It is a truth universally acknowledged that an event should never be awaited too eagerly as the reality will be unable to achieve the mythic anticipation; however Marius and I are escaping for a short break to London.
London I hear you shriek incredulously. Why not the Maldives, the Himalayas, Venice, Prague or Mumbai?
The answer is simple: breakfast.
We always stay (courtesy of the corporate rate, there have to be some compensations) at a large anonymous hotel close to the Tube, close-ish to central London, close to a couple of wonderful supermarkets and some interesting musea, where they serve 'breakfast'. A breakfast to die for and I probably will, of it. Never mind. After years of religiously-restricted breakfast choices, we are in for the full, er, hog ...
Huge and anonymous though it may be, the staff in the dining room always greet us by name. We come regularly, (two or three times a year) but not that often compared to the corporate travellers who must frequent the place monthly. Is it because we make such pigs of ourselves? How many sausages can a person eat for breakfast, along with toast, fried mushrooms, eggs, bacon, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, hash browns if you want them, fresh fruit, tea, juice and a small pastry if possible? Two, but I struggle. Marius starts with three on the first day or so but he too regulates himself with time.
It sounds so greedy and disgusting: my mouth is watering already.
To be fair, we don't often eat much else during the day, and not just because we are mean. Such an imperial breakfast sets you up not only for the morning and the day, but most of the week as well.
They greet us by name because we smile beatifically on them as we get our plates. We are such chums with the maitre d' that we get special requests like omelettes and kippers. On one trip we were transporting home a large and precious glass-faced picture and he supplied us with several cardboard boxes from the kitchen, darling man. He always asks after our offspring - by name - and finds time for a chat amongst his duties.
Even the concierge remembers us, and the doormen. We have never made a scene, been unpleasant or requested lewd or bizarre services, so I am at a bit of a loss to explain these kindnesses: you can always tell the difference between a professional welcome and true recognition, because something clears in the face when you are remembered. Something outside conscious control or awareness, probably. It is like a smile-within-a-smile.
We are quite boring. The first evening after we arrive, we go to the local Singaporean place and relive memories of Nonya food from our days in Malaysia. And we eat pork. We have a round of favourite pubs and little restaurants we visit, almost invariably ordering the same dishes as last time. People smile at us. We can order wine or beer and nobody cares.
It is wonderful.
I feel confident in allowing the anticipation to build as I am confident there will be breakfast, there will be Nonya food, there will be pepperoni on the pizzas and mushy peas with the fish and chips. All the other aspects of being in London are bonuses.
So, anticipation ... seven sleeps to go ...