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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..
*Breathe*
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..
'WHAT 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...'

WT *FLAMING* F?

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..'
grrrrrrr...
'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:
'Twat'
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..'
WTF.
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'
Snigger.
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


IT WAS MAM

OMG WTF??


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.
BUT NO.
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.'
Sigh.
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.
Good.
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'
Well.
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.

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...









Wednesday, 4 June 2014

I am neither YOUNG nor a VERY NICE waitress.

As we speak, the gas supply has just been reconnected following a leak and 24 hour interruption in supply as a result of a catalogue of comedic errors which deserves a whole blog post in itself.
Lost revenue aside, at least I've had the chance to catch up with various neglected tasks and update this for the first time in AGES.

Im a bit worried that I might be losing the plot.
Not that I'm hallucinating or anything,but I seem to be hearing voices in my head.
Admittedly its my own voice, but its saying something completely different to what is actually coming out of my mouth and I'm starting to become slightly concerned that these thoughts might actually be voiced at some point and if so certain people are going to be very upset indeed.
Its very disorientating. its putting me in mind of Gerry Adams in the 80's when Thatcher wouldn't allow his voice to be broadcast so an actor voiced it,I could never understand why his voice didn't match his mouth but always found it strangely pleasing.
I've included my alternative speech in bold for the rest of this,just so you see what I mean.
Where to start.
The serial complainers have all been back sucking the flaming life out of me.
First being the old dear who had an aversion to large fish.
In line with many of our older customers she seems to be fixated on fish as a preferred dining option.
She's been in around half a dozen times now but still insists on asking for the menu every time and complains bitterly when we tell her its on a blackboard.
This lunchtime she was set on battered fish and chips.
'Excuse me,once when I came here I had battered cod and chips'
I interjected, no point getting her hopes up.
'Ah yes I'm sorry we don't have any on the menu today so..'
She raised her hand slowly right up to my face.
'LET ME FINISH'
I stood there quietly as commanded,finish or not there still ain't gong to be any battered fish.
'As I was saying,I enjoyed your fish and chips and would really like some again'
'Well I'm sorry but as I was trying to explain we change our menu daily and unfortunately we don't have cod today-we have a whole lemon sole(grilled not battered)which I'm sure the chef can serve with chips for you if you like'
I beamed a fake but fairly convincing beam.
'Are the chips those awful thick cut ones?'
'Well they aren't skinny fries but I think they're pretty good'
'Ok but can I have some mushy peas with that,preferably marrowfat?'
'Im sorry no, we don't have battered fish or mushy peas on the menu today'
'Im beginning to wonder if I'm in the wrong place here..'

[Never a truer word spoken so why don't you save us all some time and just f off home now?]
'Would you like some greens or a salad instead?'

As the meals were served and just as I was placing the whole lemon sole with chips and tartar sauce down in front of my favourite customer I was greeted with the following comment.
'I asked for mushy peas'
Eh?
Given the time that I was at the table extricating the order and the lengthy conversation we'd already had about green veg I was moderately surprised by the fact that she'd already forgotten we have a pea drought,I thought I'd better clarify.

