As you travel Britain’s main roads, every few miles or so you’ll pass a convenient lay-by with a caravan, a shack, a portakabin – some less-than-permanent structure which has actually been there as long as anyone can remember. Parked outside it are lorries, vans, cars – all empty, because their drivers are in the Greasy Spoon – that’s what these huts and caravans are affectionately called.
These truckers and travellers have gone in for an all-day breakfast. The menu’s limited. All that’s on offer are various combinations of bacon, sausage, eggs – with baked beans, grilled tomatoes, grilled mushrooms or bread on the side. This is not Fine Dining. The bread served here is not artisan-crafted from some small bakery using speciality organic stone-ground flour from the mill down the road. It’s industrial strength pre-sliced pap. I doubt if the pigs used for the sausages and bacon have truffled around in the woods looking for acorns, or been fed wholesome scraps from the farm. The baked beans come in catering-size cans.
But we’ve got into the habit, when the boys stay with us, of having lunch at a particular greasy spoon near Skipton. What it lacks in finesse it makes up for by offering a really friendly welcome and rock-bottom prices. We make our order, plonk ourselves down at one of the formica tables, and relish a rib-sticking calorie-fest which will keep our stomachs lined for an afternoon of fresh air and fun at nearby Brimham Rocks. It comes under the heading of ‘Naughty but Nice.’*
*Salman Rushdie coined this advertising slogan for Fresh Cream Cakes when he was working as a copywriter back in the 1970s. Warning: Don’t Google this phrase unless you are on the look-out for sex toys or ‘adult-themed materials’. You have been warned.