As has been the case with everything in 2021, planning for this particular half-term has been a near impossibility, but we’ve made a pact to make the most of it, even if it means collecting shells while wearing our cagoules. Whatever the weather, you can rest assured that I’ll be wearing shorts.
Holidays mean different things for different people; for Mrs Tapp it’s the chance to read half of the current Waterstones’ bestsellers, while the children know that a week off school means later bedtimes.
Food is the secret to my perfect holiday as it gives me the opportunity to use my kitchen for cooking rather than logging onto my laptop.
While my better half was working out how to tear our two away from their digital babysitters, I was meticulously planning our daily menus, including the days when I’d hang up my pinny for the afternoon and visit the chippy.
But the mealtime I look forward to the most during a week off is breakfast. During the mayhem of a normal working week, my brekkie is usually an industrial-strength coffee and whatever I can find to toast in the bread bin.
When I’ve got time on my side, breakfast can be a real feast. At least three sausages, rashers of bacon, black pudding, a couple of eggs, mushrooms, and occasionally a piece of fried bread are my idea of bliss, although my intake of grease is watched closely.
Until now, that is. It’s not often that I pay much attention to medical studies, especially those by Chinese researchers, but I am positively buoyed by the news that there is a lower risk of doing yourself a genuine mischief by eating meat for breakfast rather than at teatime, or, for my Southern friends, dinner.
Of course, the health-conscious researchers would much prefer us not to indulge in a gutbuster and would rather that we indulged in a plant-based meal in the evenings and I’m pretty sure they don’t mean fried tomatoes and an extra large bag of chips.
But I’m hanging onto the news that a fry-up isn’t as bad for you at 8am as it is at 8pm and I’m sure that, due to my uncanny knack for reinventing history, it won’t be long before I’ve convinced myself that a bacon butty is better for me that a bowl of fun free porridge.
In the dim and distant days when I needed to wear a belt, big breakfasts formed the central part of my daily diet. During a visit to London as an 18-year-old, I visited an authentic greasy spoon cafe under some railway arches, before facing my first ever university interview.
I felt like I’d walked into an episode of Minder as I munched through what was more of a culinary assault course than a meal, while men in hi-viz jackets slurped tea and smoked woodbines, while reading the Racing Post. Needless to say that I didn’t get accepted onto that particular course but I did suffer heartburn which I still remember more than a quarter of a century later.
While I’m pretty sure that my loved ones would have something to say if I ate like a trucker every time I took a holiday, I will be treating myself to at least a couple of breakfast blowouts this week.