For years and years now, I start every day with good coffee and two slices of toast. In more recent times I have gone for wholemeal sourdough bread, to support our local bakery.
The first slice is buttered only — I can’t bear to have anything else on it. The second slice I allow myself marmalade with the butter.
It’s a legacy thing. My father spent most of his life worrying about money. Every now and again he would insist on the entire household having an economy drive. The immersion, of course, was a constant preoccupation, as were the lights left on in bedrooms. But the saving on jams and marmalades was, I think, unique to him. I don’t know where he got that idea.
But I’m guessing that I was about 10 when he announced that from now on, you could only have jam on your second slice of bread at teatime. And, for whatever reason, it stuck with me to the point where I still can’t have anything on the first slice. After all, he would remind us…