Lunchtime on result day was pleasingly busy which took my mind off things for a while.I briefly wondered if people were out to drown their sorrows or just having a last minute splurge whilst the going was still good.
The thought that people might actually be out celebrating never even entered my head.
I was further distracted by a new starter who happened to be working that lunchtime and who is proving mmmm.. a bit challenging to say the least.If there's one key quality you need in hospitality its speed and the ability to be able to crank up a gear when things hot up.This particular individual is well..um..a bit SLOW....In fact if he was any slower he'd be starting work last week.The usually tolerant (!) kitchen chaps are becoming increasingly impatient ,with Chef pointing out politely ('he needs a boot up the arse') that if he didn't get a move on the food would be cold by the time he got it out to the table.It's difficult enough to find staff these days(God knows what's gong to happen to the hospitality industry once the drawbridge to good 'ole England is drawn up) so I'm perservering and doing my best to chivvy him on whilst picking up the bulk of the workload when he's in. Friday lunchtime I'd been up and down the kitchen steps like a whore's knickers before spurred on in no small part by the unpleasant and fairly painful chafing on my left inside knickerline(I'm wondering if this is related to joggers nipple-more on that later,or maybe even a distant cuz of the notorious Chefs Ass), I finally cracked and told him he needed a rocket up his backside.
|a swift boot up the backside|
I blame the parents.
I've watched him wipe down a table and its obvious he has never handled a cleaning cloth before.Or a cloth of any description.He wipes in straight lines with the cloth held in his fingertips,handy on the ass wiping front but no good on a table to be honest...I've demonstrated an efficient wiping action several times but he still hasn't mastered it.Worse than the previous employee who'd reached the grand old age of 21, never having changed a lightbulb before.He asked me to show him.
Which elicited the question:
'What do you do if the light goes out on your bedside table?'
'Mum changes it for me'
If we're to believe the results of the referendum the more senior generation are also to blame for the result.Whilst scrawling their wobbly crosses on the voting card and muttering 'Britain doesn't feel like Britain any more' they've taken us straight back to 1974.
Though this may say more about the turn out in the older generation and the lack of in the younger.
Anyway,I was disappointed in the senior generation for the second time that day when an elderly chap who was intent on waylaying me in small talk when I was desperately trying to get on, became enamoured with the look of his particularly attractive looking pudding and invited me to 'sit on his knee and share it with him'.
I kid you not.
This was a thought beyond horrific and to which I had no response other than a rictus grin to rival his own.
|I have no idea who this woman is, but she bears an uncanny resemblance to my own expression.|
I have standards y'know.
To add insult to injury it transpired they were celebrating 'Independence Day'.
Thankfully, I was diverted by the sight of The Snail in my peripheral vision loading several water glasses onto a tray in slow motion,by the time Table 5 finally had their water delivered they'd have thirsts akin to a dying man crawling out of the desert.
I steered well clear of the table after that,having decided that they would benefit far more from The Snail's attention than my own.
Though its fair to say I did glean slight comfort from my regular visits to the coffee machine,sited conveniently directly next to their table and the especially vigorous dispelling of the coffee solids in the knock out drawer, having the effect of them flinching like they'd been shot by a sniper and fumbling to adjust the hearing aids.The fact that they'd reached the advanced age they had without being shot by an actual sniper was indeed a mystery and quite an astonishing achievement.
Just then the next booking arrived,a table of two celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary.I knew this because they'd pointed it out when making the booking.Which is always a bit awks as you're not sure what they expect you to do.A quick song and dance,some flowers perhaps? Or just a congratulatory handshake?Anyway the woman was not looking like the last 30 years had been filled with joy so I erred on the side of caution and didn't mention it.
She had a face like a poker.
Are you like me and wondering how someone can have a face like a poker?I actually googled this (thats how sad I am) and discovered it's actually a reference to someone that's playing poker and not displaying any emotion therefore presumably being a decent player,not in fact someone with a face that resembles a thin iron rod designed to prod a fire.So there you go,you learn something new every day.
You can thank me later.
You'd be surprised how many people turn up for meals looking like they've spent the last 30 years in purgatory.Me? I can't understand why anyone being taken out for a meal wouldn't be happy.
Obviously relative to the choice of dining venue,present company excluded of course, but date night at the local Toby Carvery certainly wouldn't blow my skirt up.
Anyway,after showing them to the table and pointing out the menus there was still no sign of her cracking a smile.
'They've had a row in the car..' said Sunday Girl,through gritted teeth,without making eye contact.
'No..it's the dress,it looks like something that was picked up off the road after the Meadowwell Riots,and he's told her so..'
We're skilled ventriloquists..
Two minutes later she was up and heading over towards me.
'Do you have a printed menu? I can't read that one'
Still no smile nor even any indication of any facial expression.
Might be Botox,I thought briefly..
This seems to be a constant issue,no not the botox, the menu..why is it such an effort to stand in front of a board for a couple of minutes and read it?Lately we've even had people leave because they can't have a printed sheet of paper in front of them.
Rather than going through the old routine about buying small amounts and therefore the menu changing daily etc I'm now just telling people its more environmentally friendly not to print off sheets of paper.
Which seems to shut most of them up.
Someone told me the other day it wasn't politically correct to call it a blackboard anymore.I wondered what I should call it.
Chef says its a chalkboard.Which it is.But its also black otherwise you wouldn't be able to see the chalk.
Which is also a bone of contention with the recent criticism over the legibility of *someone's* handwriting and the ensuing problems this causes.A few weeks ago we had some lovely langoustines on the menu and having purchased a fair old quantity and with the price tag being fairly robust,and wanting to ensure we shifted the whole lot before the blighters went off and chefs weekly GP flew straight out of the window,we decided to cover all bases and gave a couple of options over the serving style.Keeping in mind the budget we even included an option of how many one could purchase.
