Magazine article The Spectator

Scrambled Eggs

Magazine article The Spectator

Scrambled Eggs

Article excerpt

I don't mind rude letters, really I don't. I don't mind much, actually, which probably illustrates a fatal weakness in my character. But I do mind having eggs thrown at me. There I was opening my front door the other evening and, wham, splat, an egg was hurled in my direction. With unusual dexterity, I leapt to one side and the egg hit the door before squelching to the ground in a trail of yoke and shards. Then the culprit tailed it. But not before a noise like a gun going off shattered the now still darkness.

I bent down and examined the egg. Indignation rose in my breast. It wasn't even free-range. Let alone organic. It was one of those battery-hen-laid-salmonella-infested eggs people buy for 20p a carton. If you are going to be hit by an egg, it ought at least to be a trifle more upmarket. Then I began to wonder who might have thrown it and why. Was it articles I had written supporting hunting and the right to wear fur? Surely not. An animal rights activist wouldn't throw an egg -that would be murdering an unborn chicken. And there are so many Jewish ladies with minks around here that it would take at least 200 cartons to do much damage.

So I went back inside and started watching the news. Half an hour later the doorbell rang again. I debated whether to open it wearing a gas mask. A second thought had occurred to me. Perhaps bin Laden supporters were now using chemical egg warfare. I kept the chain on the door and peered out. Oddly, when people ring your doorbell they usually say who they are or make some sort of verbal noise. But there was silence. Then I saw two small persons dressed in black, crouching. Suddenly I remembered. It was Hallowe'en.

'I've got some chocolate upstairs,' I said brightly, in my best Mary Poppins tone. One of them replied rather aggressively, 'We don't want chocolate. We want money.' 'Will a pound do?' I asked nervously. The children were suddenly looking rather large. 'No,' said the other. It looked as if it wanted at least £5,000. It drew itself up to its full height. It was about six foot. I slammed the door. The 'children' started banging and hammering on it. 'Bugger off or I'll call the police,' I yelled.

So this is what Hallowe'en has come to. Where were the delighted little faces of six-and seven-year-olds, thrilled with half a stale Mars bar or some Smarties? Where were the cute little girls in witches' hats like Tootie in Meet Me in St Louis, who could jerk the tears from Caligula's eyes? The anxious and embarrassed parents apologising for disturbing your evening vegetation? …

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