In London you can pick up the Sunday newspapers from about 10pm on a Saturday evening. However with the internet now you can read those same Sunday newspaper articles from about the same time on a Saturday from the comfort of your house out in the sticks. That's what I did yesterday. I logged onto the Daily Mail website and thought it was April Fool's Day. The headline that greeted me was "EU To Ban Selling Eggs By The Dozen". Here's the link - unbelievable - so you can tell that I'm not making this up.
So the EU (or the Evil Empire as I prefer to call it) is now telling shopkeepers and I assume also direct farm sellers that their eggs must now all be weighed and then sold by weight not by numbers. Do you know how much an egg weighs? Well no one in the Troy family did either, in fact Mrs Troy has never mastered non-Imperial weights at all. So I got out my precious metal digital weighing scales, changed Troy ounces (well they have to be named after someone!) to grams and put a medium sized egg on the scales. Ladies and Gentlemen, a medium sized egg weighs 65.4gm.
So how good is your mental arithmetic. Suppose you want to buy six eggs - what would you now ask for? In true Monty Python style your conversation may go...
You : "Good morning, dear shopkeeper, I'd like 392.4gm of eggs please".
Shopkeeper : "Sorry Sir [or Madam], this is a cheese shop".
For those not too adept at mental arithmetic what you have just done above is attempt to buy six eggs from a specialist cheese shop.
You probably think I'm being silly. You wouldn't ask for such an odd amount of weight down to one decimal point now would you? Instead the conversation would probably go something like this...
You : "Is this an egg shop?" [good, you're not getting caught twice]
Shopkeeper : "Yes Sir [or Madam], we sell only the finest eggs. Didn't you notice our Royal Warrant?. We sell eggs to the Prince Of Wales".
You : "Excellent! If they are good enough for Charles and Camilla, they are good enough for me! I'd like half a kilo of eggs please".
Shopkeeper : "No problem Sir [or Madam]...(counts) one, two, three, four, five, six, seven (pauses then mutters under his breath - "err, four hundred and fifty seven point eight grams"), "You did say half a kilo?"
You : "Oh yes please!"
Shopkeeper : (egg cracking sound) "And this (picks up part of shell containing some yolk and some egg white) makes its exactly half a kilo. I'll put the seven whole ones in a bag but you'll need to carry the broken one home carefully".
You : "That's fine, I've still got nearly half an egg back at home from the last time I purchased eggs, so this will just make up the eight eggs I need for my baking".
The European Union has come up plenty of stupid schemes in its time but this surely is one of the most ludicrous. Early this morning we took Troy Junior along to his Sunday morning cricket practice and I asked several of the parents there if they'd seen the article about eggs having to be sold by weight not by number. All, without exception, thought I was pulling their leg.
The English are an apathetic bunch who have let Johnnie European get away with 'murder' since we joined the Common Market. Maybe, just maybe, something as small as an egg could be the catalyst that gets us to wake up to the sheer stupidity as well as the total democratic deficit that is the EU. Perhaps we are 'happy' to borrow money then ship £8billion a year of it across to Brussels to build roads and bridges in Ireland and Greece but maybe (please!) we will finally revolt against the EU over buying eggs by weight and regain our freedom?
UPDATE - Wednesday 30th June. According to the BBC this was a false alarm by The Mail On Sunday although I think there has been some behind the scene pressure as initially an amendment to save the "selling by quantity" had been rejected. See this link