The Breakfast Debacle

Day 2 of sole charge, and 6.30am finds me in the reception office doing battle with the computer.

  1. insert USB
  2. hit ‘today’s date’
  3. wait
  4. keep waiting

Fully engrossed with the unfamiliar concept of waiting (perhaps this is why computers and I do not mix?), I drum my fingers anxiously on the desk and pray that no one will want to check out before Doreen – who knows everything – arrives to nurse me through the process.

Bas, meantime, is preparing 6 breakfast trays.

He’s set everything out meticulously the night before. A tendency towards organisation skills has miraculously evidenced itself in the last week, probably with the encouragement of our partner Arthur, the other nominated breakfast cook, who has taught him everything he knows.

Each tray has a large paper d’oyly on it, with the room number neatly written in the bottom right hand corner.

It is then beautifully set up according to the needs of that particular breakfast order … breakfastcutlery in a clean white cutlery bag; salt & pepper, bread & butter plate, everything, in short, that can stay out of the fridge overnight is laid harmoniously on the tray.

(Personally, I would like to add a hibiscus blossom, but Dalby does not produce these.)

In the morning, all’s to be done is to cook the breakfasts and deliver them on time, with a charming smile. Easy peasy. Possible problems with the charming smile, depending on the hour.

So there I sit, waiting, waiting, for the computer to do its thing, when suddenly there comes an urgent call from the kitchen: “Come’n’elp me.” The tone is familiar. Chicken Little meets Basil Fawlty as pandemonium breaks loose in the kitchen. Bas has somehow got himself all in a muddle.

Twenty-four years have I shared my life with this man, and I have only ever seen him run twice, maybe three times ………… in the horse yards in extreme emergency (left gate open, horses spied gap, made to escape). Many years ago.

Day 2 Sole Charge Motelier Adventure – I saw him run.

He ran distractedly around the central storage rack in the kitchen, rushing at the fridge for extra ingredients, shouting expletives and incoherent  – but undoubtedly urgent – instructions. He ran frantically at the stove to put some extra eggs in the poacher. He ran in small circles, gesticulating wildly, literally pulling at his hair, and starting to shout in full-throated Fawlty-ese. He positively sprinted back from Room 17 (the farthest room in the motel) when he discovered that, on top of all his other problems, he had misread the Room 17 order sheet to read “1 scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato & toast” when it actually read “2”.

I learned a few things that morning. One is that you don’t laugh at Chicken Little. Two is you don’t laugh at Basil Fawlty.

Another is that looks can be deceiving.

Bas still has a bit of speed about him.

Oh – and I learned where the second egg-poacher is kept.

© Jane Grieve –

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