'Yes you asked and I explained that we didn't have any'
'Can you get me some vinegar instead?'
Oddly I'd never thought of vinegar as particularly interchangeable with peas.
As the main in courses were cleared and I'd fronted out a frosty silence following the 'Did you enjoy everything?' request I enquired would anyone like to see a pudding menu.
The other three at the table who were looking increasingly fed up with their dining companion all shook their heads and were polite in their refusal.
A couple of minutes later I noticed the complainer gesture another member of staff over to the table.I eavesdropped her saying that she hadn't been asked if she would like a pudding and witnessed the profuse apology and and the deliverance of the pudding menu.
She ordered a 'small' cheese board to 'share' between the three of them BUT WITH EXTRA BISCUITS.
This caused a bit of confusion in the kitchen.
There is a growing trend with diners ordering one meal then bulking it our with carbs thus feeding multiple diners for the single price and its becoming tiresome to say the least.
Yesterday, unbelievably someone ordered a childs Sunday lunch but with extra roasties,an extra Yorkie and an extra bloody plate.AND THERE WERE NO FLAMING CHILDREN ON THE TABLE.
*breathe*
I intervened.
'Just do the normal size-if you make it smaller there won't be enough for the three of them.'
As I placed the cheeses down Mrs Doubtfire enquired was the cheeseboard a smaller one.
'No its just the normal size as we were told you wanted to share between the three of you'
She raised her hand for the second time to silence me.
'When I ordered the cheese with the very nice YOUNG waitress which WASN'T YOU…she agreed that I could have a smaller cheeseboard,so can you take that one away and bring me a smaller cheeseboard as requested'
The other two at the table were visibly recoiling and fidgeting uncomfortably in their seats.
I looked at her for a split second and made a mental note not to morph into a similar specimen in old(er) age,then without speaking removed the cheeseboard.
'I thought they were sharing?" said Chef in bewilderment.
I watched as the cheeses were re sized carefully to meet diner requirements.
Reader,If I say the cheese would not have been cut finer had it been sliced with a razor blade, you will appreciate my supreme satisfaction and joy in the redeliverance with a exagerrated flourish to the table. 
I employed my best Fawlty voice:

'Does that suit madam?'
[Joke's on you Missus..]

I'd been waiting for the farm cat duck woman to reappear, ready to dispatch her poste haste  as previously planned but surprisingly she hadn't been back.
Until last Thursday when I was out.
I AM NEVER OUT.
I'm beginning to wonder if  she's had the bloody placed staked out waiting for me to be out so she could sneak in undisturbed behind my back and make unfettered complaints at will without me being there to deflect them.
After perusing the menu for several minutes and after much huffing and puffing she'd gone ahead and ordered the pasta with asparagus,peas,rocket and Parmesan,but WITHOUT the peas and asparagus.
When the dish was cleared and feedback being politely requested as is the usual form,the word came back that there WASNT MUCH TO THE PASTA.
There wasn't much to the pasta.
Lets just think tis one through shall we? Deleting half of the prescribed ingredients surely invalidates any possible future complaint?
This particular woman is beginning to really boil my piss...
Anyhoo two days later she was back again.
I approached the table for the order.
Would you believe it she went ahead and ordered the same pasta AGAIN.
I repeated the order back.

'So the pasta on the board but without the peas and asparagus?'
[Listen missus WE all know you don't like it so how the hell do you not?]

'yes please'
On receipt of the order and following the well rehearsed performance of the usual 'You're having a laff/Do I look like I'm laffing?' routine,Chef suggested I went back to the table and offered her some braised beef which had just been cooked ready for the evening menu.You can always rely on a slow cooked bit of meat to win fussy diners over.It meets all their criteria the main one of course being that it requires no effort in the chewing department.It could taste like shit but as long as its tender it'll pass muster.
I was a tad surprised by the the woman's rebuttal.
Looking up slowly and maintaining eye contact just a smidgeon too long, she replied slowly and with the merest suggestion of a smirk.
'No I'll stick with the pasta,I had it the other day and enjoyed it'
What the hell?
She's playing with me isn't she.

I re entered the kitchen just as Gareth Malone was being interviewed on the Jeremy Vine show.
'Have you ever been in a choir Biff?'
Now,having been an avid and conscientious church botherer in me youth I was able to respond with conviction and even a slight air of smugness,in the affirmative:
'Well actually yes, as a matter of fact I have..'
'Hmmm'
[over exaggerated, tension building pause]
'And tell me..did you ever pump the vicar's organ…?'

See what I have to put up with on a daily basis??
The Vicars organ (what do you take me for..)


