Reader Mike Jennings, usually in exile in a pompous land, is sojourning in Dublin, from where he sends this splendid holiday snap. There is something infinitely pleasing about a sign lit by neon gas advertising that most toothsome of delicacies… gruel!


16 thoughts on “Gruel!

  1. Surely this is something Mr Key could turn to his own advantage? With careful work from various marketing or public relations pointy-heads, perhaps our Mr Key could become the Voice (or even the Face) of Gruel! Perhaps not being made the new face of L’Oreal was something of a blessing in disguise as a far better gig may have presented itself.

  2. Mr Smith : You may well be right. And if someone could harness L’Oreal’s light reflecting booster technology to the production of gruel, I think my destiny would be assured.

  3. Easily done! As with all engineering solutions the principle is simple.

    A hose connected to the village spigot would pipe brackish water directly into the big pot, saving all that faffing about with buckets. Since no system of rapid oat transit has yet been devised, handfuls of oats should be added to the pot by hand. Consumptive orphans from a nearby mercy home could be hired to work the pump, putting the last of their waning strength to good use while they await their release from this vale of tears.

    Because youths with the consumption should never be prevailed upon to handle foodstuffs, local simpletons could cast the oats into the pot. Provided they’re not suffering from the flux, of course.

    The actual light-reflecting booster technology would be used to apply the sun’s rays to the mixture of oats and water; obviously a sturdy light-reflecting booster technology harness would make sure the lenses and parabolic mirrors stay properly affixed to the big pot. Without the harness you mentioned, their light-reflecting and boosters could be misdirected, amplifying the orphans’ consumptiveness to the point of unserviceability. A recipe for disaster, I’m sure you’ll agree!

  4. Steal the glazed-brick decor that you see above, apply Phil Smith’s business method and Frank Key’s (completely non-carcinogenic) light boosting technology, provide paper cups and forty kinds of fair trade cereal sprinkles, and you have the “Hooting Yard® Sparkling Wholemeal Smoothy™” franchise.

  5. Mr. Smith,
    Rapid oat transit has been a reality for some time now.
    As seen in the Rank/Hovis processing plant at Birstwith.
    I believe it uses compressed air.

    O.S.M. B:52

  6. Mr Spaceman,

    I didn’t dare believe such marvels could exist in our leaden age! I fear I’d been labouring under the delusion that compressed-air-based rapid oat-delivery systems were potentially injurious, dispensing high-fibre flakey death from a device not unlike Colonel Moran’s air-rifle.

    Suffice to say I’m relieved that someone saw fit to turn such things to peaceful purposes.

  7. Although I fear the knock-on effect could be dire. Visions of bucolic productivity could give way to bands of local simpletons, dribbling no longer in glee at finding good work but rage at being suddenly left on the scrapheap by automated high-speed oats. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

  8. Mister Smith,

    The local simpletons will be bustling behind the stainless steel counters of my Hooting Yard® franchises, efficiently arranging Nepalese Millet Smoothy and Aerated Lettuce Water super-size combo meals on plastic trays. I don’t want any talk of unrest stuffing this up for me.

  9. The idea of a Hooting Yard® franchise both terrifies and fascinates me. Catering to the ascetic lunchtime crowd, perhaps?

    Still, it’d be good to be able to get gruel served Your Way™ even if that pretty much amounts to with added slops or without.

    The ambient music would have to be suitably mournful. Mr Outa_Spaceman, I think your talents could well be in demand here…

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