I understood perfectly his dilemma. To the left, the carriage was empty apart from me and the jaded looking drunk slumped in the corner attempting to pee discreetly into an empty soft drink can. It would have to be an educated guess, but I imagine it was a diet Coca Cola. Even the great unwashed in Glasgow are health conscious these days it would seem. Stopping only to collect the filter tipped and menthol of discarded cigarette ends from the gutters, they ply their lucrative trade of begging mainly outside of health clubs and tofu bars to ensure the best return for their day's extensive labours. To the right, my eyes never left another fellow traveller as he reached the climax of the intrusive exploratory excavation of his nostril, reached gingerly into his briefcase and extracted the familiar embossed oblong leaflet introducing the sacred word of Jehovah. For it is written, thou shalt not go any longer than one hour without making a thinking persons life a misery with their illustrated piffle. I looked neither left, nor right as he stood to make his first approach with a somewhat nervous tic above his eye. Before he had made it as far as aisle 2 of the quiet carriage, a great exuberance of confidence had manifested itself upon his clean shaven face. Whatever recent substance he had so enthusiastically removed from his beak had not been his religious zeal. The creases dropped out of the clean, but too-short trouser legs, his mismatched tie swung like an enthusiastic American at a Billy Joel concert. For a fleeting moment, whilst making his final approach, he perfected the outstretching of the arm, the clearing of the throat, even the nervous grin fluctuated only slightly before popping into the biggest coprophagous grin this side of the White House. In my lowest of low growls and without the slightest betrayal of annoyance, I uttered the single commanding word of "stop". The moment was fraught for a tense few seconds as the guttural account of my vocal challenge hung in the air before it began to sink in. And then, as if Ghod himself had overseen the protection of his representative and intervened on his behalf, a small, calm, seasoned voice from the opposite corner of the carriage piped up just long enough to say: "I cannae stop now son, I'm already halfway to the top of the can." The mood was broken, the pish continued, I accepted the leaflet, while my fellow biblical traveller used the small break in the tension and resumed his erstwhile position with middle digit once more firmly ensconced up his hooter.
It was with a certain reluctance that I swept the unsuspecting fellow from his favourite place amongst my elegant ladies. For once, it had taken slightly more than a moment of dutch courage. With a last arrogant squawk he rebuked me vociferously as only the venom of a snoozing male will allow. He fought bravely, but it was to no avail. Once hooded and shackled with my best garden string, I marched him off in the early evening gloom to where my awaiting vehicle sat with its engine purring, lights off, eagerly awaiting my command to ease itself from the gravelled driveway and make its silent escape. We drove for a good ten miles in silence before we reached the previously arranged location in which we would execute our final plan in regard to our impotent friend. Siobhan glanced sideways at me under the stilted glow of the dashboard lights. I felt her hand caress mine to relieve the awful tension that ensued. After ensuring that we were far enough into the woods and away from any possible unwelcome interruptions, we stopped. Taking out a former favourite business tool from its silk lined jacket pocket, I ran the sharp blade against my finger to test its mettle. With a swift upward thrust of the blade I dispatched the terse string that bound our captive to the tether. With the hood fully removed he gave me one last vehement stare and ran into the woods. I looked across at Siobhan, she smiled, 'it had to be done, it's for the best'. We drove back in silence. It wasn't the first time I had taken a former pal out into the woods for a one-way midnight stroll. But this time it had been personal. My fresh egg dependency had come to a head. Mr. Rooster could no longer perform. My ladies were seemingly verging on mutiny. At the poultry market that morning I was unable to raise my head due to the shame of my limp cock. Fare thee well my old rooster friend, enjoy your freedom, the new virile replacement arrives on the morrow. My ladies await.
Divine Scottish Omelette's
300g smoked haddock
2 bay leaves
fresh full fat milk for poaching
8 tablespoons crème fraîche
2 lemons, zest only
225g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
large bunch of fresh chives, finely chopped
9 large free-range eggs
Kerry butter for frying
Place the smoked haddock into a large skillet or wok that has a lid. Pour in some milk. Add the bay leaves and peppercorns. Gently poach, as if your very life depended on it, over a low heat for 10-12 minutes before setting aside to cool. Whilst the fish is poaching, mix the crème fraîche with the lemon zest, grated Parmesan and most of the chives. Season to taste with freshly cracked pepper. No salt for the love of all things smokey, the fish has plenty in it already. Heat the butter in a large ovenproof pan over a low heat, pour in the eggs, stirring lightly as if you were preparing the food in a loved ones dream. Flake the haddock, removing any skin or bones while the eggs are perfecting. When the eggs are still slightly runny on top, but have started to set, spoon over the crème fraîche before scattering the flaked fish on top. Cook for a further 5 minutes until nicely brown. Add lemon slices and the remainder of the chives before serving. Delicious with a single helping of rocket or any peppery salad.
Created & prepared by Chef Files