In a departure from normal, this week I would like to tell you a story that has been enthralling and enrapturing audiences for 15+ years. It’s a true story about an evening meal / late night snack. However, to fully understand it you need to know something about the hero(?) Terry, and you also need to understand the general concept of a Bernard Matthews Turkey Roast.
(at this point I can almost see both Cpt. America* and The Divine Mr M* smile, for they were both there the morning after the night before and know what’s coming)
Second thing first – the Turkey Roast. The best way to describe this is a cylinder of turkey, processed to within an inch of its life so it (a) probably contains less meat than a Big Mac, and (b) has more salt than a mine in a Soviet Gulag. It’s then wrapped in industrial strength plastic and deep frozen ready for cooking. The only way to cook one of these beauties (or should I say booties) is to thaw it overnight, place it in a shallow dish with some water and pop it in an oven at gas mark 4 for about 30 minutes.
The result should look something like this:
Now, moving on to Terry. Like everyone in this blog (with the exception of Lucy) the names have been changed to protect, in this case, the definitely guilty. Some people are harder to rename than others, not so Terry. He is named after this character from Viz. Terry was my manager when I worked for an internet bank in the late 1990s (this is a different bank from the Official Bank of the Nazi Party referred to last week – what can I say, I’m just a bank whore). As a senior manager Terry was well paid, but less well respected.
To give you an idea of the character of the man, he once went for a job paying £50,000 per year. While that’s a bloody good salary now, back then it was an amazing pay packet. Now Terry always attended interviews dressed how he attended work – on the principle that that way what you saw was what you got. This meant he was unshaven, smelling of stale beer and cigarettes; wearing a unironed shirt with the greasy remains of his McDonalds breakfast down it, and no tie. The only thing to say in Terry’s favour is that he could talk the talk. This resulted in him actually being offered the job during the interview itself – a rare thing to happen even then.
Terry said he could only accept the role at a salary of £52,000. When asked why, his answer was that “it’s £1,000 per week”. When the interviewer had recovered from the sheer incredulity of someone making such a shit-for-brains demand, it was explained that the job paid £50,000, take it or leave it. With that, and without saying another word, Terry got up and went home.
The bank had a heavy drinking culture, of which Terry was a major part. The Divine Mr M, who then and now lives out in the sticks where no sod goes, once went on a night out with Terry, on the promise that he could stay in Terry’s spare bed, and therefore didn’t have to drive home. Stupidly, as Terry was also his boss, he agreed. About 3am the next morning, after copious amounts of cooking lager and avoiding having seven shades of shit kicked out of them by the boyfriends of the girls Terry had been sexually inappropriate to, the taxi deposited them at Chez Terry. It was at that point that TDMM discovered that his bed for the night was a knackered two-bed settee in the garage with a beach towel, one covered in dubious stains and decidedly crusty, as a blanket. You should now, hopefully, have the measure of the man.
This particular story also starts with a night’s drinking, except Terry’s companion of choice was one of the phone Grunts. This particular Grunt’s father also worked at the bank, and was one of the few people senior to Terry. This, to Terry, was a networking opportunity not to be missed. Fast forward a few hours and after the copious amounts of cooking lager etc., Terry decided that Grunt was of insufficient significance to warrant a night on his spare settee. So Terry bullied Grunt into them stopping at Grunt’s place, pouring honey into his ear with promises of not waking up his Mom and Dad, and of being gone well before the cock crowed. Personally I blame Grunt – he’d worked with Terry long enough to know better.
At some point in what was left of the small hours a naked Terry wakes up on Grunt’s parent’s sofa (they were too posh to have a settee) with the beer munchies. I mean severe beer munchies … the sort of munchies that makes a kebab from a street vendor seem like a good idea. After blindly groping his way into the kitchen and rummaging through the available offerings, Terry settled on a Bernard Matthews Turkey Roast and a side order of onion rings as being just the thing to dull the hunger pangs. In a creative style akin to a four star Michelin chef, Terry carefully placed a shallow baking tray on the hob. To this he added the aforementioned, but still frozen, Turkey Roast, divested of its outer wrapper but not the plastic inner wrapper, half a pound of finest lard and turned all four gas burners on full.
Now to the onion rings. Clearly the only way to cook frozen onion rings was to empty the entire pack into the toaster, give it a quick bang to make sure they’re all in there right, and turn it on. Even in his semi-drunken state Terry was well aware that his meal would take a bit of time to cook, so he then settled down in the corner for a quick kip. He was awoken some time later by the dull but persistent sound of multiple smoke alarms screaming their urgent message.
The hob had a decent fire going. Not enough to invite your friends around to celebrate Burn a Catholic Day (or Guy Fawkes night as it’s sometimes called), but certainly enough that, if properly contained in a brazier, could sustain a medium-sized picket line throughout most of the 70s. However the fire was quite difficult to see through the thick black smoke emanating from the toaster.
A light switched on in the dark recesses of what passed for Terry’s mind – my onion rings are ready!!!
Imagine if you will the scene from a different angle. You’re a small middle-aged woman in a flannelette nighty whose just been woken up by your smoke alarm. You can smell burning and, while your husband is phoning the fire brigade, you go make you way downstairs, through the choking smoke, into the post-apocalyptic nightmare that used to be your kitchen.
You’re sure you can hear the last strains of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries and the distant sounds of retreating helicopters because your cooker has clearly been napalmed. And then you find a strange bear of a man, stark-bollock naked, attacking your toaster with a fork. He turns and utters those immortal words that will haunt you for the remainder of your days … “You got any crisps?”
Footnote: It’s almost an anti-climax that Terry saw that he had no need to apologise. However, even he realised that he may have blotted his copybook, and gaining promotion at work may be more difficult in future. So he did what any man would do – he gave Grunt £10 and told him to go and buy his Mom a new toaster from Argos.
Terry is now a plumber.
This blog is not a spontaneous outpouring, it’s considered and written well ahead of my self-imposed publishing deadline (after all, those of you who read last weeks blog will know I’m a ‘professional writer’). However, it seems I’m definately en mode this week after waking up today and seeing this article and video on the Huffington Post.
Finally, I’m sort of cheating on today’s Daily Post. The subject was a time when you used something in an unorthodox way. I didn’t but, as you now know if you’ve got this far, Terry did.
*see Cast List