back to article Scotch eggs ascend to the 'substantial meal' pantheon as means to pop to pub for a pint during pernicious pandemic

Ideally, government regulations should not be open to interpretation, but the UK's wishy-washy response to the coronavirus pandemic has only left people scratching their heads – or, worse, thinking of ways they can bend the rules. Is it 2m social distancing, or 1.5? Is it stay at home, save lives, protect the NHS, or hands, …

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  1. Chris G Silver badge

    It's all bollocks

    If you ate seventeen packets of cheese and onion crisps or a dozen packs of peanuts, I defy anyone to deny that is not a substantial meal.

    The cops ought to be embarrassed at even attempting to police such unclear and undefined regulations.

    All I can say, is thank his noodlyness FSM that I live in Spain and have no such problems.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all bollocks

      But they love it. More and more laws to bully the public with.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: It's all bollocks

        It depends very much on the force/Chief Constable. Some have been very unhappy about this from Lockdown 1.0. It stems from the fact that we have a government that doesn't do detail, doesn't think things through. Right from the start policy has been chasing events instead of trying to get in front of them. I see they're now getting round to the idea that contact tracing should lead to testing and that the app should be able to provide payments for those it tells to isolate just like the manual tracing. And - who knows - they might even get round to deciding whether or not vaccination certificates will be issued.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's all bollocks

          "It stems from the fact that we have a government that doesn't do detail, doesn't think things through."

          I would disagree - why should we have to have a government "standard" for the size of a substantive meal when the variance in the population suggests any answer will be wrong. It's about a media and public that are used to looking for loopholes so they don't have to follow simple guidelines.

          We have a proportion of the population that are prepared to believe that COVID-19 is a government conspiracy while at the same time we have local/central bureaucracy and political parties that struggle to organise a piss up in a brewery before it goes out of business due to lock downs...

          And a media that are happy to ask the unanswerable questions to ensure that poorly considered options are considered as valid so that the spiral into stupidity continues.

          The failures in lockdown 1 were largely down to the government failing to react quickly enough. Post-lockdown 1 and into Lockdown 2 (and likely 3) has been about petty issues around whether it is "fair" that one city has to lockdown while another doesn't and the populations of both ignoring the guidelines that would help control the virus while blaming everyone else for their own lack of responsibility.

          And as we have these arguments, people die and the NHS is expected to cope with the results of the larger proportion of the populations stupidity.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's all bollocks

            If I could, I would upvote you many, many more than the allowed 1.

            <rant>

            We're in a pandemic. The evidence of hundreds people dying every day of this virus, is plain to see in the hospitals. Yet, there is a significant number of self-entitled idiots who don't want to do the right thing, to protect everyone else and save lives. Apparently, their personal expectations override any thought of someone else. Mainstream and social media has made narcissists of the many, reducing simple things like common sense and societal responsibility, to the remit of those old enough to care.

            </rant>

            I wonder if the creators of this virus might consider a variant which only killed those below a certain IQ? Contentious - yes, viable - unlikely but desirable ?

            1. CrazyOldCatMan

              Re: It's all bollocks

              virus might consider a variant which only killed those below a certain IQ?

              IQ isn't the determinant - tp put it into RPG terms, the problem is a lack pf WIS, not INT. Or, in RL terms, the determinant is selfishness and "me first" (AKA Chaotic Neutral). All of which are pretty prevalent in all levels of IQ.

              1. MarkTriumphant

                Re: It's all bollocks

                Surely "Me first" is Neutral Evil?

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: It's all bollocks

            I'm not sure what you're disagreeing about. Just about everything you go on to say is an example of the government not thinking things through. Take, for instance this:

            "The failures in lockdown 1 were largely down to the government failing to react quickly enough."

            Which is part of the point I was making. They were at least a week late in starting - chasing after events.

            It went further. Those of us of a certain age were advised not to go out at all and arrange for food deliveries etc. Good luck with that, nobody bothered to tell the supermarkets and on that basis you could starve to death before getting a delivery data so we ended up with our daughter doing shopping for us for months.

