Friday, January 11, 2013

Shining a light on UK breakfasts

Nothing beats a full English breakfast, right? But if you're serving it up outside the English border, you can't call it an English breakfast.

On my recent business trip to Cardiff, I was offered a Welsh breakfast.

It looked eerily like an English one.

There were some potatoes (a little unusual perhaps) and some slightly undercooked black pudding. But the black pudding is part of the traditional Scottish breakfast I've been served north of the border too.

Come to think of it, what distinguishes it from the Manx and Irish breakfasts I've been offered?

I think it's time for a London breakfast. Enfield eggs, sizzling sausages from Seven Sisters and some back bacon served up the old-fashioned Bayswater way.

While I was in Cardiff, incidentally, I struggled with the lighting in my hotel room. Unable to see my hand in front of my face, I called for assistance. An Italian guy arrived and activated the lights from a switch that I had missed. Even then, I could only just make him out as a blurred figure, as the total wattage in the room was struggling to get into double figures. He gave me a long lecture about how the hotel's design aesthetic was 'contemporary' and things like lights didn't fit with that. 'It's better for this amazing view too,' he said, drawing back the curtains on my 18th-floor bolt hole.

Yes, the view was nice. But would I be able to find my way to the bathroom?

There's a comedy sketch in the light switches you find in hotels. By the bed, you can often get half a dozen which have an undeclared connection with a random selection of 5W bulbs scattered around the room. You turn three lights on, aim for a fourth and discover you've just turned the first three off. Do they design this stuff for amusement?