The lunching habits of office workers can be graded into several distinct types. The fastidious borderline OCD-type whose pens are lined up in serried ranks and who brings in delicious home-made sandwiches in a Tupperware box. This is Cat. Contrastingly, in her office is the slovenly boy who lives off Pot Noodles and whose desk is a maelstrom of discarded paper and crusty plates with a few random artefacts including a horsetail flyswat and a fez. Yesterday he brought in his pet rabbit – yet still there is no working pen. Others, despite never having met them, the cleaner knows intimately by the contents of their bins. Discarded crisp bags, coke cans and sweetie wrappers give clues about the occupants of the cube farm.
Working in the centre of Newport is a blessing and a curse as there are so many ways a desk jockey and their money are parted. Buying lunch can turn from an occasional treat to a daily fix; there are enough venues in town for a different lunch every day for a year. And for those who are particularly desk bound or when it’s too wet to venture outside, there’s the mobile snack bar.
There are several of these wagons hawking their bready wares around the Island’s industrial estates and offices. Some, including Mr T’s, require a pre-order. Others, like Mary’s Bun Run arrive with a honking fanfare.
Like Pavlov’s dogs or children conditioned to beg for change when they hear the tinkle of the ice cream van, Cat joined her colleagues streaming from the office as soon as they got the horn.
‘Mary’ is a jovial chap who, having exposed his wares, waited patiently for his hungry charges. His van was filled with sandwiches and wraps, home-made cheese scones, cakes, chocolate and cans of drink. For the more health conscious there was plenty of fruit. Cat chose a tasty-looking Brie, cranberry and rocket sandwich and a bowl of fruit salad. It cost her £3.60.
Having taken the last Brie sandwich, Cat wondered if the buntruck ever ran out of food. In answer to her casual interrogation the chap explained that there seemed to be no pattern to his customers’ eating habits or frequency. Some days it’s busy, others less so. ‘Mary’ continued to give each of his customers a little bit of chat; excellent personal service. One of Cat’s colleagues asked for a Twirl and he obliged by arcing his arms above his head and doing a little pirouette. The stunt that never gets old.
Back at her immaculate desk Cat examined her purchases. Like her usual packed lunch, this food was “handmade with pride on the Isle of Wight”. Assembled by Full Circle Deli, the sandwich was fresh and tasty, although it would have benefited from more cheese (which, incidentally, is the first line of Matt’s manifesto!). Curiously, the sandwich was only buttered on one side. This was not a criticism as The Cat doesn’t usually put spread on her bread anyway.
The fruit salad contained an impressively diverse range of freshly-prepared fruit, as follows: strawberry, apricot, kiwi, melon, pear, grape, pineapple and apple. It was lovely and, having eaten the fruit, she sucked down the juice taking care not to spill a drop.
Mary’s Bun Run is the nine-to-fiver’s friend, with its excellent range of freshly-prepared food at reasonable prices and with the ever-affable ‘Mary’ at the helm. If you’ve been too idle to make your nammit, pin your ears back for the sound of this well-stocked buffet car.