Tuesday, 5 June 2007

How to Ruin a Sandwich

I work in a desert. Council buildings surrounded by blocks of flats.

Its saving grace is the oasis of the gardens opposite - recently relandscaped, given those hillocks with trees on and patches of planting that are signatures of modern municipal gardening. They've done lovely things with matching roses - bushes, shruby ones and flat growing antique ones, and droves of lillies.

Outside the room where I work is an alleyway that divides our building from the one stop shop with its roof that looks like it is made out of long strips of gaffer tape. There's a scratch of ground by the side door thats maybe 4 feet by 6 feet full of bark chippings and one dandelion, double yellow lines painted round three sides. Its in a suntrap but they haven't provided a bench.

Our building provides coke-vending and a filtered water machine. Ill served by fetid little shops that cater for the local alcoholics - lots of beer and cheap plonk, pink toilet rolls, biscuits, dried up cakes in celophane and baked beans. And filthy greasy spoons. The closest decent eatery is on Tower Bridge Road - a poncy cafe where a cappucino and small quiche with a frill of lettuce costs £6.50.

Usually I take a trip to the Hair Bakers (so named by people I work with from an incident long before I arrived and passed down in folklore to new colleagues - it took them 3 months to tell me) a couple of times a week. Normally a jacket potato with cheese. Today, a warm one good for sitting in the park, I choose a sandwich. Cheese and salad on a big white roll. All the ingredients were fresh - soft roll, crunchy iceberg lettuce, tomato. But somehow the sandwich was ruined. Something to do with the unimagination used in putting it together, made by a person lacking in tastebuds. Happy to eat bland. Served up something that promised much and delivered little.

Someone could od a roaring trade outside our building with one of those bicycle-drawn coffee shop like they have at Highbury and Islington station. Breakfast coffee and croissants and a decent lunchtime sandwich.

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