            Good idea but (a) too late and (b) the detail was being left to somebody else.

            The current kerfuffle about substantive meals is another example: come out with a vague statement without thinking through so that the detail is left to others so that as you put it, people and media look for loopholes.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan

              Re: It's all bollocks

              Those of us of a certain age were advised not to go out at all and arrange for food deliveries

              I have the good 'fortune'[1] to be part of the vulnerable group and (eventually) managed to get priority delivery slots (and to be fair, it was a lot less hassle with Asda rather than Sainsbury [2]) so we at least managed to get food for us and the pets (within the limits of stock availability - bread flour? Don't have any mate..)

              [1] I'd rather not have to take immuno-supressants or diabetes medication but life is what it is. You can't change what's happened, only your response to it..

              [2] They consistently said no until I realised that I had to change my login to match the email address used with my Nectar card. After that, it worked fine.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: It's all bollocks

      Using Scotch Eggs as a guide, Rocky Mountain Oysters would count as a substantial meal

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testicle_(food)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's all bollocks

        Well the missus considers it a mouthful.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all bollocks

      I didn't know Spain was covid free.

    5. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
      Coat

      Thank his noodlyness...

      Divine intervention providing for drinks all round.

      Mine's the one with a substantial pot noodle in the pocket.

    6. Jason Bloomberg

      Re: It's all bollocks

      If you ate seventeen packets of cheese and onion crisps or a dozen packs of peanuts, I defy anyone to deny that is not a substantial meal.

      It's that 'more than one' which discounts a packet of crisps, bag of peanuts, scotch egg from being a substantial meal in its own right.

      A substantial meal to me is one which leaves a very hungry me full enough that I wouldn't want to - and couldn't - eat the same again in that one sitting.

      The other test is whether one would tell the waiter to fuck right off if it were served when a "substantial meal" had been ordered.

      But we all know this pretend confusion is really about subverting the lockdown restrictions.

  2. Dwarf Silver badge

    New products and opportunities

    Wasn't there a brewery somewhere that wanted to have drinks called "The usual" and "Something different" since many people go in and ask for a pint of the usual or say things like I'll try something different today.

    I'm also wondering how long it will be before they come down hard on "large portion sizes" due to COVID weight gains, blah, blah, risk NHS or something

    Perhaps one way around this is to have more eating challenge themed pubs that seem to be popular these days ?

    Just set the eating challenge duration to be "6 hours" or something.

    1. Mike 140
      Pint

      Re: New products and opportunities

      One of my local brewers has a (very popular) beer called "Swift One"

      1. 0laf Silver badge

        Re: New products and opportunities

        If you frequent your hostelry often enough "The Usual" is quite an acceptable term if you're on good terms with the bar staff.

        At one point in my past a mate and I went to the same pub at the same so often that we'd walk in and find our pints on the bar waiting for us.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: New products and opportunities

          Yep - when I was at polytechnic Damien, the barman at our local watering hole, could hear us coming down the stairs (students were expected to be in the cellar!) and have the right number of the right pints on the bar before we got there. He obviously had good hearing, because it wasn't always the same number or combination of people, and yet he never failed!

  3. Symon
    Trollface

    "has only left people scratching their heads"

    I don't believe this. I think most people understand the rules and the intent of the rules. As to whether the rules are rational and effective, that's another question, but there's plenty of information out there, and I think that the 'people scratching their heads' thing is something fabricated by people who don't agree with the regulations put in place.

    If a publican knows what type of meal she has to serve to a 16 year-old drinking a beer, then she knows what what rules apply in tier 2 for getting a drink.

    p.s. Hello from Cornwall, you disease ridden eastern bastards! That'll teach you to put the cream on first. ;-) ---->

    1. sandman
      Thumb Up

      Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

      Best ever comment on the leading controversy of the last 1,000 years!

      "p.s. Hello from Cornwall, you disease ridden eastern bastards! That'll teach you to put the cream on first. ;-) "

      1. The Count Is Dead
        FAIL

        Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

        Don't look now but Cornwall is in the south WEST. Hardly eastern bastards then are they?

