The Big Breakfast…
Just a moment ago over on Twitter the subject of breakfast came up…and I was reminded of a time when I was out on deployment in Italy in the 1990’s.
It’d be about 1995-6 and the RAF was providing air cover over the former Yugoslavia to stop the Serbs bombing, well, pretty much everyone in Bosnia and Kosovo. This basically meant that our aircraft went up onto a Combat Air Patrol over the sea near to the former Yugoslavia, ready to be vectored in by an AWACS should the Serbs ever decide to put any aircraft up. They occasionally did , but not very often. Anyway the RAF’s timeslot to provide a CAP (of two or sometimes four aircraft) was about 6am. But there was a 40 minute transit time to the CAP station, and with the faff that launching jets entails it meant that we were normally in work for an “early shift” at about 2am.
In this time we’d do the Before Flight (B/F) servicing, and check for faults. We’d prepare the aircraft for the aircrew and then we’d wait for them to arrive and carry out the “See Off” to litterally see the jets off to carry out their patrol.
By 6am, we’d be starving though. And the RAF had provided what they call a Feeder for us – basically a mess hall for us to use whilst at work. And in the mornings the Feeder staff – also RAF personnel – would put on a fantastic breakfast for us.
We were out there during the southern Italian winter in the moauntains around a place called Gioia Del Colle, which was quite high up and often got a good covering of snow. Spending 3-4 hours outside working on the aircraft in that sort of weather, and at that time of the morning made for us to be hungry bears…and I, being a bear with a small brain, but big appetite, used to enjoy having the breakfasts out there. In fact I have to say that the Breakfasts was the best thing about going to Gioia.
I have always enjoyed breakfast and the Feeder provided the opportunity to have a really good fast broken! I used to make up a big breakfast sandwich.
Firstly the Feeder made their own bread…so I would cut two thick doorsteps for the sandwich.
On the base I would get a couple of sausages and cut them open.
On the Sausages I would layer a slice (or two) of bacon.
Then I’d put a cheeky layer of fried mushrooms.
On the top of this would be a tasty RUNNY fried egg.
And to top it all off would be a spoonful of baked beans – and of course the final slice of bread.
And this would see me through to the late afternoon when we’d knocked off shift and driven back to our accommodation (about an hours journey away) where we’d take a trip to the local cafe to have a latte…and then either go to bed, or have a trip out somewhere to do a bit of shopping in the local town of Monopoli or a little further afield in Bari (where oddly there was a fantastic Chinese restaurant).
When I returned home I told my wife of the breakfasts that we’d had – and she’d rightly refused to make anything like it…but now…
Now I’m divorced, I live in the Mess. And each morning I go down to the Dining Hall for my breakfast…I have a bowl of cereal – some Fruit and Fibre with a few Crunchy Nut Cornflakes on the top.
All very healthy. But you wouldn’t beleive the temptation to go through to the hot servery to try and re-create those belly buster breakfasts that I’d had out in Italy…it’d be so easy to go and pile up my plate.
Hmmmm, I wonder if I should treat myself, just tomorrow morning…I mean it wouldn’t hurt JUST the once…