When to Leave Alone

Ah, the Rugby World Cup final is on TV.

I have not one jot of interest in rugby – never played it, never watched it, never followed it.

But I remember the last time England won the World Cup. Commentators tell me it was 2003. I think. I wasn’t really listening.

I remember it then because we had gone out for breakfast in Salisbury. Saturday morning, yet all was dead. We wondered why, but weren’t complaining. At the final whistle, ecstatic rugby fans started to appear on the streets.

We’d gone for breakfast to David Brown’s. David Brown – we knew the guy slightly – was a butcher in Salisbury. He opened a café over his shop, which did nothing more than to sell the food, cooked, that he sourced from downstairs.

What an advert! This was really top-quality food, local sausages and bacon. Come lunchtime, roast beef baguettes were the specialty. To have sufficient confidence in your food that someone can just eat it in your café. If someone happens to try something in the café, and wants to take some home, it was a simple trip downstairs. I’ve often thought that supermarkets miss a trick here – they should have sufficient confidence in the quality of what they serve in their cafés that they should say exactly what it is so that people can later go down the aisle and put some in their cart. I don’t see that cost even comes into it, because if you sell a cooked breakfast, there is easily a 10x markup of the cost of the raw ingredients in any case. And if you’re also inducing people to then go and put your food in their cart, you have a double whammy.

So yes, David Brown’s. Best breakfast in Salisbury. When he finally retired, he sold the butcher’s, I suspect for a hefty premium, and started a catering business, providing the exact same food, just as something to keep him busy. Last I heard, the business had gone from strength to strength, and he was busier than ever. The guy who bought the butcher’s? Well, he tweaked the menu, he changed what he served and I guess he changed where he got it from, we didn’t like it as much, so we stopped going. He changed the name (if I were David Brown, I’d have probably insisted on it), so the original name is known only to old farts like me.

It’s funny. I hardly eat meat any more, but that was never because I don’t like it. And we live in a rural area, so it is no surprise that we can buy top-notch ingredients locally, if we know where to look. And so just a regular, small butcher’s shop could surpass any supermarket you care to mention.

Alas, I doubt there’ll be many ecstatic faces today – unless they happen to be South African 🏈 😪 🥓 😋.


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