        1. Zimmer
          FAIL

          Re: Don't Look now..

          Well, have another look now 'cause I think he wrote "..greetings FROM Cornwall.." addressing his neighbouring county to the East...

          Please see: https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2020/06/26/national_cream_tea_day/

        2. The Last Elephant

          Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

          Oh dear.

        3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

          Too funny , love the big "Fail" icon , oh the ironing.

          For when the comment is mysteriously "deleted by Author" it said:

          .

          Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

          Don't look now but Cornwall is in the south WEST. Hardly eastern bastards then are they?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

      "I think that the 'people scratching their heads' thing is something fabricated by people who don't agree with the regulations put in place."

      Precisely, the whole period of Covid has been characterized by people, especially in the media and politician acting in a "deliberately thick" manner so that they can pretend they don't understand the rules. As soon as the "substantial meal" issue was first raised with local lockdowns that a newsreporter question a spokesperson from the pub trade over it and the reply that the rule was copied directly from the rules allowing under 18s to eat meals in a bar and thus was perfectly understood by any publican who wanted to keep his licence seemed to take the interviewer by surprise.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

        This^

        We are supposed to be "in this together", "dunkirk spirit" etc!

        We're meant to be doing our bit without having to be legally required to, and forced with trunceans.

        We certainly arnt meant to be doing everything we can to "hack" the rules and find loopholes.

        Its our own health in the balance here isnt it?

        "oh , wait no its only the old people, fuck them"

        Some areas are on the verge of riots becasue the post lockdown tier restrictions are the same or worse than before lockdown2.

        "Well stop spreading the fucking disease around then you muppets"

        The governmet didnt come down there handing out diseased towels - YOU DID IT TO YOURSELVES, by bitching about rules ,not wearing your mask , anf going to the pub and huggin eachother , then saying

        "its ok , i ate a scothch egg"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

          "oh , wait no its only the old people, fuck them" No it isn't, my young relative, who is self isolating due to being immunologically challenged, was today put in extreme danger by the delivery driver from a well known supermarket chain, who said that he didn't care that several of his colleagues have been tested positive for Corona, and that he probably had it as well. Such people are super spreaders, and will infect the vulnerable customers whom their employer has vowed to protect. She is now in a state of mental anguish and has her front hall full of scattered groceries that she is too scared to touch in case she should catch the disease.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

            sorry,

            Comment = Replace(Comment,'old people','vulnerable people of all ages, i'm alright Jack')

          2. CrazyOldCatMan

            Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

            was today put in extreme danger by the delivery driver from a well known supermarket chain

            Which why my wife handles all the deliveries and everything (except cold stuff) goes into the dining room for quarentine and fridge/freezer stuff gets wiped down with detergent and rinsed. We then both wash our hands (I do the drying of fridge stuff).

            But for people on their own I can see how it's going to be a problem. I hope she gave the supermarket some feedback?

            (PS: None of the delivery drivers we've had have been a problem.. and they've all kept their distance.)

          3. Mooseman Silver badge

            Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

            "oh , wait no its only the old people, fuck them"

            This is almost verbatim what I was told by an acquaintance who was whining about a second lockdown, the tier system, etc etc, all because he couldn't go and sit in the pub and rant about foreigners as usual. It seems selfishness has been allowed to become the new normal. Dunkirk? This lot would have said "sod 'em, they shouldnt have lost" and gone back to the pub.

    3. ShabWeasel

      Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

      I think the fact that even the licensing teaching materials and examination never define what constitutes a 'substantial meal' doesn't really help much.

      A lot of the rules are based around 'reasonable' behaviour such as when you 'reasonably' think a person is drunk, meaning you aren't allowed to serve them any more. Technically anyone is 'drunk' after 2 drinks; not many landlords out there refusing to sell someone a third pint though....

      There's also some funny quirks that are generally ignored - quite a lot of places will happily serve Desperados beer/lager to a 16 year old with a meal, despite the fact that spirits such as tequila are absolutely not allowed to be served to under 18s even with food.