That's called being accessible..
Over complicating the choice for the diner is always a dangerous course of action which inevitably results in chaos.Anyway this day a couple were loitering in front of the board for ages making the place look untidy when the woman eventually called me over.
'What does all this mean? what are the numbers???
I could see she was looking at the specials board with the prawns described in every conceivable variation and quantity known to man.
'Ah that's how many and the price for each quantity,they're really fresh all the way from Skye yesterday'
I beamed encouragingly, pleased at the thought of offloading a few more.
She frowned and continued staring at the board.
'But what has COD got to do with it???'
I glanced up at the board with a glazed expression wondering what the fuck she was looking at,feeling a bit inadequate that maybe I hadn't read the board that particular morning and that someone else had faked my handwriting with an alteration that I didn't know about and looking like a right dick in front of the customer when suddenly realisation dawned.
'Oh no that's not COD its COLD..you can have them hot or cold...'
Next day the menu read:-
'SKYE PRAWNS- SMALL or LARGE..'I digress.
Lately I've been suggesting people take a quick photo of the board on their mobile phone then they can sit at leisure at the table and peruse the menu.
Talking of phones I was eavesdropping a particularly amusing conversation today,an elderly lady was telling her family that she'd lost all the contacts off her mobile,the daughter was reassuringly telling her not to worry that she might be able to retrieve them when the mother replied 'no I've thrown it in the bin now.'
You should have seen their faces..
But Mum how will you get in touch with all your friends ??
Oh its ok,I've got their addresses I'm going to write to them all and ask for their numbers.
Yes,the older generation do sometimes struggle to get to grips with the modern world...
Anyway I suggested Poker face took a picture of the blackboard and was surprised by her response.
'I DON'T HAVE A MOBILE PHONE..'
Two minutes later she was out of her seat again and TAKING A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE BOARD with a device which looked remarkably like a mobile phone...
I approached the table to take the order with a little trepidation but the husband of thirty years was a jovial sort of bloke,friendly even and proceeded to order for both of them whilst she sat with an expressionless face fixed straight ahead.I always find that scenario really weird,when people speak for other people on the table as thought they can't speak for themselves which she clearly could as witnessed earlier..It transpired Poker face was having a celebratory steak.I enquired politely how she'd like it cooked,making a point of looking straight at her but the husband again answered for her.
When I returned with the steak knife,and having narrowly avoided *accidentally* stabbing her in the back as it slipped down the chair,the husband made further conversation:
'The last time I came here I had hare'
I took this as an indication of having enjoyed his previous visit and having returned to enjoy more of the same,maybe a suggestion of slight disappointment that this particular delicacy wasn't available that day.
'Oh I'm really sorry we do occasionally have hare on the menu but its not something that we have very often'
He looked a bit confused,but I continued babbling on about jugged hare, then the game season and all the other lovely delights we have on the menu come autumn.Reader,I was convinced I had him eating out of my hand.
Finally the wife raised her hand.
'He means the last time we came here he had HAIR ON HIS HEAD...it was thirty years ago..'
At this precise moment I had a mental vision of myself bent over head in hands,Basil Fawlty style.
I could just see Sunday Girl in my line of vision practically pissing her pants before bounding down the kitchen steps to spread the word,whilst Poker Face didn't just crack a smile she was practically in hysterics.
You see we do aim to please..
In other news I've taken up running,a term I confess I use in the loosest possible sense, since at my current pace Im referring to it as chugging which is a slightly slower speed than jogging but not as slow as a brisk walk, a bit in the the 'slow and steady wins the day' genre.
Having paid a visit to the Northern runners favourite shop and having done a couple of test runs up and down the legendary corridor out back,I've kitted myself out with a particularly bouncy pair of running shoes designed to delay the inevitable double hip and knee replacements for a couple of years,which is of some comfort to
To be honest,I haven't run since my school days though it has to be said with some success having triumphed at the weekly cross country on numerous occasions.To be exact I was assured a win every other week since armed with considerable local knowledge myself and a friend would sprint off at the start then once out of sight take a short cut through the local Dene,enjoy a leisurely morning stroll through the trees before emerging ahead of the pack and sprinting through to the finish,having barely worked up a sweat.
Why did I not win every week I hear you ask?
Well Reader,give me credit..I have at least some semblance of fair play and good sportsmanship..
We took turns each at the winning position.
The whole episode did however end rather badly with the sorry debacle at the County Cross Country championships when the pair of us were unfortunately stricken with an unexplained and highly debilitating bug and unable to compete.
Which was a huge disappointment to all concerned.
It's fair to say I'm becoming a bit obsessive with regard to this new found activity,which actually has more to do with the fear of being picked up by the GNR sweeper bus (read that link,I'm having nightmares about being certified a pedestrian)than a desire to break any records.
'You need to concentrate on endurance Mum,not speed'
Good advice I thought whilst fleetingly wondering if I could pick up some tips from The Snail in this this respect.
In truth,I also need to shift a few pounds,having googled tips on achieving ones running goals the main being 'get lean'.But I'm currently carrying at least three extra bags (ok four) of sugar around on my back which has to slow you down a bit.
But the more I think about it the more chocolate I seem to consume.
It doesn't help that Sunday Girl who doesn't just work Sundays but actually works most days now keeps telling me I deserve it..
Chef keeps eyeing me suspiciously,with the following conversation played out daily.
Then finally following this week's particularly stressful turn of events:
'You're not going to do a Forrest Gump on me are you?'
Now there's a thought.
|My role model|