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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

I was the victim of a Hit and Run.

It's been a bit George and Andy* this week and we've all  been sweating like controversial people in situations which prompt that controversial behaviour.

The heat seems to have been sending everyone even pottier than usual,we've been attracting far too many diners with very specific ideas about where they want to sit.Which is pretty annoying when as a restaurant the last thing you want is for a two to be sitting for example at table for six,or even a lone ranger choosing to sit at a six so they can 'spread out' their paperwork and spend an hour logging onto your gratis wifi and answering e mails whilst sipping a 1.60 pot of tea and having a refill of water to make it stretch even further,as happened the other day…
Similarly people feel the need to push tables around Chuckle Brothers style to what they deem better positions with absolutely no regard for any other activity that might potentially be going on...This week we've had a table pushed in front of the coffee machine and IN FRONT of the till,unbelievably people get pretty shirty when I try to point out to them why the location just ain't going to work…

I can't see the problem with this..

The other night a couple commented that the food was lovely but they didn't like the table they were sitting at as 'people were walking past'..People were walking past...what else are they going to do?? float by a couple of inches from the ground??its a bloody pub which is open to the public if you don't want to see other people then STAY AT HOME in your flaming armchair with the doors and windows CLOSED..
On Tuesday night though we experienced another FIRST in the anathema of bizarre behaviour that is the  public.
The Blonde arrived in the kitchen clearly agitated.
'Biff you'd better go and sort out the bloke on Table 9 before I SLAP him.'
Slapping the punters is an activity to be avoided at all costs,unless we go ahead with the Fawlty Towers evening as we've been threatening to do for some time now..
'He's asked the people at table 10 to move as he is having a PRIVATE conversation..he is soo bloody rude..I sat the couple down and next thing they were back up and out...'


I headed out to investigate just as Oblivious but Blissfully Happy was smiling ecstatically,oblivious to the increasingly impatient queue waiting to be served.whilst apologising to the displaced couple who were now crammed in next to the drinkers at the bar,
There is a fundamental concept which the public need to grasp before they head out for private conversations at a PUBLIC House,by its very definition a  house which is OPEN to the PUBLIC and is therefore not a suitable contender for a PRIVATE meeting place.
I steamed over to sort him out.
I beamed my best beam,the one that confuses the hell out of people when its deployed alongside some unwelcome instruction.
'Just to let you know,these tables (gesturing grandly) will be in use shortly,so if you would like a private conversation might I suggest the garden?'
I beamed again.
I was unprepared for the response.
His manner was almost surly,barely looking up and avoiding eye contact.
'The couple didn't mind moving...I asked them politely..'
'Well polite or not,we are fully booked tonight so these tables will be used very soon..'
'We do have a table booked for dinner,we're just having a discussion first'
His tone was dismissal,like I was an irritating cold caller from an energy supply company,NOT THE BLOODY PROPRIETOR.. I managed to force another convincing beam despite being SEETHING.
The Blonde was loitering within hearing distance:
Surprisingly, this isn't the first time we've experienced a situation such as this,not so long ago a couple on settling their bill and on feedback being sought as to their enjoyment of the experience commented that 'the food was lovely but the meal was spoilt by the couple at the next table who TALKED TO EACH OTHER throughout the meal..'
My God, just imagine coming out to dinner in a public place and having a conversation with one's dining companion,what IS the world coming to?

In other news,the couple who like their plates to mirror the shape of the table they sit at have been back and they've been unnervingly friendly for the last two weeks,yesterday even calling me over to congratulate me effusively on the chips.
They were sitting in the garden and I'm ashamed to say they're one of the few couples I try to avoid eye contact with as any interaction usually involves a protracted complaint so I was surprised to hear my name being called quite cheerily.I almost looked over my shoulder wondering if by some strange coincidence they were talking to someone else.
'Biff these chips are wonderful, exceptional even,you've got things JUST right here CAN YOU TELL THE CHEF please?'
This is a bit disconcerting,three weeks prior they'd been overheard telling other customers the chips were frozen.Its a worry when known customers start acting irrationally and out of character,we were sure there was trouble afoot.

'I wonder what they're up to' I said,eyeing them suspiciously.
'Im not sure' said the Blonde 'they even said thank you when I took the food over..they never EVER say thank you..'

On my next kitchen visit I filled Chef in on the strange turn of events.
'I know exactly what's happened' said Chef 'they've had a change of heart since the door was stuck two weeks ago and I had to go and force it open, they were standing there when it burst open and he's obviously seen that I'm much bigger than him..'

'I hope you didn't scare them with your Jack Nicholson Here's Johnny face…' I said.

