Betty’s Vs service station

Stopping on the way back down from Yorkshire at a service station made me realise how terrible those places are for anybody who cares what they eat. I can and will make do with a KFC or similar artificial hideousness, but Lou is careful and there really ain’t much for her. Marks and Spencers have a good deal as pretty much the only vendor of actual food but even that was pretty poor today. And the roads are back to normal – the crowds are back to normal.

We made it back into London before the evening traffic, and it was a swift run back down the A1, but I was hungry when I got home. Out of solidarity I couldn’t really grab a dirty chicken burger, so I just had a few snacks and drove faster.

The day started with great luxury. I’ve been in Harrogate many many times over the years, particularly in that happy decade of summers that were filled with Sprite Shakespeares in the grounds of Ripley Castle. They were busy times though. If I was in town it was usually to get something. I was rarely there with time to spare, and added to that, the wage wasn’t good enough to inspire profligacy. They were happy and important summers for me, but it was always a negotiation with the agent to accept them and I never came home feeling like I’d made a good stash – especially on the boozier years…

This morning we had some leisure time in Harrogate. I wanted a treat. I took Lou and India to Betty’s.

Betty’s is just the ultimate twee place to eat. It’s on a corner in Harrogate, and if you want to go there you’re going to have to queue up. We arrived at ten to nine in the morning and joined a queue of a good twenty groups. If we had arrived any later the queue would’ve likely been so long it wouldn’t have been worth it in the cold.

It was set up by an expat Swiss confectioner called Fritz, who changed his name to Frederick just before WW1, married the daughter of an industrialist and put her money to good use. English breakfast and cream tea fayre with a Swiss twist. India and I went the whole hog and had a tiered “Imperial” breakfast. A glass of Bircher muesli. Two slices of cinnamon cake with clotted cream and fruit. A couple of pastries. Rosti with egg and protein of choice. Coffee.

Behind me as we sat were polished up versions of lots of the type of teapot I sold in large quantities for not very much on eBay a little over two years ago. In bulk for decoration is pretty much the only use they have really, the majority of them. Or pouring tea of course. They looked nice on the shelf but I found myself thinking that the current worth of the whole shelf of teapots probably amounted to the cost of the breakfast. That’s not to say the pots are completely worthless. But I paid it with pleasure. I was the one that wanted to go there. I was happy to foot the bill for good company while I shoved tasty food into my face. And arriving at that service station on the A1 some hours later, I was glad that we’d started the day up in Harrogate with some top scran.

I’m back in London again now, and I’m gearing up for another schizophrenic week, thankfully punctuated by a lovely and interesting self tape due Tuesday, going to a director who has taken the time to write publicly that he sees and appreciates the work we all put in for the things. (It was the first thing I found when doing my due diligence research). I’m glad of him saying it. Makes me hope the part lands so I can work with him. But then… well I hope they ALL land. Of course I do. For all of us! Ha. It will.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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