This morning I decided to make some North Staffordshire oat cakes – a sort of oaty pancake, popular in … well, you do the math. This involved simultaneous pouring and stirring – always a challenge – so I asked Mrs McG to help me out. Being already arrayed in her finery, she did it at arm’s length, to avoid splashes. Seeing I was wearing one of my new jumpers, she said, ‘You should wear an apron’.
‘Ah, I said, no need, as I’m wearing my oatmeal jumper, exactly the same hue as the oatcake mixture. So the er, stains won’t be, ah, visible.’
She looked thoughtful for a moment or two.
‘Did you wear the jumper because you were making oatcakes, or did you make the oatcakes because you were wearing the jumper?’
It’s one of the great philosophical questions, and I’ve been pondering it ever since. I was stumped. I tried to retrace the steps of my reasoning, but things became muddled and confused. I was sure that one of the explanations was correct, but I was stuck, like the starving donkey, in between two equidistant carrots.