In the light of this we're seriously considering employing a Bouncer or I might beef up a bit more, might be worth it if customer problems are as easily solved as this..
Trouble was restored with one of the strangest requirements we've ever had,odder than the woman that turned up with a typewritten 'but not exhaustive' list of about 24 different allergies without advance warning.
I digress,this woman required 'a white diet,what can you do for me?'
I was momentarily confused thinking I'd misheard.
Might be the first punter with a taste for shite food but not afraid to ask for it..
'Excuse me?'
'White food..I only eat white food..'
It's not often I'm lost for words,my mouth fell open,whilst I tried to get my vocal chords in tune with my racing thoughts.
The woman could see I was floundering and decided to spell things out.
'Im only eating white food…I'm WHITENING my teeth..'She had that annoying but increasingly heard upward inflection at the end of her speech,probably from watching too much American TV and was shaking her head and rolling her eyes as if it was normal behaviour  to go out with the intention of eating only food of ONE bloody colour and furthermore with the colour in question not even being GREEN which would have been a whole lot easier ball game to accommodate…
'How about a nice bowl of bleach soup?"said Chef helpfully..'or perhaps that most versatile of store cupboard ingredients CORNFLOUR..'

Continuing synchronistically on with the colour theme,all eyes were diverted by the arrival of an exceptionally tanned and tattooed diner wearing a lime green neon,very short skater dress with very ample cleavage on full view.
The Dentist in Training went over to extract(see what I did there?)the order.
On one of the hottest days of the year she wanted mashed potato with her meal.
'Who the hell wants mash on a day like this??' said the Dentist.
'Well you don't get that size on a diet of lettuce leaves..' I muttered.
'She looks like Big Bird'
I pondered the lack of mashed potato and wondered briefly if it would have qualified as a white food..

The week rounded off with a brief trip over to my sisters.I was just finishing a coffee when our mother appeared at the garden gate laden with freshly baked pies(chicken and ham,mince and onion),none of which we could eat due to both being coeliac.Having been relieved of the redundant bakery goods she disappeared again to park the car.
Several minutes later and having not reappeared and sis being slightly concerned, I headed out to check if she was ok.She was just pulling up in front of next doors drive,effectively blocking any entry or exit.
'You can't park there,give me the keys and I'll park over the road for you'I said.

Once inside Mam produced her lap top,on which she was having a spot of bother picking up emails,
I agreed to have a look at it for her.
As I opened it I noticed a bit of squashed cake on the side of the screen,top left hand side corner.
'Look there's a bit of grub on your lap top' I commented.
'NO that'll be you with your biscuit!' came back the response.
Now whilst it is usual compulsory form for me to have some form of cake based accompaniment during any hot beverage activity,on this occasion I'd only had a couple of bits of chocolate.
NO ..I haven't even had a biscuit..' (indignantly)
'Well..I'm meticulous about my things,that wouldn't be me..'
Her brow was furrowed as she flicked off the crumby remains having a quick sniff to see if she could identify the sample,the obvious implication being she didn't believe I hadn't daubed food waste on her precious lap top.

Later that evening,I received the following text from my sister.

When you were out parkin car wiv mam the woman next door knocked 2 say a woman in a black car had reversed into ur pickup.She said it was a big crunch :0

Reader,me eyes had barely finished reading the text before I was legging it up to the car park to check out me car for damage.Sure enough the damage was PLAIN TO SEE…

I had been the victim of a hit and run.
I fired off a reply text

why didn't you tell me at the time?

Because you were out there and I thought you must have witnessed it..

It wasn't long before the criminal net was closing in and the finger of guilt identifying the prime suspect.

The only woman in the vicinity driving a  black car or any other car for that matter was Mam..
'I thought she looked a bit shifty' I commented to Chef 'obviously left the scene of the crime and panic parked over the front of next doors drive..'
I got straight back on the text



Dunched me car and kept schtum..

wonder if she knew it was your car?

Of course she did,I bet its a weekly occurrence …she will be dunching cars left right and centre…

hahahahahahahaha ..

Remember Grandad's Volswagen Beetle..with the papier mache wings*?

OMG you're right.hahahahahahaha!!

The Cheeky blighter..

*Grandad bumped his car on a regular basis and was always bodging the wings up with cardboard and spray paint,resulting in a wobbly school balloon head look.

Kind of puts the heinous crime of the food debris on the lap top into perspective doesn't it??

Shafted by me own Mother...

*WHAM! (warm..only works with a Geordie accent..)

Monday, 7 July 2014

Make up and consumerist culture are not feminist issues.

