Now that the cold weather is starting to engulf us I am spender longer and longer avoiding television programmes that have placed unknown celebrities in the jungle. Everyone in the street seems to be a fan and whenever I bump into someone they want to discuss the antics of a Lady, who eats unmentionable parts of an animal with a knife and fork whilst wearing pearls. Harry and Gary, not a pair to miss a marketing idea, have taken the opportunity to promote their new range of meats which include ostrich steaks, kangaroo sausages and wildebeest burgers. Taking inspiration from the Lady in the jungle they are offering a free plastic tiara to those buying more than one of the exotic items.
Tom could see no profit in the idea. ‘You’re mad investing in that novelty meat, no one round here will buy it, and you’ve cut down on the frozen roast dinners, not thinking of your regulars.’
Gary shot Tom a look, he had given up explaining that the Spar was not there purely to cater to his needs.
Reg was much more impressed, being a keen meat eater he was willing to try the steaks, sausages and burgers and was delighted to be able to give Margaret the tiara to wear whilst she was cooking, a move I felt may come back to haunt him.
For a vegetarian Suzy seem to take an unhealthy interest in the unusual meat, this may have been encouraged by Garth, who was standing by the freezer explaining that he had been travelling in his younger days and eaten a number of less ordinary foods.
‘I’ve eaten wild dog and alligator, both tough but quite tasty.’
Suzy, who for once had left the baby with Roger was hanging on his every word.
‘I’ve even eaten an ostrich egg, scrambled it was, kept me filled up for the whole day’.
The spell surrounding the two was broken when Tom piped up in response to this boast, ‘That’s rubbish, an ostrich egg is the size of twenty four hens eggs, two dozen, no one could eat all of that.’
Garth looked angry at being disturbed by Tom, but even more annoyed that his honesty had been called into question.
‘Look, old man, if I say I ate an ostrich egg, then I did. Just mind your own business.’
This streak of rudeness was unlike Garth and he reddened as he noticed that Suzy looked uncomfortable at the exchange; quick to diffuse any tension in the shop Gary jumped in with an idea to unite the group.
‘I know, why we don’t have a challenge, the egg tuck in trial. I’ll donate the ingredients and you two can compete, see which one of you can eat the most scrambled egg, we’ll start with twelve eggs each. The winner can chose a pack of meat from the jungle range, and a free tiara.’
Tom, as ever willing to get free food agreed immediately and spurred on by Suzy’s smile Garth also put himself forward. A quick ring round ensured that the event could be held the next day in the Short and Curlies, with Gary leading proceedings.
Word spreads like wild fire in this road and the next lunchtime saw a number of residents gathered for the trial, I went along but only as an excuse to miss the Saturday Christmas shopping crowds.
The pub smelt distinctly eggy as we waited for the two platters to be brought forward by a smiling Shirl. Gary had rang his friend at the local press, ensuring publicity for both the shop and the pub. Suzy had managed to persuade Roger to take her along for the event, although it was clear he was less than impressed and Mand, Daphne and Catherine hung around Garth, making it unclear to an onlooker which of the women partnered him.
At one o’clock, after a short speech by Gary, the pub bell rang and the two men began to eat. Tom, clearly believing that speed was the secret to success, shovelled the egg into his mouth, on the other table Garth took a more measured approach. The eating commenced for five minutes when Tom began to slow down, Garth continued at a steady pace and was announced the winner when his opponent downed his fork and rushed to the toilet. He picked the wildebeest burgers as a prize but also took the plastic tiara which he quickly unwrapped, with a big grin on his face he stepped over to Suzy and placed the plastic adornment on her head.
Roger hissed at her to take it off at once, as Daphne swept out of the pub, followed by a forlorn looking Mand. Garth looked from an angry faced Roger to the door that had banged shut, the atmosphere was almost cake like. As everyone started to look down or shuffle, the door of the pub swung open and in marched a pale looking Reg, ‘I’ve been looking for you’, he shouted at an alarmed Gary.
‘I’ve been here’, he said, ‘doing the egg tuck in trial.’
‘Trial? I’ll give you trial. Do you know what that meat has done to my stomach? And as for my Marg, she’s almost lost a stone in weight, that’s not all, that tiara has taken clumps out of her hair, she’s as bald as a coot’.
Garth used this diversion as an excuse to flee, followed by Roger dragging Suzy by her arm. At this point I was torn, follow them to see what happened or stay in the pub? The pub won, Reg was going to ring the Sun and the local reporter was taking pictures, better than any TV jungle.