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Sunday, 6 October 2013

Four star fuel

"You have a frugal way of feeding yourself," I tell my son, as I survey the trays of sprouting seeds laid out on his kitchen surfaces.

"Peasant food," he says. "Cheap and tasty."

"Nourishing too, I'm guessing."

"Certainly," he says. "Fast-fry the seed-sprouts, chuck an egg on top, also fried, and eat it with a bannock. Sets you up for the day."

"What's a bannock?" I say.

"One of these," he says, sliding a tray out of the oven, bulging with rough-looking, honey-coloured, domed discs, like biscuits on steroids.

"How do you make them?" I ask, picking one up and biting. It's dry and crumbly in texture, savoury and satisfying to taste.

"Oats, water, salt, bit of baking soda," he says. "Grab a few handfuls and pop them in the oven for 20 minutes. Use them like bread or rolls. Oats make you feel better than wheat."

"In what way?"

"Lighter and less bloated," he says. "They're easier to digest, I think. So what you up to these days?"

"Did something outstandingly stupid yesterday," I tell him. "It looks like the last traces of intelligence are fleeing fast, leaving just a few sparks randomly flickering between wasted neurons in the dying embers of my ageing brain."

"At least you can still talk bollocks," he says.

"One of the skills dementia only enhances," I say.

"Bleak future if it's true though," he says.

"I could become a banker," I say.

"Not if there's still some sparks," he says. "You'd be way too smart. What was it you did?"

"Filled my car with diesel instead of petrol."

"That is dumb," he says. "But diesel pumps are bigger so they can't fit a petrol tank."

"They are," I say. "I noticed it wasn't going in well. So I shoved it as far as it would go, then checked underneath that it wasn't running out. Managed to get a full tank in."

He shakes his head. "You didn't realise you'd the wrong fuel line?"

"That's the worst part," I say. "I could tell there was something wrong, but it just didn't click. I haven't done anything that stupid since I put the washing in the fridge and the beer in the tumble-dryer."

"Warm beer and cool pants?" he says. "That could work. I'm guessing your engine didn't, with a tankful of diesel?"

"Oh it did," I say. "Went for half a mile, right into the busiest part of town. Then it made a horrible noise and packed in, causing an obstruction and making me very unpopular."

"I can see why," he says. 

"Cost me £200 in the end, to get towed to a mechanic, diagnosed - since I still didn't know what I'd done - the tank drained, the system flushed and refilled, and the engine restarted. Plus a day's work lost."

"What a wally," he says.

"What a wally," I say, clearing the crumbs of bannock from my plate and getting up to leave. "I got to go earn some money now to pay for yesterday's fiasco."

"Have some more bannocks," he says, lifting four from the oven, wrapping them in greased paper and handing them to me. "Get one of those inside you every morning for a few days and you'll feel a lot better."

"You think so?" I say.

"I'm certain," he says. "Eating normal bread has the same effect as forcing diesel into a petrol engine."

"You feel stupid?" I say.

"It causes an obstruction and horrible noises," he says. "And makes you unpopular."

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