Showing posts with label Quebec. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quebec. Show all posts

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Day 689: I Wonder About Toast Racks

I am attempting to give myself an immediate and cheap 'permanent' hairstyle by sticking a knife in the toaster. My PopTart* is stuck!!!

Some time later, I am seated at the breakfast table of our palatial Quebec mansion. Sundry toasted goods are strewn over the table like so many pieces of flotsam and jetsam; crumbs loll on the carpet; tiny patches of steam gather on the table where the toast has fallen; slowly, it becomes soggy. A dog barks in the distance; someone, somewhere, is playing Genesis' "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)". (Me, I'm just a lawnmower.)

The pathologist with whom I share a house (and occasionally toothbrush, if we are on a journey and I have forgotten mine) sighs as he watches me bend my toast backwards and forthwards. "We need a toast rack", I say.

Suddenly I am in every British hotel everywhere. It is the morning and we are sitting in the 'restaurant'. There is a big window, and through it I can see the sea; it is probably Bournemouth. Old ladies and men are walking up and down the front in macintoshes and their umbrellas are being blown inside out. They would like to be sitting inside a tea shop drinking cups of tea and eating macaroons, but they are not.

A lady in a burgundy uniform approaches: do I want tea or coffee, and do I want my toast white or brown?

I know what is coming next!!!!! There is a pot of tea, and there is toast. It is in a toast rack. It is cut in triangles and it is going cold, but cold in a non-soggy style; it is becoming chewy. On it, you must put butter and Marmite or jam or marmalade from a plastic pod. You will eat it all, and the lady will come with your scrambled egg and lone sausage, and she will put it down and she will say: "more toast?", and you will say, "yes". One hour later you will still be eating toast.

"A toast rack?", says the pathologist. I push the cat off the table, where she is trying to make sweet love to the cheese. "You can't get those here. When I think of England, I think of toast racks. I don't think I've seen them anywhere else."

"When you think about England you think about toast racks?", I roar, wiping jam from my eye. "You could be thinking about all sorts of things, like the Queen, and Shakespeare, and Gordon Brown's glass eye, or our newspapers (which are better than yours) or Nigella Lawson's bosoms, and you say toast racks?"

The pathologist looks unmoved. Over the following months, I visit a great many shops looking for a toast rack. There are none. I try and find on the line in Canada; there appear to be none, unless on a ghastly 'British Fayre' web-site. My mother asks: "is there anything you want from England?", for she is coming to visit. When she arrives a week later, she brings with her a toast rack, and my father.

It is helping a very great deal. Despite its many practical benefits (holds toast and prevents it from becoming soggy), it also helps alleviate the constant confusion generated by the fact that petrol stations do not sell Ginster's Cornish Pasties, or that it is impossible to buy a good newspaper or knickers that fit: in short, my toast rack is alleviating my homesickness (whilst providing an excellent practical service). What a boon!

*I am not really making PopTarts. Do not worry. I am toasting bread that I have made with my own hands from straw and the dust from the cat litter tray. Or that, at least, is what it tastes like.

In other news, I offer you some film of Genesis performing I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe). "What the cocking hell is Peter Gabriel doing, and why are you suddenly so very interested in early Genesis?", I hear you cry. It is a long story, my friends, and one that is not without some embarrassment.


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