Queen’s hotdog and pie crust World Cup gives Sunderland plenty of food for thought

"And the hotdog in the middle is Geoff Hurst, ma'am." The Queen at the Diamond Jubilee Exhibition
"And the hotdog in the middle is Geoff Hurst, ma'am." The Queen at the Diamond Jubilee Exhibition
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THERE is nothing sums up the history of Sunderland more than a recreation of the 1966 World Cup final in hotdogs. Don’t believe me? Just ask the Queen.

Her Majesty was confronted with a bizarre soccer-based meat pie and hotdog-in-a-bun creation during her brief visit this week to the Diamond Jubilee Exhibition celebrating 60 years of her reign.

The Queen was taken on a surreal trip through a network of tents in the Port of Sunderland with each depicting a decade of life in the city. And the Echo was there to cover it.

Stirring stuff. Particularly the ’60s when the city played host to World Cup games before England went on to win the competition.

Bobby Moore famously lifting the Jules Rimet trophy aloft. Or in this case, the Jules Rimet bowl of oranges.

If I didn’t know any better I’d think the powers-that-be were messing with the Queen’s mind. She’s used to the red carpet treatment, but in Sunderland she was given the red lino treatment. I liked it though.

Honestly, instead of carpet, a long stretch of what looked for all the world like a strip of red linoleum led her from her yacht base to the Jubilee tents.

Well, we are in an age of austerity you know. Crikey, the Queen even had to slum in and borrow the boat for the trip.

As well as the lino and soccerized hotdogs, Her Majesty was entertained with a mock ’50s street party, an indoor airshow, a trip to the seaside and youngsters performing a slow-motion relay race representing the Olympic games!

She’ll not forget Sunderland in a hurry that’s for sure.

And she must also think we’re all food mad.

As well as the football-playing hotdogs (did I mention the hotdogs?), the ’70s tent featured housewives preparing food for her Silver Jubilee before moving into the ’80s and the birth of the Sunderland Airshow. And guess what they depicted ... families enjoying a picnic! Where was the Greggs tent?

Christina Berriman, 30, of Washington, was one of the actresses playing an airshow picnicker who got to speak to the Queen. Not surprisingly food was on Her Majesty’s mind.

“She asked if we were allowed to eat the food,” Christina told the Echo. “I said we were and were looking forward to it. It was very strange.”

Too true it was strange.

The Queen’s enquiry as to whether they were going to eat the food was not so stupid. I mean, given what she’d seen in the ’60s tent, if the sandwiches weren’t being eaten, they were just as likely to be playing inside right for England.

Like I say, she won’t forget Sunderland in a hurry.

CAT stuck up a tree? Don’t worry, you’re friendly BNP activists are only a phone call away.

They’ll have your moggy down in a jiffy. No questions asked.

Why? Because they’ve only got our animals’ welfare at heart.

Members and supporters of the controversial party were in Sunderland yesterday making a stand for bovines and sheep everywhere. They were protesting outside the Subway sandwich emporium over what they see as the barbaric slaughter of animals to produce halal meat.

“It’s got nothing to do with religion,” claimed a BNP representative.

Nah, perish the thought. It’s just a coincidence that the meat is produced for the benefit of Muslims.

These far right parties are always chipping in to help our four-legged friends. We had our rabbit spayed by Combat 18 just the other week, all part of the service apparently.

BNP leader Nick Griffin failed to turn up, which is a pity. I see him as an animal lover. I can picture him in a big chair stroking a cat (“No Mr Bond, I expect you to die,” he says, whatever that means).

I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that the BNP have not been so friendly in the past, but, hey, if they want a change of direction to channel their energies into animal welfare then leave them to it.

The welfare of wild bears is close to my heart, perhaps Mr Griffin and his cronies could take up that particular cause.

It will, of course, require Mr Griffin to relocate to the forests of Siberia but it’s a small price to pay. And I would ask him to be particularly watchful of those razor sharp bear traps. I mean, wouldn’t it be awful if he fell into one?