The accident that blocked the road was mentioned in the paper today: a tractor caught fire. This is what it’s like living in rural Norfolk/Suffolk. Even in town, come to that – driving home through the centre of Norwich on Monday morning, I was quite surprised to find myself along a tractor. A proper John Deere, looking purposeful, if a little lost.
Tilly woke me this morning jumping on to my bed. I was startled to find it was 8.18, particularly since I was due in the shop by 8.30. “I couldn’t wake you” said the Sage when I went downstairs, “so I thought I’d better send Tilly up.” I really don’t think he had tried very hard, frankly.
I could not leave without contact lenses and a face, but I was parked and in the shop by 8.35. There’s a lot to do at the start of the day, all the new produce to put out and old stuff to clear, and Al has to check wholesalers’ prices and amend his if necessary. In addition, runner beans, raspberries, figs, Victoria plums and raspberries were brought in by local growers and they all had to be weighed and noted. At the same time, customers were coming in and had to be served. We had some time to chat, however, and I told him about the Chelsea bun.
I had to go to Norwich first thing on Monday, but took over from 10 o’clock. Eileen and I were busy, and at one point a customer picked up a paper bag. “Looks as if someone has left their bread roll behind.” I checked the bag, and in it was a sugar-covered Chelsea bun. Hang on, I’ll look for one…. … … here you go. I put it on one side to return to the hungry customer when he or she returned.
But it was still there by 4.30! What was I to do? If it had been a packet of biscuits or money, I’d have left it to be reclaimed, but it would go stale by the next day, and I was hungry. Imagine, a nice coiled bun, seasoned with cinnamon and studded with raisins. I ate it, deciding to buy the customer a replacement when I found out who it was.
Anyway, I enthused about this bun, telling Al how delicious it had been, and when he went for his paper, he brought me another one. I offered to pay, but he said the bakery owed it to him – he’d let them have a couple of onions as soon as he unlocked the shop and before he could get to the till, so they said he could have a bun in payment. I also ate the most gorgeous fig. It was huge, ripe and luscious, and local too. The tree used to belong to H. Rider Haggard, who lived a couple of miles away.
No one has asked about the bun, by the way. This is why I am a thief.