Whitechapel Mission

3.45am - its still dark as the first car leaves to travel to London - are we awake - the coversation is, to say the least, uninspiring!  At least the roads are not too busy but the intermittent rain makes the journey hard.  The occupants of the second car have a 'later' start - 4.45am as they had travelled to south London the previous afternoon,  We are all at Whitechapel by 5.30am

There are 3 or four unmoving bodies laying in doorways outside the building, but no time to chat - outer coats into the lockers, pinafore on and lets start - we need to be ready to serve by 7.

Billy has already put the ovens on and poured tomato, mushroom and beans into large saucepans, Barbara makes coffer or tea for everyone.  Light the hobs (never easy - which control is the back burner and which the front in each bank?)  Put 60 rashers of bacon into the tray and into the oven start the first pan of sausages - about 30 is the most in the pan otherwise you can't turn them.  Four loaves to be buttered and another 12 to be toasted - the toaster settings never seem to be quite right.

   Hash Browns (6 bags for now) to be deep fried and eggs (and more eggs!) and more sausages to be fried. Folk are arriving to use the washing facilities - hand out towels, soap, shampoo, razors, toothbrushes and paste, provide drinks for those who don't want tea direct from the urns.  Talk to them, hear about the fact that it has been a warmer night and that what rain there was, was not too heavy - fry more eggs.  Put the porrige on.  Try to keep on top of the things which need washing so that the work surfaces no not get cluttered.  Get out the bowls and cereals out

Are we ready ? - yes everything is in the serving trolly, the porrige is in the 'soup kettle' keeping warm, milk on the counter, the marmalade, honey and jam are to hand and we know who is to serve, who is taking the money, who is washing up (and drying) who is running around with cereals who will cook the extra (eggs, Hash Browns, mushroom, beans and more eggs!).  Hatch opened and we are in business.  A steady stream of 'customers' - much easier than when the weather is bad and all arrive at the same moment - some thankful - some  'fussy'.

 We've managed - provided over 200 breakfasts, kept on top of the need for "more eggs" - "one porrige" - "three weetabix" - "more plates" - "we're running out of cutlery" - "more eggs" - "more hash browns" - "more sausages" - "another tray of bacon please" - "who's walked off with the serving tongs?" - "more eggs" and at 11.30 set out to drive the 90 or so miles home having "done our bit" but of course someone else will do it tomorrow       .....      and the next day      .....      and the next     .....    and every day of the year     .....  because (regretfully) the need will be there