‘Pancakes’ she said. Pancakes? Why on earth is this rather odd, flatulent and hairy old specimen shouting Pancakes at me? Well that’s what my inner dialogue thought, and frankly, why wouldn’t it. Its not often I’m stopped in the High Street by a wildly gesticulating person with an aroma of stale ‘Crawfords’ biscuits seemingly demanding to know the answer to the the phrase ‘Pancakes’. What can one say to such nonsense but ‘Shrove Tuesday’. So Shrove Tuesday is what i said, shrove being the past tense of the verb Shrive, which apparently has something to do with pancakes, look, really, I don’t know, don’t put me on the spot.

Why is it that mad old biddies are allowed to parade in full view of the more sane members of the general public, why are they allowed to carry what could be termed an offensive weapon in the form of an iron skillet, and why on gods green and tarmacced earth does someone feel the need to rush up and down throwing a flour and egg based product into the air whilst members of the local press gaze on with their Mega-pixie digital thingummies taking inane snaps of those poor unfortunates unable to fathom the travesty of serving a chicken ovum without devilled kidneys.

Be warned dear reader, there is clearly something askew with food nowadays. Yes I realise the old pancake tossers come from a bygone age of making do and using up what’s in the larder, but that doesn’t explain the need for them to carry on this way in this age of microwave technology and fully nutritious ready-meals. In my humble experience of using up the leftover supplies I’d say the best recipe I could come up with was to empty the contents of the broken teacup at the bottom of the fridge into the jagged tin of baked beans of indeterminate age and cook it in a pot until it stops wiggling, of course always go for the subtler hues when it comes to cooking as the fluffy green look tends to taste a little musty, a bit like Benson the butler after he locked himself in that cupboard for a week, (he survived by sucking on mothballs and the turf from the bottom of my wellies).

‘Shrove Tuesday’ is what I said, this stopped the harridan in her tracks. Confess your sins is what it meant, Confess foul harridan, confess and weep for thou art a sinner, oh and stop throwing that batter mix in the air and pass me a lemon.

Yes, to shrive is to confess ones sins. Shrove Tuesday falls before Ash Wednesday, which presumably falls before ‘Who’s going to clean this batter and soot mess up Thursday’ and ‘I’m not speaking to you’ Friday. These odd, everso slightly beffuddled days are the precursor to Lent. Lent being a period of time in the christian calendar when you it’s acceptable to retreive those garden implements that next door borrowed from you back in August last year.

It’s also a time when it’s suggested that for spiritual and mental health we should ‘Give something up’, a tradition I wholeheartedly embrace each year when for about a month I abstain from Gin. Spiritually I feel refreshed, invigorated and cleansed from this foul spirit, however, in contrast my absinthe consumption does rise dramatically, as does my need for psychiatric help. An old chum of mine swears blind that the hallucenigenic additive ‘Wormwood’ which gives the aforementioned spirit that extra zing and also quite readily sent the likes of Modigliani and Van Gogh to an early grave is a fine way of combatting the rigours of modern life, a fact that is bourne out by his ability to ignore the sort of mad old dear in Broadstairs High street who regularly acosts gentlemen of easy persuasiuon such as myself.

I guess it’s a little akin to the pussy drug ‘Catnip’ that my old moggie ‘Mr Bix’ laps up in great quantities from within the tightly crochetted cat toy her ladyship often knocks up for the ginger beast. It certainly creates one space cadet fluff ball of dribble and claws. However one mans meat is another mans poison (or should that be poisson), in that, the other family pet ‘Molly Measles’ (feline, female variety) who doesn’t get it at all, instead looks on in wonderment and shame at the male in the family making such a fool of himself on a cheap addictive drug.

It’s almost like they’re human

As for the woman in the street, she eventually left me alone, probably on account of her pancake ending up in my pocket for later along with half a lemon and a sachet of sugar, it’ll go nicely with a half pint of Wormwood liquor.

But only during Lent of course.


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