Thank God Sunday morning finally arrived.
I even managed to sit meself down with the papers and a coffee prior to opening after delegating the remaining few jobs.
'Can you restock the coffee machine please?'
'There's plenty of cups there already'
Ooh..sharp intake of breath..
'No there isn't. More of everything please or we'll run out'
'I suppose I could stack a few more on there'

'Yes completely full please'
['Yes bitch,do it now ']

Its worrying isn't it?



Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A Comedy Caller and duck that was only fit for the farm cats..

Well.
Would you believe it the complainer mentioned in the previous post did indeed do us the 'favour' of coming back again.The Cynical One and myself clocked her immediately as she walked through the door,docile hubby in tow,disconcertingly wearing some kind of floral bandana type headgear.
Our hearts sank,people like this can physically drain the life force out of your body in two seconds flat.
The odd peculiarity about these two,which we hadn't immediately noted,was the fact that they always order duplicate meals,so true to form they studied the board then predictably ordered two identical meals.In this case slow roast duck leg.
The Cynical One glanced at me and sighed,checked the ticket on,at the same time forewarning the kitchen they were in.
In due course the meals were sent and we kind of forgot about the two of them as the lunch service kicked off and our attention was diverted elsewhere.We had a couple of tables booked but people tend not to book at lunchtimes so you can never predict how many will rock up on any given day.There was a four booked in midway through service and were directed to the table we'd chosen for them.It doesnt matter which table you decide to reserve, it wont be the right one.People have lots of requirements in terms of which table they want to sit at.This four eyed the table disdainfully but with most of the other tables now taken their options were kinda limited.They reluctantly sat down,shuffling irritably in the seats.The Cynical One shot me a surreptitious eye roll and headed over the extract the drinks order.Presently the 'leader' called me over.
'Excuse me do you have any seats suitable for bad backs?'
Now,not being in possession of the aforementioned bad back nor being an effing chiropractor, I had no idea what kind of seat would be suitable for a bad back ..I decided to put the ball back in her court.
'What type of seat would you like? We have lots of different chairs as you can see'
The woman looked annoyed then scanned the immediate area for a bad back chair eventually
swapping her chair with one at an adjacent table then continuing to fidget.
As the drinks were delivered the chair problem was again raised.
'I'm sorry we're really not comfortable here,can we move to another table please?'
As it happened a table had just become available in the dining room and OH JOY with six different  mismatched chairs to choose from,I invited the party to follow me.
The leader was having none of it.
'Stay where you are and I'll go and check out the table out first'
I smiled encouragingly,placing my hand on a high backed chair with a wicker seat.
'I'm sure this one will be good for a bad back,its nice and firm and will give a lot of support'
I patted the seat like some over eager salesman at DFS on the last day of the 14 day permanent sale.
The woman stared at me as if I was an absolute nutter then turned away.
'Its ok we'll stay where we are'
Sigh.
'If seating arrangements are such a bloody deal breaker,why don't they just effing sit at home in their orthopaedic armchairs' said Chef helpfully..
Just then I remembered the serial complainer sat with her duck by the window.I glanced over.Her arms were folded,and in an odd but increasingly popular trend, with the husband sat beside her.
As I approached the interview panel,I could see that both plates were empty(hurrah) but on closer inspection all was not jolly.One plate was COMPLETELY empty and I mean COMPLETELY-no sign of the bone.
WTF.
I went to grab the plates.
'Was everything ok for you?'
The woman was visibly shaking.
'No..no.. it was terrible,in fact it was only fit for the farm cats so I've wrapped it up and put it in my bag to take home for them' and then almost as an afterthought and pointing at the husbands clear plate 'and he didn't enjoy his either'
I like duck

