The mystery of the bad smell (and a spot of Shakespeare)…

I HAVE just returned from hearing about crime fiction all day to discover a most appalling domestic mystery.

The house is empty, apart from a bad smell in the kitchen. As the room is small, we keep the bin outside the door. It’s a big bin and sometimes sits in the sunshine.

This arrangement seems to be the likely suspect. I empty the bin and replace the black bag.

Next morning, the smell is still there. I remove the black bag, wash out the bin, as bits of food sometimes fall to the bottom, splash on a bit of bleach and put the bag back. Job done, and thanks for the applause.

Later, my wife is doing brunch before we head off to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the temporary theatre in York. She has conjured up a spicy tomato sauce. The plan then is to drop eggs into the mixture for a Mexican-style breakfast.

As the first egg goes in, she worries about the smell and scrapes everything away from the pan. The next egg goes into a glass first, and that looks odd and smells off, too. One of the eggs is cracked across the top.

I bought these eggs on Thursday at the shop where my wife works. There are always good eggs, big, fresh and brown. What’s gone wrong?

It is then that we spot the flaw in our domestic arrangements. The eggs are kept in a china hen on the windowsill. In this crazy weather, they have cooked inside their home, heated by the constant sunshine.

It’s always been a fine place to keep eggs before, but not now.

We eat the now egg-free breakfast, hoping for nothing amiss, and escape without unfortunate consequences.

All this has left me wondering where you should keep eggs. According to the Good House keeping website, they should be kept in the fridge, but not in those egg-shaped slots in the door, as the temperatures varies too much in that part of the fridge. Not so much as inside a china hen on a hot windowsill, but there you go.

I’d always thought eggs shouldn’t be kept in the fridge, and now I’m not so sure, although we do have an attractive home for them.

Anyway, the hen has been thoroughly washed and moved to a dresser in a cooler part of the house. The eggs should be fine there.

The appalling smell has gone so the accidentally coddled eggs were to blame, not the bin, although the bin has been moved away from the door.

This incident leaves me thinking about the thin line between nutritious food and something so vile it would make you ill. Meat, fish and eggs are all only a short step away from being horribly off, while cheese takes its time, unless you’re talking about brie or camembert on a hot day, when the process occurs before your eyes (and nose).

None of this puts me off eating any of these foods or risks turning me vegan, as the prospect of ‘munching’ on a mouldy carrot is just as intestinally off-putting.

To call someone a ‘bad egg’ is to use an old-fashioned expression that implies they are not a very nice person. When applied to an egg that’s gone off, it is just the word you need. And believe me, the smell is awful.

Now to the theatre. The pop-up Shakespeare theatre has popped in the awful car park that insults Clifford’s Tower.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, should you be reading this in York, is very good, by the way. The production has a spot of gender fluidity in the roles of Titania and Oberon, with the male and female roles being swapped by the spell, and the comic business with the mechanicals at the end is properly funny.

Tickets are expensive, but it’s worth going, and we fancy returning for Macbeth if we can rustle up the readies. As for those eggs, what’s done, is done – as Lady Macbeth puts it. Where she kept her eggs is unknown.

Leave a Reply