Next Wednesday is our writers' group meeting and we are all going to submit a piece on our part of the world in relation to the forthcoming Le Tour de France in 2014, which is coming right through the Dale. Sitting up in bed this morning drinking my morning tea, I began to think about what I should write. But I got side-tracked.
I find that early in the morning, when my mind is more or less empty of the trivia that fills it as the day wears on, it is very easy to slip into a kind of Stream of Consciousness. And so I did.
One of the places Le Tour will pass is the Buttertubs, as they traverse on their carbon fibre, phenominally expensive bikes. 'Buttertubs' I thought, and then I was off back into the past, forgetting all about bikes.
I was five years old again, it was a Friday in the school holidays and I was with my mother on Lincoln market. We would have got there possibly by train from our village three miles down the line. I loved it when we went by train; so much more exciting than going by bus.
Market day was Friday in Lincoln and we always headed for the Butter Market to stock up for the weekend with all the things my mother put on the table.
First of all was the farm butter, bought from one of the farmers' wives who had a stall in the market. Each 'pat' would be hand-crafted into a rectangular shape with a special pattern on the top. Three sides would be covered with greaseproof paper which would be wrapped over the top when you bought the 1lb. slab. Tiny beads of moisture would be oozing out of the salty sides and my mouth would begin to water at the thought of home made bread and this farm butter for tea when we got home.
Then we would go to the meat stalls, all manned by local and well-known butchers. We would buy potted beef in a round tub. Each tub would have a thick layer of clarified butter on the top to keep it fresh. Then my mother would buy her Sunday joint - pork, beef, lamb in rotation (chicken was a real luxury food in those days). She would always make sure there was a nice lot of fat on the joint to keep it moist and make it tender. Then there would be the large brawn, moulded in a special jelly mould and looking like jelly but filled with bits of various 'porky' meats (best not to enquire what they were).
Off home we would trundle, to where quite often the bread had been left rising in the hearth in front of the fire. And that was our food basically, supplemented by things from the garden - vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes, apples - whatever was in season.
We ate well for the times I suppose and both my parents lived on well into their eighties. But when I look at what they ate now and compare it with what we eat and what is now thought to be 'bad for us' - it causes some thought:-
Farm butter - we rarely eat butter. Oh yes, it is delicious, particularly on the crust of a newly-baked loaf (and white at that), but isn't animal fat supposed to be bad for us?
An enormous amount of meat, much of it fat meat. We eat very little meat and when we do eat it, we eat only lean meat.
My mother made her own cakes - always with butter and there would be five or six types on the table at a meal. Sugar? Not good for us - we rarely eat cake.
Fat meat? We kept our own pig and always had a flitch of bacon hanging in the kitchen. My father would take the carving knife and cut himself a slice of bacon for breakfast (far more fat than lean - there was usually a contest to see who could rear the fattest pig) and fry two eggs in the fat which ran out of the bacon.
Oh happy days! Was all that food really so very bad for us - and have we gone too far the other way? Or am I looking at the whole picture through rose-tinted specs?
Ah well! Time to get up and get into the real world. See you tomorrow.