I observed the husbands very empty plate, duck bone as clean as a whistle displayed prominently.
'Really?'
The husband sat and said nothing,less life in him than a dead granny.
'Well I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it-would you like something else instead?'
'No No No'
She was shaking her head in disgust.
Thank God for that.
I retreated from the table and planned my next move.
As I cleared the table adjacent to the table with the bad back and they requested the bill, the very pleasant woman leaned in towards me and nodding toward the problem table in a stage whisper uttered 'That lot are going to ask to move to this table'
Which was a problem as the table was booked out for another party in five minutes.
Sure enough I was waved over
'Excuse me would you mind if we moved over to that table-we really aren't comfortable here'
I smiled.
'I'm sorry that's just not possible as a table for 5 five are booked here shortly and unfortunately I cant give them your current table as its only for four'.
Ha.
They were already on the up in a presumptive table move but stopped dead in their tracks on receipt of this information.
I noticed the duck woman heading over to the bar.I'd already told the Cynical One not to accept any payment for the meals.
I sidled over to watch.
The woman was insisting on paying.
'No thats fine' said the Cynical One 'but just to let you know,if you had let us know earlier we could have offered an alternative meal'
The woman stood there looking embarrassed,the balance of power neatly shifted in our favour.
That's going to take the wind out of your complaint with the bulk of a meal that you haven't paid for tucked up neatly in your handbag.In fact I'd call that THEFT.
 I haz the upper hand.
I smiled a smug smile as they shuffled out of the door sheepishly,her with the stolen duck breast in her handbag and him with a very full tum,just as a couple of Irish fellas at the bar were having a very loud and much more entertaining conversation about a mutual friend who had 'pinched their MOTHER'S arse'
Snigger.
I've already briefed all staff with our policy for dealing with them on their next visit:
'Are you absolutely sure you'd like to order food? You've already tried fur,feather and fish and it appears our food really is NOT TO YOUR TASTE..'
And rest assured the fuckers WILL BE BACK..
Further portions of the farm cat duck continued to 'fly' (groan) out for the rest of the week,despite this with no sign of any outward feline activity or miaowing from the customers.
Next day we had further seating problems.
The Actor motioned me over to the bar.
'See those two booked on table 2? Well the woman is the size of two houses and she just isn't going to fit on that table so Ive had to move her to table 3 but it's booked out for three in 45 mins'
'God yes  I can see what you mean,at least a metric tonne, should be another table free by the time the next lot in come in.Good call'
All of the above delivered through well practised fake smiles.We'd all make great ventriloquists... I nervously eyed up the chair she was about to sit at, a pastime I'm increasingly finding myself occupied with.
Later that night just as snifters were in sight the phone rang.I'm constantly surprised at how late people ring and make bookings sometimes even after 11 at night.'Oh I'll just ring the pub before I finish my cocoa and book a table'..
I picked up.The male caller had a deep guttural voice,I couldn't quite place the accent but could have been Mackem.
'Can I speak to my Dad please,his name's Peter'
What's his surname I enquired.
The caller sounded muffled,I couldn't make out what he was saying so passed the phone over to the Blonde.
'Here, can you hear what he's saying' I passed the phone over disinterestedly.
I could hear the Blonde trying to establish the fathers surname as she headed over to the remaining five tables in search of the Dad.
I thought I heard her repeat the word 'file'.
Surely not.
I watched in amazement she approached each table in turn asking each if anyone at the table was called
'Peter'
At the last table unfortunately there was indeed a chap named Peter.I was rooted to the spot as I heard her then politely enquire was his surname "File"
The chap looked momentarily stunned then smirked nervously shaking his head.
I kid you not.
The Blonde headed back over to the bar.
'Please tell me you didn't ask that fellow if his name was Peter File..'
Now normally The Blonde is very quick on the uptake but it'd been a very long day..
'NOOOOO..Why didn't you stop me??'
She grabbed the phone and dialled 1471.
We have the comedy callers' number and are already planning a late night call for next Saturday.The options are endless:
Hugh Jars
Brothers Warwick and Mike Hunt
And of course our old friend Pat McCrotch.

'I bet that was the Actor' said Chef who was nearly crying into his well earned Fosters 'ringing up with one his Actory voices'
Next morning we were still giggling about the comedy call.The Actor (I swear to God it wasn't me) denied all knowledge but did arrive laden with Sunday chocolates for the girls..
Hmmmmm.
Watch this space.









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