“When there is absolutely nothing in the house, take a brace of pheasants, a pint of thick cream….” was the gist of Mrs.Beeton’s advice: admittedly this sensible advice related to the arrival of unexpected guests and here was I using her wise words to satisfy the arrival of an unexpected hunger pang. A quick glance around the kitchen confirmed the absence of both pheasant and thick cream: the latter, beloved of Mrs.B and essential to many of her light snacks, is pretty well absent throughout the Hexagon. Out of game and cream, I settled for a tin of old fish, which have been a very reliable standby for hungry folk since the process of sealing things, primarily fish, in tins was perfected on this coast some 150 years ago The Vintage sardines (2005 was a good year for fish ), that I had chosen, had lain headless to tailless, in a bath of olive oil, patiently awaiting the glint of daylight that would herald the moment of their purpose. They did not disappoint. Cometh the moment, cometh the sardine.