The siren-song of the van life calls out to me, like an English breakfast with a Yorkshire pudding | Jack Marshall's column

If it would please the court, two factual statements. First: the humble English breakfast is a supreme creation. And second: Yorkshire puddings with gravy are as well.

By Jack Marshall, Reporter
Monday, 16th August 2021, 4:55 am
Photographic evidence of peak British culinary achievement
Photographic evidence of peak British culinary achievement

Not to get all fairy godmother, but put them together and what have you got? Answer: a seriously cracking breakfast concept courtesy of Toby Carvery. And yes, you read that right - an English breakfast with a gravy-filled Yorkshire pudding sitting grandly in its midst.

Despite these two foods occupying truly world class-tier rankings in the British league table of good scran, the concept of matching them up had never occurred to me until something very particular happened to me. I became a van man.

Granted, my status as a newly-minted van man was temporary in the sense that I only became one for a lone day to help my brother move house. I barely even had time to decorate my dashboard with the greasy detritus from a dozen McDonalds orders and a novelty number plate.

But a van man I was, nonetheless. And, with great van man power comes great van man responsibility: namely, saying ‘yes’ to the kindly server when he gruffly asks you whether you’d like a gravy-soaked Yorkshire pudding with your English breakfast.

In the restaurant, gaggles of other van men sat about, eating their breakfasts and Yorkshires in stern silence. Being a van man means proper work which means a proper breakfast which means Toby Carvery for the English breakfast and a Yorkshire.

It’s becoming harder and harder not to find the van lifestyle appealing. A friend of mine from cricket, perhaps 20 years older than me, recently asked how old I was and, when he found out, said I was reaching an age where I’d do one of two things: get married or get a van.

My optimistic Google search history for VW Californias and Transporters suggests he was very right indeed.

I’ve had a taste of the van life and, like a Yorkshire pudding alongside my bacon and beans, it calls out to me. But not, I’ve realised, for the typical van man lifestyle. It’s for the wanderlust.

Van people can convert their vans into mini homes like those magnificently carefree people who have YouTube travel channels with names like ChloeAcrossBorders or StephenTravelz. They can wake up in the Outer Hebrides one morning and on a Cornish beach the next.

Who doesn’t want that? Here I am thinking the van life was about breakfast foods, when really, it’s about something far more nourishing. Which, admittedly, isn’t hard...