Saturday, 26 July 2008

Hurry with a flurry

It was one of those rare afternoons at work when everything had gone to pot.

After endless arrangements and contingency plans because we'd lose the computer network for a couple of hours during an upgrade, it all went wrong.

It was all down to the cabling guys. They hadn't turned up on the day everyone had planned but we were assured that our bigger, better system would be up and running by close of play on Friday.

I guessed it might not be. But party-poopery is not supposed to be in my nature. Of course it was nowhere near finished. And being a Friday meant that at precisely 2.35pm - with three hours and twenty-five minutes worth of work left for the rest of us (plus an extra half hour for the couple on late) these guys were loading ladders back on to the vans and buggering off for the weekend.

So it was an anti-climactic afternoon. We had achieved not much for maximum disruption and it was hot, with only a slight whiff of humid air circulating through wide-open windows.

The conversation turned to muck flurries. I didn't like to say anything but they sounded far too much like the slurry flurry that the local farmer slings all over the fields near me. It leaves a lingering stench for two days or more.

My colleagues assured me that muck flurries are absolutely the thing to eat when one gets bothered and hot, which we all were in a strictly anti-climactic sort of way.

There are chocolate ones, strawberry ones and cornetto-style mint-choc chip ones. Several of the girls were openly drooling at the muck-memories.

Muck flurries were available at Muck Donalds, I was told. Never having been in a McDonalds (let's at least get the spelling right) and not having a clue, I got some directions and went on a small journey of discovery.

I expected the place to be empty at 4pm on a warm Friday. But there were families indulging in chips and burgers and all manner of fried things accompanied by quantities of very small, narrow, dry-looking chips. Where I come from (Wales) the chips are invariably much more substantial and smell gorgeously of copious quantities of vinegar-soaked salt.

There was a United Nations atmosphere behind the counter where the temperature felt as though it was nudging 35 degrees or more. The guy who served me was very pleasant with a strong Far Eastern accent, possibly Korean, so I ended up indicating what I wanted by pointing to the large bright images on display, pointing and nodding with many reciprocating smiles.

He took a while to squirt out and decorate ten assorted flurries giving me plenty of time to take in the ambience. I was gratified to see that one can get an entire day's meals in McDonalds right through from your morning porridge and orange juice, to a light salad lunch before tucking into the seriously deep-fried delicacies on offer for later.

It's also a place where kids need much discipline which is handed out at ear-splitting volume by harassed-sounding mothers who have vocabularies of profane and obscene language far superior to mine - and mine is quite good, even though I say so myself.

Having taken delivery of several trays of ice-cold flurries, the next task was to get back to the office pronto. You've got to hurry with a flurry - especially in the kind of temperatures when they are most needed.

“Hey. They serve porridge in MacDonalds! I thought you'd all like jam with them,” I announced when I got back.

Everyone had been to McDonalds before. Everyone was very familiar with the set-up. I'd been there for the first time ever and was the only one to notice the porridge. How weird is that?

Anyway, there was a mass groan. They know I'm keen on soluble fibre and honestly thought I'd got them porridge.

But how sweet was the surprise when I revealed the flurries, and how touching the delight as they all turned into little kids again taking the plastic tops from their flurry cartons and extracting their weird squared off plastic flurry spoons complete with the hanger attachment.

Mine was strawberry. I was initially suspicious, still having the slurry flurry image in mind, but it tasted just like real strawberry - the kind you get in that excellent French jam. And the Italian-style ice-cream was still cold in the middle yet yielding and creamy around the edges. Yum.

All very surprising as I'd always refused to take my sons to McDonalds or darken its doors for reasons I've actually forgotten now but were probably vaguely to do with corporate world domination and not having proper china plates.

I'd lost my McDonalds virginity and, I reflected, slurping the quite delicious ice-cream, it had actually been worth it.

The other girls were in raptures.

“Better than an orgasm,” gasped one.

Hers must have been one of the chocolate flurries. No contest.