Thoughts turn to savouring the past

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Food, food, glorious food. Somebody should write a song about it. I’m sure it would make an excellent ingredient for a star-studded stage play or even a mouth-watering family film.

Inspiration for this week’s column was slow in arriving. I had pondered getting all heated-up about the crude ping-pong match that is still being played on the important issue of the Scottish (not Salmond’s) referendum. It is less than six months away and it’s about time the debate – particularly, but not exclusively – from the No campaign developed real substance and produced answers to extremely important questions.

I had also considered writing about the absolutely shocking way that the tormented relatives of those missing – and now apparently dead – have been treated by the mandarins in Malaysia.

Yes, the situation was, and still is, confused. But I suspect those bland-faced officials who have treated the relatives with little courtesy or compassion know – and have done for a while – a wee bit more than they have been revealing.

The screams as the relatives received text messages – yes, text messages – were truly haunting.

As I pondered, inspiration was fed my way when the boss arrived back from a management meeting with a half-eaten box of chocolate fingers.

The left-over sandwiches are expected any moment. I hear footsteps on the stairs – no, a false alarm. But their arrival will save me a few bob and visit to the discount shelf at the Co-op in Berwick.

Yes, a couple of colleagues and I are still working over the border while our new offices are readied.

Now, where was I. Ah, food. I like it. I like cooking it (soup and main courses only) and I enjoy eating it. My son can confirm that I make a mean, if not lean, beefburger, but he is way ahead of me on lasagne.

I don’t eat out very often, but am partial to the odd chippy or Chinese carry-oot. I am no food critic, so make no comment on current establishments, but I hanker for some from the past.

My first Chinese meal was a beef curry (loads of onions and peas) from Gala’s first oriental restaurant which was next to the Co-op funeral parlour. That raised a titter or two. It, the restaurant, had a back window from which some unsavoury bodies were known to depart from instead of the front door.

My days on the Peeblesshire News took me to a wonderful restaurant called Gino’s, which is now an Indian affair. It was run by a wonderful Italian family and was in the days of the 7/6d (around 38p) three-course special lunch. For an extra 1/- (5p) you could have steak. Wonderful, and wonderful family service.

In the Gala of my youth we were spoilt for chippy choice – Valada’s, Rankine’s, Barry’s, Tony’s and Percy’s. The chips went up in price when the new tatties arrived, but never came down when they became old.

However, one of my favourite eating houses was Woolworth’s at the end of Princes Street in Edinburgh, with its seemingly-endless counter of steaming dishes. The aroma is twitching my nostrils now.

Still no sign of those left-over sandwiches.