind them why the reference to The Chuckle Brothers, leading  exponents of northern “humour”. The reason is that John, whose previous employment was chief cutter and slasher of the Yorkshire TV staff, eventually slashed a job too far, his own, and in the bewilderment of unemployment, was persuaded in a weak moment to guide a production company, whose chief project was to relaunch the laughable rather than funny Northern comedians.  Suffice to say this made him terribly ill, so he retired to spend more time with his money, and now, fully recovered, is a leading light of the Nidderdale Taverners. It was he who was kind enough to press-gang me into this trip two years ago when the last Golden Oldies Cricket Festival was staged in damp and drizzly Harrogate (in mid summer).

So as you read this, I should be slumbering after the effects of a good dinner and lashings of wine on the way to Dubai, with a weather eye open for any potential Currencies Direct customers. A brief stop and then we shall arrive in Bangkok, a place to which I have never before been. As I love Thai food, this is a trip to which I have been looking forward for months, and with cricket afterwards, I shall be closer to heaven than ever (39,000 feet, a cynic might say).

Chris France


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