It's been suggested to me on more than one occasion that I might be some sort of weirdo magnet attracting all manner of wrongness and confrontational behaviour..
Latecomer diners especially at the end of a lunchtime service are the bane of Chefs life.Especially those ones who invariably then go on to order a leisurely three course meal(always with a bit of well done protein) which might mean the pudding order isn't extracted until around 4.30pm.Anyone arriving at the end of service is usually sized up first then offered a sandwich or starter option in an effort to evade this outcome.
Over the years,Ive become pretty adept at predicting which sorts will stick to the sarnie menu anyway.
Last Tuesday we had a party arrive just after 2pm.Giving them a cursory glance(couple of seniors and slightly younger woman-most likely one course wonders) and having had a generally jolly old lunchtime with nothing notable to report other than the request for tartar sauce with the braised beef, I was feeling uncharacteristically generous and thought I'd offer them the full menu provided they order quickly, thus allowing Chef to crank up the afternoon chip production line without any undue delay.
As luck would have it, the order included a well done fillet,along with some lamb chops and a beef starter.
I'm going to cut to the chase here,the WELL DONE fillet steak was sent back due to being too WELL DONE..and INTERESTINGLY changed for a rump this time cooked MEDIUM.
There may have been some discussion in the interim overheard at the table regarding pricing and one wondered whether the price of the fillet may have been more the problem than the cooking time.However the request was fulfilled,after the meals were cleared I was informed that the three were kicking off big style.
I headed over to deal with the complaint.
Seemingly, despite plates being cleared and just a smidgeon of pink meat remnants having been pleasingly observed just close to the well chewed lamb bones,both the lamb and the steak were BURNT TO A CINDER.Moreover,displaying an astonishingly high level of knowledge of animal husbandry,the lamb chops were 'at least 4 years old'.
Elderly lambs

The only four year old lamb I've ever seen was stuffed and in a museum.
There is a good and a bad way to make a complaint and this lot were as flexible as an(my) eighteen year old's debit card on the last day(or if we're brutally honest the first day) of a 5 day *cultural*trip to Shagaluff.
To say they were going over the same old ground repeatedly would be an gross understatement,if you've ever been on the brunt of people like this you will know that no matter how many times you apologise there is no winning.They were even complaining about the price of the fillet which in fact they weren't even paying for as they'd changed the order to the cheaper rump option.
Finally,after a fifteen minute one way conversation during which I basically just apologised repeatedly that they hadn't enjoyed the meal,I agreed to knock the lamb chops off the bill.Which meant that despite a fillet, a rump,lamb chops and a beef salad starter being cooked,they only actually paid for one starter and one main course, and I was left regretting I hadn't  limited the feckers to starters and sarnies only.
You would think that would be the end of it.
In addition to dealing with a complaint in person,there is now an additional sinister weapon which the disgruntled wield with increasing regularity;the assassination via the well known on line review site.
Blow up it did in spectacular form.
The thing that affronted me most was the blatant fabrication that I'd told them 'they were lucky to get a meal'..
Reader,the day that I tell someone they were 'lucky to get a meal' (despite the inner voices telling me otherwise) is the day I pack up my bibbed apron and hygiene spray and stroll off into the sunset with it tied on the end of a Dick Whittington stick.
"You see' said Chef, 'I told you there is no point in comping meals:
1.they aren't coming back anyway, so we might as well have the money... and
2.They've still complained to buggery on a public forum.'
Later that week I had occasion to indulge in a public transport experience,which is a rarity given the only bus coming through this neck of the woods is the pension express on a Wednesday at 2.30 and returning an hour later.
Anyhoo,I happened to be aboard the local Northern Rail special en route to the Toon and found myself sat opposite a couple of earth people.
Its a bit awkward in those seats isn't it,why they don't all face forward so we can all ignore each other in peace is anyones guess.
I took my phone out of my bag and feigned/had a quick spy on twitter to pass time.
The girl tutted loudly and launched into a sweeping damnation of social media with Facebook being her main bone of contention.
I was on Twitter.
I put my phone away uncomfortably and got out my iPad,thought id do a bit of reading,that couldn't possibly cause offence,yes I could try and finish off the last bit of The Goldfinch which I'd hit a brick wall with three quarters of the way through,I must be the only person alive who doesn't adore this book.
There then followed a very loud aberration of 'consumerist culture' with lots of exaggerated eye rolling and head shaking.
I fronted it out for a bit then resignedly put the bit of consumerist kit back in me cotton picking hand bag and gazed disinterestedly through the window,nostalgic views of washing lines and flapping clothes drying in the late afternoon sun.
Presently,as we pulled into the station at the very large shopping complex the annoying voice directed my way piped up again,the intonation sarcastic this time.
'OH lets all go to PRIMARK and spend all day shopping for clothes and bourgeoise accessories'
As I sat there quietly minding me own business, in me comfortable shoes, resisting the urge to blurt out that I hadn't shopped in Primark since I heard about the SOS messages sewed into the back of the labels,I had a worrying thought that I might indeed be a nut magnet.
And finally this:
'women who wear makeup undo all the hard work put in over the years by feminists..and it DOESNT EVEN LOOK NICE'
For all they knew my make up could have been PETA approved.
Whilst I would never call myself a raging feminist, even I know feminism is not about make up,technology,what colour knickers I choose to wear(or not wear) or even whether or not I sport a full chin beard and moustache .

I glanced furtively over at the pair of them chewing (loudly) and self satisfiedly on their eco friendly carob bars,blissfully unaware that feminism was actually about CHOICES.

Life is about choice.

Next week I might choose NOT to take public transport,avoid alcohol(!)…and not allow latecomers free rein on the menu...


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