… The Doll said “Ted I think you should pay attention to traditional institutions that are becoming extinct in London”. I panicked for a moment as I thought she meant me in a cryptic roundabout kinda way. But phew .. what she actually had in mind was local “cafes” sometimes called “working men’s cafes” and usually referred to by the general public as “Greasy Spoons”. But Ted they are all over London, so why the concern? Well … most of them are small independently owned businesses that fiercely eschew being part of the omnipresent fast food joints and large ubiquitous high street chains. However, as the building of high rise apartments continues apace all over London they are generally being forced out as they can no longer afford the rent on the low food prices they charge, only to be replaced by the “same as same as” joints and chains … there’s a tragic irony for you eh!
“Greasy Spoons” are not only feeding and watering holes for the locals, they are also the mainstay of cabbies, (as in black cabs) and outside of London, long distance lorry drivers, both of whom previously had such notoriously bad eating habits that in 2001 it lead to a hoax in the UK press that the European Union were trying to ban greasy spoon cafes (imagine how that went down before they realised it was a hoax!!!). So … I immediately contacted my cafe consultant who shall remain nameless (Les) for a rendezvous at a “spoon” of his choosing. He chose one called (appropriately) “Workman's” in North London. My equally anonymous cafe calorie counting consultant (Fliss) recommended that I have the mixed grill. Over a mug of strong tea, known as “Builder’s tea”, Les quietly but firmly tried to dissuade me of that option by telling me that it was a rather “massive” plate of food.
Hey this me me ... I am Ted of massive appetite, massive appetite, gigantic even ... this would be a piece of cake for me right .. right ?
My gigantic plate full arrived, delivered by a lovely waitress who I can only think must actually be able to represent the UK in Olympic weight lifting. She deposited it in front of me with a smile that hinted of a challenge. Heaps of … bacon, egg, sausages, lamb chops, liver, chips, tomatoes, mushrooms, and lots and lots of peas. I set out with gusto, and pretty soon was roundly and soundly beaten … I took a black cab home.