The London Review of Breakfasts

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Breakfasts and beds: The Shakespeare Bed and Breakfast, Lancaster

The Shakespeare Bed and Breakfast
96 St. Leonards Gate
Lancaster LA1 1NN
01524 841 041

by Henrietta Crumpet

Not long ago I took time out from my very busy and important life teaching homeless people to train cats to stand on their shoulders and experienced a Wedding Weekend consisting of two expressions of conjugal bliss at opposite ends of the country. Now before you ask, dear reader, if either of these were mine, I ask you to consider your positions on bigamy and Mormonism and let me know if you wouldn’t mind sharing your nether regions with a partner who shares their nether regions.

I am, of course, still unmarried.

These celebrations, being as they were in Lancaster and Dorset - the north preceding the south by twenty four hours - required myself and my erstwhile companion to travel at an un-holy hour of the morning after the one in order to get to the other. Not being familiar with all Lancaster has to offer I popped along to the Internet and had a little browse. Choosing a small, unassuming place with some marvellous reviews, I rang to book a night there. Sally, who was to be our attentive host, rang me back with a rather worried tone to her voice ‘You left a message saying you were booking because you had read all of our nice reviews, well, Fred and I don’t want you to expect too much or think that it will be as nice as they say.’ With this endorsement ringing in our ears we promptly booked, and set off.

I offer you this preamble in order to impress upon you two things: the antisocial hour of our departure at 6am in order to get to Dorset for the second ceremonial coupling of the weekend, and the demeanour of our hostess. I had already explained that despite a penchant for breakfast and a particular fondness for the B & B buffet option, I was expecting to have to forgo this pleasure in order to stumble groggily onto a train on time. Our hostess was horrified. ‘We’ll leave you a bit of Continental out,’ She said, ‘Is 5.45 alright?’ ‘Lovely,’ I said, ‘perfectly wondrous.’ Five minutes later she was back. ‘So how would you like your eggs? Scrambled, fried or boiled?’ There was a slight pause. ‘We can’t send you off without a cooked breakfast now can we?’

And so, very tired and a little worse for wear the next day we rolled ourselves into the living room for a full cooked breakfast. Sally and Fred were up, already unfeasibly cheerful, and had laid out for us everything they could possibly think of that could be called Breakfast. There were cereals in mini boxes, bowls of fruit, cheese and ham, small, pleasingly squidgy packets of butter and tiny jars of jam. Tea and coffee were proffered alongside glasses of orange juice and just as I was about to start panicking that this was too much too early and I was therefore probably still asleep and about to miss my train, turn up late to the second wedding, crash into the bride on my way in causing her to fall and chip a tooth and thus ruin the whole day, the cooked breakfast arrived.

I cannot in all honesty proclaim this as the best breakfast I have ever had. The beans were slightly too runny for my liking and the tomato sliced to such a thickness that the lovely goo on the outside does not permeate its raw interior, but the bacon was meaty and flavoursome and the eggs cooked to perfection – yolk that cascades over the shiny surface of your knife but has started to cook just a few millimetres from the white, leaving you in no doubt that the milky exterior will be fit for consumption. It was a breakfast of kings at a time when the royal head is definitely ordinarily still nuzzling into its well-fluffed pillow. If you ever find yourself in Lancaster, I can think of no better place for breakfast after bed, but don’t tell Sally and Fred I sent you, it will only make them worry.


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