Saturday 10 June 2006


Latest from BBC News-online: "FULL-TIME: England defeat Paraguay 1-0 in their World Cup opener, but it was far from convincing from England."

Oh, dear, I thought it hadn't gone too brilliantly as there weren't excessive sounds of jubilation coming from the streets.

Changing the subject, then...

Returning to favourite literary meals (see one of yesterday’s blogs), my dear friend Michael (an American) e-mailed to say that he always liked reading about “the little meals of bread and cheese” that Dorothy enjoyed en route to the Emerald City in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’.

But when it comes to toast - I mean BUTTERED toast - I can’t help feeling that this is a peculiarly English obsession.

I mean, when J Alfred Prufrock (in the poem by T S Eliot, another American) talks of “the taking of a toast and tea”, it sounds decidedly pale, thin and dry - and absolutely nothing like the buttery doorsteps so enjoyed by Mr Toad.

Whereas perhaps only an Englishman such as sometime Poet Laureate, John Betjeman (denied all those muffins and waffles enjoyed by Americans at breakfast), could talk about being "safe in a world of trains and buttered toast" with a passionate conviction that tells you just how substantially thick the toast (and the butter) need to be!

And even in the bizarre world of Wonderland, Lewis Carroll (also an Englishman) selects it as the final triumphant addition to the unorthodox ingredients of Alice’s ‘Drink Me’ bottle: “Alice ventured to taste it, and finding it very nice, (it had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast,) she very soon finished it off…”

Mind you, like my antibiotics, that particular beverage did result in some rather unpleasant side effects!

[Image:Sir John Tenniel]

No comments: