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Late breakfast

1. Cream Toast. 2. Wine. 3. Water. 4. Oatmeal. 5. High Tea. 6. Petit Beurre. 7. Dinner. 8. Normandy. 9. Rosebery. 10. Water Wafer. 11. Thin Butter. 12. Family. 13. Paris. 14. Canadian. 15. Thick Oat Cake. 16. Brighton. 17. Milk. 18. Duchess. 19. Cracklet. 20. Sunshine. 21. Pat-a-Cake. 22. Marie. 23. Nile. 24. Delhi. 25. Fairy. 26. Cocoanut. 27. Melton. 28. Osborne. Butter Cream. 30. Picnic. 31. Jamaica. 32. Lunch. 33. Texas Cracker. 34. Plasmon. 35. Wayside. 36. Digestive. 37. Normandy. 38. Oswego. 39. Veda.
In the submarine, blindly circling the ocean, lost and parbruilyeidishly behind schedule; however, I am assured that we will be getting a new submarine soon, with a captain who knows the way to India. Juan is engaged with another magazine, containing photographs of beautiful, but somewhat threadbare, women. Albert, stupidly, in my opinion, as he is sure to lose, insists on having another game of chess with Juan, George is painting more birds.

Fatty, our captain, looks in to tell us that breakfast will be delayed. George says that that is perfectly all right because it gives him time to finish off his latest paintings, which, he tells us, he is having some difficulty with, as he’s been in submarines for such a long time that he is starting to forget what birds look like. Looking at his paintings, of a lark, a wren and a wagtail, I tell him that they look fine. Fatty goes further, saying that George’s paintings are inspirational, and, in their honour, he’ll add lark tongue soup, wren in cheese sauce, and wagtail pie to this evening’s dinner menu. For a moment, I think that this is ambitious, but I remember that, although Fatty is not a highly experienced submariner, he is a wonderful chef and, because he lacks confidence in his ability to command a submarine, he compensates by producing superb meals. However, because he is a perfectionist, and because, in the submarine, he suffers from a lack of suitable provisions, he is having trouble, he says, in producing the quality of meal that submariners deserve. This, he explains, is why there is a delay in serving breakfast. It was, he says, to include hot devilled lobster, baked fillets of sole, calves’ sweetbread, quails stewed in casserole, prawns in aspic, lobster salad, sweetbread patties, foie gras creams, roast chickens, partridges masked with sauce, galantine of turkey, French game pie, roast pheasant, ham and tongue, followed by chocolate cream, almond cream, stewed pears with cream, oranges in jelly, Russian charlotte, nougat with cream, French tart, iced pudding, banana cream ice, vanilla ice, fruit, desserts, coffee and biscuits. Juan says he’d be happy with just a hot, game, French tart with sweet, creamy, calves, but Fatty explains that the problem is that the cream toast crackers should measure two and a half inches from side to side, but, because he ran short of wheat flour, he had to compromise and make them two and a quarter inches wide, but now they don’t look anything like proper cream crackers and nobody should have to put up with sub-standard crackers, and, as he feels that he has ruined breakfast, he’s thrown everything out and will start again, which is why, he says, breakfast will be late.

After Fatty leaves, Albert asks whether Fatty is entirely sane, I explain that he’s just a bit crackers. Juan says that, while we wait for breakfast, we should have a drink, to whet the appetite, and he breaks out the Vintage Springbank, Macduff, Pulteney, and Glendullan Special Reserve, we offer toast after toast to submariners, Fatty, and French tarts, then, inflating our bagpipes then, exuberantly playing ’The Shipwreck’, ‘The Lark and the Wren’ and ‘Willie was a Wanton Wag’, we march in enthusiastic, but wobbly, circles, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary