Farty's Fortunes

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Do You Want Flies With That?

Come lunchtime, I often sit down in the local caff with a nice cappuccino and a filled roll of some description, get out my little mowbli and browse my fave blogs while I munch. If you're doing the same right now, I recommend that you move along. This story is not for the squeamish.

Ok, that's got rid of those of a nervous disposition.

This story came to me, as it were, from the horse's mouth. Or, considering its origin, the springbok's mouth. Anyone who's been following this blog for more than a couple of weeks needs to get a life will know of my love for the Wild Coast of South Africa. And that, my friends, is where The Horror happened.

There's a little hotel, really small and unobtrusive, tucked away in a cove known as Morgan Bay. With great restraint, or perhaps just a lack of imagination, the owners named it, er, Morgan Bay Hotel. Back in the days before the local authorities found out about this jewel sitting on their doorstep and bulldozed a fuckoff great highway to replace the 100km of dirt track which once protected it from the riff-raff, it was a cosy wee place to get away from the hurly, and indeed the burly of urban living.

Except in August, that is. What with it being on the upside-down side of the planet, the sun goes the wrong way across the sky (Apos, this will confuse your subconscious Aussie mind when you come up to the top side - be warned) and the seasons are all A/T. When it's the height of summer in the civilised world, it's bitterly cold midwinter1 in Darkest Africa and all points south. So that's when they used to shut up shop and give the staff a month off for their own holidays.

Now this one year, the manager came back early. Perhaps it was a premonition, perhaps she just loved the place so much she couldn't bear to stay away. Like me. Any road up, the moment she arrived, she realised something was not quite as it should have been. Then it dawned on her that there was the faintest smell of something rotten.

A quick check confirmed her worst fears. There had been one of the many power cuts for which the country is famous, a circuit breaker had jumped in the hotel's junction box and when the power had come back on, well, it hadn't. And the fridge freezer2 had thawed.

Even in as small a hotel as this one, you'd be surprised at how large the walk-in fridge freezer2 is. They cater not only for the hotel's own guests, but for some of the locals and of course, the many hikers who frequent the well-trodden path above the shoreline to Kei Mouth in one direction and Double Mouth in the other. That's a lot of mouths to feed, so it's a fecking big fridge freezer2. Well-stocked, too. The fish may be fresh-caught by the chef, who is also a keen angler; the oysters are "pick-your-own" at low tide, but the beef, lamb, chicken and that are bought in bulk and frozen. Oh, dear.

So, taking a firm grip of her nose in one hand and the door handle in the other, she gave an almighty heave. And then gave an almighty heave.

The butter had melted first, forming a large, shallow puddle across the width of the floor before turning rancid. The vegetables were not so much green as mostly black. With white fur. And the meat was crawling with maggots. Need I go on? Let's just say it could have walked out under its own power. Oh, and did I mention the smell? And the flies, and - ok, I think you get the picture.

Now, do you think that's bad? It gets worse. Oh, yes. Much worse.

Once she'd got her stomach under control and called in some staff to help clear up the mess, hosed out the fridge freezer2, sprayed the place liberally with disinfectant and re-ordered the entire stock for the new season, she contacted the environment agency to see how best to dispose of the, um, leftovers. There was far too much to simply burn it, as the smoke would present a health hazard and the neighbours would, to coin a phrase, kick up a stink. Tossing it in the sea never even occurred to her - this is a beauty spot FFS. Which left burial.

As luck would have it, the hotel owns its own digger, so off they went to the local dump, dug a trench six feet deep as per environment agency standards and gave the sorry mess its last rites. Dumped the lot, covered it up with topsoil, ran the digger over it a few times to compact the dirt and went back to the hotel to prepare for boarders. And that was the end of that. Or so they thought.

A couple of weeks later, one of the staff went up to the dump with the rubbish. The sight that met his eyes...I wish I had a photo to show you. Then again, maybe not.

The less discerning members of the local community had observed the entire episode above and, not to put too fine a point on it, decided "waste not, want not". They'd exhumed the corpus delicti, (possibly) cleaned it, cooked it and scoffed the lot. I don't know what their stomachs are lined with, but it must be stronger than cast iron. Not so much as an upset tummy.

And I've just thought of a suitable title for this post3.

1 In India, "cold weather" is merely a conventional phrase and has come into use through the necessity of having some way to distinguish between weather which will melt a brass door-knob and weather which will only make it mushy. --Mark Twain

2 I am a numpty. It's a walk-in freezer, not a fridge. I've seen it. Definitely a freezer. They keep ice-cream in there. For the Dom Pedros.

3 This post was originally titled "Do You Want Fries With That?", but I had a flash of inspiration and changed it. I'm allowed, it's my blog.


apositivepessimist said...

cheers fer the warning...thankfully I'm pretty adaptable...kinda.

oh arhaaha. duuude. glad I wasn't in their neighbourhood mighta been invited fer tea.

but it does make you wonder what they eat normally, if this didn't cause any sickness.

and pssst...ookay I'm hoping that I have ignored you and yer "tag" enough that you have forgotten about it...hee ;)

SpanishGoth said...

I guess they put it in a curry then - can't taste it and green poo is expected anyway.

Interesting part though is the maggots. The freezer is effectively sealed and therefore the flies eggs must have been pre-existing on/in the meat.....now there's a thought

Timbo said...

That's so lovely. I'm glad I'd finished my lunch by the time I'd read that.

Drama Queen said...

Why did they stock the fridge knowing they would shut down for a month? And even with a fridge in working order meat and veg won't keep for a month. School boy error. And yes I feel sick.

Mr Farty said...

Apos - I kinda guessed you'd ignore the tag, I'm not keen on tagging so I picked the people most likely to give it a miss.

SG - Are you a Spike Milligan fan? "Putitinthecurry."

Hmm, maggots, yes I wondered about that too. I hope they've changed their butcher.

Timbo - You're welcome.

DQ - OK, I am a numpty. I knew what I meant, but my fingers didn't. Post amended.

And I've changed the title before my brain shut down again. Others I considered were:
- There is such a thing as a free lunch.
- Compliments to the chef.

Cat said...

Yikes. My dinner's looking less appetising by the minute. Thanks for that.

Mr Farty said...

Cat - What can I say? You were warned.

Mr. X said...

I wish the Goth hadn't pointed the bit about the maggots out.

That steak in the freezer is looking quite a bit less appetizing now...

Wicked Storm said...

Loud Burp! Awww yes now I feel better.

Mr Farty said...

Mr X - What? It's all protein.

Storm - As my blog name says, better oot than in!

LJ said...

Ewwww. You and Mr. X's eyeballs. Ewwww.
It's a compliment, actually.
And the title is brilliant.

Brom said...

I'm juts trying to imagine the moment when she opened the freezer. I mean, could you really pull that handle... eeeek.

Great blog!!

Mr Farty said...

LJ - Why, thank you!

I think it was Mr X's eyeballs that set me off in the first place, and the title came to me in the shower, like all the best ideas. I should wash more often.

And welcome. Do come again.

Brom - Hello and ditto.

I still can't think of an Engine Ocean joke. Sorry.

Drama Queen said...

Oh I wasn't getting at you. I didn't realise you had made a mistake. I believed it was the fridge. . .