      With so much of the rule being up to the judgement of the landlord/barstaff I fully agree that clarification is needed, especially with the overall vagueness of new restrictions and the potential penalties for being wrong.

      1. cookieMonster

        Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

        RE: quite a lot of places will happily serve Desperados beer/lager to a 16 year old with a meal, despite the fact that spirits such as tequila are absolutely not allowed to be served to under 18s even with food.

        I think that muck only has “Tequila Flavor”, not the real juice.

        1. ShabWeasel

          Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

          It's bloody awful stuff, but it does contain 'actual' tequila IE: raw spirit as the regulations proscribe. It's a technicality, but still a potential issue.

          I'd just say that the contradictions in what does and doesn't 'officially' apply are just leaving the door open for abuse and/or giving undefined enforcement powers to petty officials.

          IMHO, the entire government's approach has been vague and useless - kind of like the government themselves lol

    4. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

      "I think most people understand the rules and the intent of the rules"

      That could be so, but even if it is, it's a bad basis for law. Henry VIII used the very same principle - being vague, then persecuting people who interpreted his edicts differently from the way he did.

      It took two revolutions and more than a century after them to stabilise English jurisprudence. Even if the result is not perfect, it's generally a damned sight less imperfect than "substantial meal".

      The big problem is that we've been suffering from another pandemic for a lot longer than covid. It's called woolly thinking.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

        When I saw this Scotch egg thing in the MSM a few days ago, I thought at the time that the MP was just being an idiot, and it was plain obvious a scotch egg isn't a meal. I even thought, that's getting silly now, too silly even for the register.

        I agree that people are being deliberately obtuse about these things to make a petty point. Really not helpful.

    5. CrazyOldCatMan

      Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

      Hello from Cornwall

      Kernow bys vikken!

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Happy

    Oi

    Just because I don't know what I'm talking 'bout doesn't mean you can question my authority! As Cartman said, "Are you questioning my Authorityy?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oi

      Authoritah, shirley?

      1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: Oi

        Indeed: "authorityy" is another character entirely, m'kay.

  5. SundogUK Silver badge

    Just drink Guinness. The fourth food group.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      According to New Scientist, you can get your recommended daily nutrients from just one pint of milk, one pint of orange juice and 36 pints of Guinness.

      Best check that there isn't a toilet paper shortage first, though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        one pint of milk, one pint of orange juice and 36 pints of Guinness

        Just add vodka to complete the cocktail recipe, and you'll have yourself a nice little 'Mudslide', but not in a good way....

    2. CrazyOldCatMan

      Just drink Guinness. The fourth food group

      Ew. Just ew.

      Now if it was cider.. that'd be an equine of a different hue..

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    My home made scotch eggs are a substantial meal.

    A goose egg (>3 chicken eggs) and 6 oz of minced pork.

    I like the idea that you have to leave the pub when you've finished your meal. I reckon my mines not finished until I've had a brandy and 27

    pints.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: My home made scotch eggs are a substantial meal.

      In Australia they were using at a time emu eggs.

      But then they lost the war...

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: My home made scotch eggs are a substantial meal.

      I'll have the Scotch egg...but just bring me the Scotch, and hold the egg.

  7. steven_t

    11pm and cornflakes

    The article says everyone should be out by 10. I'm fairly sure the new rule is 11, although they have to make their last orders by 10.

    The regulations themselves don't actually contain the phrase "substantial meal" and I reckon you can get away with serving cornflakes.

    The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 say that the meal must be "such as might be expected to be served as breakfast, the main midday or main evening meal, or as a main course at such a meal."

    They're here:

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1374/made

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: 11pm and cornflakes

      Excellent "such as might be expected to be served as breakfast,"

      Given my breakfast is normally a couple of slices of bread & a spread of some sort (be it jam. peanut butter, marmalade, whatever)

      So any sandwich or equivalent would count.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

        Re: 11pm and cornflakes

        "such as might be expected to be served as breakfast,"

        To a functioning alcoholic that phrase means a few beers or a generous quantity of spirit.

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