Wednesday, 27 October 2010

An Oriental Sort Of Day

It turned out to be an Oriental sort of day.

My lunch break took the form of a search for the 'Reduced' items in the local supermarket. Those bus drivers who don't scour the shops for some bargain food have a flask and their own home made sandwiches under their seat.

My supermarket sweep produced a flaccid Chicken and Bacon Noodle salad. It was so old all the pieces had sunk and the resulting congealed mulch resembled more of a sherry trifle. The minimalist plastic fork disintegrated after one mouthful. Disaster. Here I was, parked in the windswept coach park on Hadrian's Wall with a perfectly useless mess of a salad. There is nothing more miserable than being hungry and staring at your food, wondering how the hell you are going to eat it.

But a strange coincidence saved the day. Earlier I had been to the charity shop and in a fit of madness had bought some vintage official Beijing 2008 Olympic chopsticks. I forced the noodle salad down with the wooden chopsticks. My rest period reading became the instruction sheet which was enclosed in the chopsticks box, written in typically appalling Chinese-English translation:


* Chopsticks' surface protect layer adopte nvironmental protection's paint, innocuity Tasteless, please reassurance usage.

* Chopsticks at use behind belike surface's paint fall off or calm down a part attrition seriously, please in time change. Suggest use time for six months.

As I read this, there was a knock at the bus door. Two Japanese tourists looked in amazement at this bus driver sitting at the driver's seat, chopsticks in hand sucking up six lengthy strings of yellow noodles, slurping loudly as I went. I stopped half way through a slurp, like some embarrassed, naughty schoolboy who had been caught doing something wrong by the teacher.

The Japanese looked unamused and asked: "Take we bus weywey stay-shun. Make how much pounds. Bus go stay-shun when hour? Tren to Carr-I when hour?

Thanks to my lunchtime reading I not only answered all their questions, but they were charged the correct fare, taken to the correct railway station and even got on the right train to Carlisle.

Who said Northumberland was not full of Eastern promise?

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