THE BURNING question persists into 2010. And we know what the answer will be. As I scan the guests’ breakfast choice sheet I cross my fingers that, just for once, no-one will have ticked the poached egg box. No such luck. Even when I (once) left it off the menu one night in October and put it instead under ‘lighter options’, there was a timid knock at the kitchen door. ‘Excuse me,’ said the paying guest ‘but would it be possible to have the poached egg with the full English?’

This morning it’s my turn to cook so when I wake at 7 I decide there’s only answer to the perennial problem: practice. After a few failed attempts I hit the jackpot and produce the perfect poached egg. Soft yolk, firm white and no frilly, waterlogged edges. Only problem – it’s two hours ahead of the guest. I quickly produce a slice of wholemeal buttered toast and surprise Ian with breakfast in bed as a new year treat.

Two hours later and I’m doing it for real while Ian does front-of-house.

“Of course there’s no guarantee she’ll want a soft yolk. I’ll ask,” he says.

Oh yes there is – and oh no, you won’t.


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