I've been to some posh places in my time. Poked my nose around some hi-falutin' gaffs.
The National Statuary Hall in Washington D.C. The Boboli Gardens in Florence. Abu Simbel in Southern Egypt.
But last Saturday, on a drive back from Coombe Abbey, I passed a building whose sheer majesty and triumphal ambience put all these other places to shame. A palace of ruby and gold wherein must surely reside ancient gods of high renown. It sent shivers down my spine as if a strange wind had blown across my face. Indeed the air seemed to thicken as if with the odour of some hot exotic oil.
Binley Mega Chippy.
42 years living in the Midlands and I never knew that such a thing existed on my doorstep.
I've frequented all kinds of chip shops in my time. High street chippys. Drive-thru burger and fry joints. Hell, we've even got a Pete's Plaice just up the road from my house - a chip shop seller who understands the importance of a well placed pun.
But I have never in my life been to a mega chippy.
As we drove past my hands scrubbed at the car window and I drooled in a manner reminiscent of that famous scene from Midnight Express when Billy tries insanely to paw at the breasts of his girlfriend, Susan, through a sheet of bullet-proof glass. Well. I don't actually know if it was bullet-proof but it was certainly pokey-proof despite Susan's best attempt to punch a couple of ten pence sized holes through the glass.
A mega chippy!
I'll say that again just in case the significance has past you by.
A mega chippy!
Surely the counter and the friers would be made of solid gold! Exotic fish would feature on the extensive menu - dolphin, killer whale, Daryl Hannah - all battered and served with a choice of Bar-B-Q or curry sauce! The chips would be the size of articulated lorries and gloriously cripsy on the outside whilst remaining soft and fluffy on the inside! The countertops would overspill with jars of pickled ostrich eggs and vats of mushy peas so green they must surely have melted emeralds into the mix! And the serving girls! The serving girls would be bouyant Atlantians replete with clamshell bras and silver tridents and voices that could drive a man to dash himself to death on the kebab grills!
Alas I will never know for sure.
We were in the middle lane in heavy traffic and my wife had no intention of stopping, cold hearted harridan that she is!
So we continued on our way along the Brandon Road, my wife ignoring my stangulated cries of new love lost, and Binley Mega Chippy seemed to shrink before my eyes until it was nothing more than a faint pinkish blush on the horizon.
But I know where it is now. Google has furnished me with the map reference. X marks the spot. By accident I have stumbled upon a town that Kings and Queens would give their eye teeth to live in. A place of class and culture. A place where important people live. Big people. People who have "made it" big and like to have it large.
All hail Binley Mega Chippy!
The Olympian chip shop of the gods!