For a long time I used to go to bed early1, but now, Yay, wake up call!
The British Emporium2 finally opened a shop down in Richardson (six miles closer to Dallas than us and right next to the equally ethnic 'Fish and Fizz' fish and chip shop), so Georgia and I went to check it out after, of course, enjoying their neighbour's genuine, traditional British "cod and six-penn'orth o' chips" (allowing, that is, for the rate of exchange, inflation and the absence of British newspaper wrappings), and then, joy of joys, I got myself a genuine can of genuine Heinz baked beans just like Mum used to buy back in genuine old England— genuinely!
Well genuine that is, apart from the fact that they have now started spelling the 'Beans'3 part of the name with a Zee, or since these are English beans more accurately a Zed, Baked Beanz-ZZ, which just goes to show the power of advertising since their tag line in days gone by and at least since the late sixties was "beans means Heenz", or perhaps "bines mines Heinz" I never could decide which, and which slogan always set me singing
(a bit too left-wingedly if you don't mind me saying so) 'Oh the buzzing of the beans in the soup tureens / They're happy because they're within everyones means' as I consumed them; on toast, and preferably accompanied by poached "E for B".
And as I now recall "E for B" was how the British Egg Marketing Board blazoned its British Marketing of British Eggs for British Breakfasts with famous British personalities such as football star Georgie Best4 (who, as I just involuntarily remembered, was also famous for the anti-Manchester United song "Georgie Best, superstar, walks like a woman and he wear a bra" repeated ad nauseam) not that I would DREAM of [over: fade in repeats] repeating such a chant nowadays, but those were less sensitive, indeed more crass times especially amongst the more soccer hooliganish cohort of the [fade out] population.
Oh---and my extensive three-minute search of the Web revealed that it is only Genuine British-made, and packaged in Britain, Beans that are zedded. U. S. of A. export beans are retro; S-encrusted; lacking in terminal agreement; basically just has-been beans! What this tells us about our two nations I cannot say (without almost certainly being declared persona non grata in at least one of them).
And so in a sort of Proustian bargain if not quite an actual Faustian one; where the involuntary memory of une madeleine is equivalent to haricots blancs cuits au four à la sauce tomate (ou, aux États-Unis, "fèves au lard") and my response, rather than the vasty deeps of discursive, plotless novels in French (or even in English) about memory and separation and art and sex, is to... ... as it were... indeed... to decide to un-emigrate, or perhaps even to dis-emigrate.
Yes: I left the baked beans of my homeland nigh on waaay past forty year ago to 'go west young man' (was that really said by Horace Greeley??) and now, now it is time for me to 'go east old man' (and that really wasn't said by Greeley, honestly) following the siren call of those beanzzz over as they used to say the Whales Road, the Swans' Way (not that there are many swans found in the Atlantic, especially way up at 36,000 ft or, God help us, that many whales either) back, back to where it all began those many years ago.
Back to beany Britain; to fish and chips; to E for B; to end my days how (and pretty much where) they started.
Or maybe not, only time will tell...
Cheerio for now
1 That Du côté de chez Swann begins "Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure" is a mere coincidence.
2 British Emporium
3 I nearly said "spilling the Beans", but that would be a totally different essay!
4 British Egg Marketing Board E for B Commercial with Mr Best. As you can see from the link that chant was not as accurate as you might think.
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