The other day I was chatting to a pal and asking how on earth did we manage without mobile phones?
In my teenage years if we arranged to meet under the bus station clock at 1pm on a Saturday I waited.
If they didn’t turn up, I jumped on the next bus home. How times have changed.
Now of course we’d ring, text or WhatsApp. Ah the joys of keeping in touch via a lump of electronics.
But my little phone is also a godsend in finding food. Food at late notice; food wherever I happen to be; food in an instant (or almost).
Which is why, on a Wednesday teatime I found myself in Whelans of Warton. I’d been to a meeting which lasted longer than expected, straddling lunch (no butties) and encroaching on “is it too early to have tea yet” time. In short, I was starving.
Out came my phone, I Googled “takeaways nearby” and lo! Whelans of Warton popped up. It was due to open one minute later and I was only a three-minute drive away.
In my world, fish and chips are munched after a long energetic stroll along a windy prom, or a toe-numbing afternoon on a football terrace.
This was a secret pleasure, staring at a fish and chips menu at 4.15pm.
Whelans of Warton is a hop skip and a jump from BAe’s Warton site, and I bet it throngs at lunchtimes. I was in at teatime early doors and the lights weren’t even on but the fryer was busy. I scanned the menu and as usual I craved everything.
Would it be gourmet fish cakes (salmon and dill, or cod and prawn) or maybe a chip barmcake. I went for a specials option at £6 (regular haddock, chips and gravy). I could have had peas instead of gravy. I also threw in a carton of curry (95p).
As the fryer fried and the fish fizzled, I giddily spotted Lancashire cheese pie (£2.80) on the board and wanted that too, but was told it wasn’t popular, so they’d stopped selling it.
What’s wrong people of Warton? Cheese pie is sacrosanct and should be there for Northern Birds like me.
Let’s cut to the point and talk about the food.
The chips weren’t a beige lump of nothingness but were golden and plentiful.
My fingers reached out to snap off a freshly salted slither of crunchy golden batter as the chip shop man wrapped up my tea in paper.
A few minutes later I pecked at the hot, silky white flesh of the haddock in the car and felt incredibly guilty.
I took the rest home and didn’t tell anybody (until now).