Thursday, December 3, 2020

A Breakfast Request

A Scalpay week. Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it. A week in a Gaelic speaking B&B sounded even more fascinating. A chance to practice a language I’d been studying for a few years. I also had some unfinished business on Harris: a minor island easily reached from Scalpay by a bridge. And so I booked a week-long stay on Scalpay in the best time of year to do that, late spring. 

On the first day I made the circular walk to the Scalpay lighthouse, and was late getting back to the B&B. I was the only one staying there, and as I climbed the stairs to the room my host Annabel asked what I’d like for breakfast. I tried to say what I wanted in Gaelic, and as I did she nearly gasped, a look of puzzlement on her face; it was as if I’d asked for fried cow-pooh and boiled bull testicles (maybe I did.) 

I repeated my request in English: I'd like a bowl of corn flakes, two fried eggs, toast and coffee. She was still puzzled, a puzzlement that puzzled me for a few puzzling seconds. Then I realized most Americans want the full Scottish breakfast: porridge, eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, potato scones, tomato, mushrooms, kippers, and black pudding (I felt my arteries harden as I wrote that). Such a breakfast would leave me incapable of doing anything but having a heart attack, and then resting in peace, forever. She was very happy with my selection. It meant she did not have to get up at 4am to start cooking.

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