And Gutenberg Lived Here: Spam, Spam, and Spam.

Yesterday we here in Gutenberg Land got hit by thirty degrees Celsius.

That’s the high eighties, for those in Fahrenheit only countries.

And although it’s not really unusual here-

We’ve had high body temperature to raging fever range in July on occasion-

the gist of the problem is:

We’re one of those three days of snow per year but relatively cool all the rest of the time type areas.


hit the eighties, temperatures soar.

Bodies stop moving.

Or start twitching like waterless fish.

And then, as the cold drinks, salads and ice-cream run out:

The cars overheat,

And tempers flare,

Till the entire population of Gutenberg Land strips naked

and pushes their way into a chlorine-challenged

far too small

public swimming pool.

Or the children’s showings of Alvin and the Chipmunks,

(with a few clothes on: ie super short shorts, three-D glasses,

and white cotton knee socks with sandals,

the height of summer fashion here in Gutenberg Land)

because the multiplex movie house is cooled.

Or revs up the BBQ grills,

since then you can’t tell whether you are hot from the grills,

or the weather.

We, of course, were rather sure we could tell the difference.

So yesterday, we obtrusive and pig-headed types

who did our schooling in the California desert,

and wear sandals with thin jeans and no socks,

did, what for us, was the smart thing-

and also the only thing to do since the only edibles in the house were dried minestrone soup beans.

We went grocery shopping.

In the cooled produce department:

Masses of fruit, real vegetables.

All local,

since, although there is an actual strip mall in our area,

a sort of mini-Walmart,

Germans insist on local produce when attainable,

as part of the super-super-super strict ecology laws here.

And if you don’t believe me, try throwing away plastic without putting it in one of the several yellow recycling bins on the property.

So there we were,

leaving cherry-zucchini-eggplant  heaven,

headed for home,

self-brought reusable rucksack and grocery carriers in hand,

when we hit on an idea.


Dehydration rears its ugly head.

We will die in this desert before reaching home again-

All of two miles away.

So we headed to Subway-

yes, we have them here-

one of the few places that sells drinks that are non-alcoholic

bio-fruited water.

And, as we sat there,

sipping, and looking at the signs of how you have to order your sandwich,

in case you can still read in the massive heat,

we suddenly both started laughing.

Because we were both thinking,


as we sometimes do,

of the time,

just before greater London’s gorgeous Kew Gardens,

decided to put in a fancy tea room,

with pure bio oat, non-hydroginated oil, brown sugar only

uncooked cookie bars,

and a luncheon bar with free-ranging chickens

(does that mean they have a marathon badge?)

bio potato chips-

they call them that because they are actually made of beets,

or parsnips,

or carrots,

and we would get off the snail train,

walk down the then unelevated station pathway,

in great risk of life and limb,

and cross the multi-laned highway,

to out-manoeuver the lorry drivers

for a place in the queue,

to get a bap (bread roll)


spam and egg,

spam, egg, and beans,

spam, egg, chips and beans,

spam spam spam ham and spam.

None of which really surprised us.

I had lived as a child in Hawaii,

where the birthday cake is made with spam.


No, what surprised us then,

and for many joyful years after,

until they took down the sign,

was that there were well over 165 variations,

many of which were the same,

but in different order,

and all, without exception,

with different prices.

And the best thing,

was that the sign was hand-written.

In large letters.

In black crayon.

On a piece of cardboard as big as the front of the kiosk.

And, as I seem to remember,

the first time we were there,

we were so shocked,

we checked the list.

As the line moved around us,

until, in the end, almost everything was sold out,

and we took white tea

and what we could get.

Beans on a bap.

The next year, we started the bap surprise lottery:

calling out a number each,

as we reached the tiny kitchen turning out all that wonderment.

And I must admit,

that even though we never knew what we were getting,

and the laughter got louder each time we were there

and started correcting each other that we had surely eat number 162 with BP sauce before,

we never had anything that didn’t taste great.

(As opposed to free-range rucola on a bed of domesticated goat Stilton.)

I really miss the old kiosk thing.

Especially at 6 am

I wonder if that is where Monty Python got their idea for the song.

copyright 2016

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