LESLEY KEATING: Fast food at services must be stopped in its tracks

On a recent family trip up north by car, I suddenly realised why kids tend to emit that age-old clarion call of '˜are we nearly there yet?'

Sunday, 2nd July 2017, 7:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:43 am
Motorway station food has really become the pits

To say that the journey was mind-numbingly boring was an understatement.

After the first couple of hours I had to resign myself to the reality of enduring hours and hours of grey, dismal M6 on a drizzly June day, with the only highlight being the anticipation of service station pit stops for what is laughably described as ‘food’.

Crikey, what a challenge. When it came to lunchtime our hearts sank. Maybe it’s just me but what’s wrong with offering a few healthy options in food outlets?

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Surely not everyone wants to stuff themselves with Burger King’s offerings or tuck into an all-day English breakfast?

One service station we visited actually had three Costa Coffee outlets inside and one outside too – all were serving just cakes and a few sad and uninspiring sandwiches.

In contrast, London Waterloo Station now offers a brand new Pure outlet, serving healthy food choices as well as plenty of great options for vegans and vegetarians too.

There is also the Natural Kitchen on the upper floor of Waterloo, which means you’re dont have to grab something bland, sugary, fat-laden and beige when you’re travelling.

Given all the publicity about diabetes, heart disease and childhood obesity in recent years, isn’t it about time that motorway services tried a bit harder to entice healthier food providers to set up store?

Maybe market research has shown that rail travellers are much more health-savvy than those using the motorway network.

But it’s not just heathy eating – it’s the general lack of quality in motorway services food in general. ‘Average’ doesn’t begin to describe it.

On a long journey you have no option but to use them so maybe they could start having a bit of a shake-up.

After sitting welded to a car seat for hours, the last thing I want to eat is a burger in a flabby bun or a soggy cupcake and a cup of stewed coffee.


I’ve just reconnected with my oldest friend after a gap of far too many years.

We’d lost touch after school so we’ve been reminiscing and discovered many strange coincidences.

We already knew we had birthdays just three days apart, the same middle name and each of us also had one Welsh parent.

But after growing up in houses on the same street in north-west London, just one number apart from one another, we both moved to literally the opposite ends of the country: me to the very edge of the south coast, and her to the northernmost reaches of Scotland.

We’ve also been married more than once and, spookily, have daughters with exactly the same birthday and the same first initial.

How weird is that?


Mike and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in August and are planning to renew our vows at a big party.

I’ve been hunting for the dress – something elegant and not like the meringue I wore the first time round.

I therefore enlisted the help of my daughter Eloise when I went to London for dress appointments.

We had a lovely day, and found my dress, but, here’s a word of warning: visit chic wedding dress establishments with a beautiful, 5ft 10in, blonde, 21-year-old daughter in tow at your peril.

After offering her champagne, and adding ‘would your mum like one too?’ as a distinct afterthought, they began excitedly quizzing her about her ‘big day’.

Bit awkward having to explain it was actually mine.