My Burns Night celebratory meal occurred on Saturday because on Wednesday, the real Burns Night, I was busy picking up donuts for my obligatory birthday treats so I could bring them to work on Thursday.
I had my Burns Night dinner last night: swede (that\’s rutabaga to you on the other side of the pond) mashed with butter and pepper, mashed potatoes with gravy, and oven-cooked haggis. I like my haggis cooked rather than the more tradition method of boiling because baking it produces a nice, crispy exterior. It also precludes the mess that a burst haggis occasions.
Now, Thursday wasn\’t actually my birthday, but I still had to pick up birthday treats for two reasons:
1. It is mandatory. Over here, instead of your co-workers taking you out for a birthday drink, you are required (by Parliamentary decree, they tell me) to supply cakes, cookies and other assorted goodies for everyone in your office. A strange custom, but who am I to argue with tradition?
2. Bringing them in on my actual birthday was out of the question because there are so many people with birthdays in early January that we have to stagger the dates.
It\’s an unfortunate coincidence that, in a work force as small as ours, so many people have birthdays in the first half of January. It would be bad enough if this surfeit of birthdays happened in, say, August, but the opening weeks of the year are the absolute worst time for this to happen.
During December, every other day someone brings in a tin of chocolates or mince pies, and then after Christmas, the excess everyone is trying to get rid of ends up on various unoccupied desktops. And we just about get through all of that before the birthday glut arrives, playing havoc with people foolish enough to have made resolutions concerning their weight or unhealthy diets.
It has gotten so bad that we are actually proposing to ask management to screen future employees and only offer positions to those who were born between May and September.
But this is the situation I am stuck with, so Burns Night found me checking Google for the location of the nearest Krispy Kreme Donut distributor. I\’ve written about Krispy Kreme before, about my love-hate relationship with them while I lived in the States, and how I was relived to put them behind me when I moved over here, and how horrified I was to find out they had followed me over.
I managed to make peace with the presence of Krispy Kreme; I found they are a bit like the Killer Bees—as long as you leave them alone, they won\’t harm you. I even brought them in to the office as my birthday treat on occasion, making fellow Kreme-addicts out of a number of my colleagues. And so, this year, I decided to bring some in again, as a special treat (and so I could get a much-needed fix). The closest store the last time I had bought some was twenty miles away, but I thought I\’d have a look to see if any had opened nearer. One had. And it was within walking distance.
This is a bad turn of events, indeed. Not only is this outlet within walking distance, it is in the massive, 24-hour Tesco just across the roundabout in Broadbridge Heath. So now I have to adjust myself to the fact that, any day of the week, any time of day or night, I am a twenty minute walk—or 3 minute drive—away from Krispy Kreme Donuts.
I\’m not sure if my willpower can take the strain.
At least I was able to gorge myself enough on the ones I brought in to work to satisfy my Kreme Kraving, but just for the time being. I\’ll soon be longing for another bite into that heavenly sugar-rush, I can already feel the stirrings, and I hear them, late at night, calling to me…