Fork Handles

I am spending an increasing amount of time these days talking at cross purposes with people.Simple everyday conversations are becoming daily more protracted and complicated beyond belief.
I think I'm displaying the symptoms of early onset dementia.
The truth is unless you enjoy talking to people or more importantly eavesdropping their conversations you wouldn't last five minutes in this job never mind the length of time I have.
Lately, we've attracted a couple of regulars who I'd put in the category of high maintenance punters.Don't get me wrong, they're dead canny but not the sort who come in the 'smile-order and pay up happy' category.These two practically want to know your whole life story including what you ate for breakfast yesterday and the colour and style of your knickers if you were willing to share the information
And they've been coming in far too often.
There's a fine balance between being a well loved regular or an annoyingly needy sort that's right up in your grill every time you open the flaming door. It worries me when people start coming in too often cos the chances are they're going to sicken themselves, then they're frightened to come back in case you ask them where they've been.Its a no win situation.I've seen it happen many times,couple come in every day then all of a sudden nothing, then you happen to see them in the supermarket and they avoid you like the plague because they're embarrassed they haven't been,
Anyway this particular couple came in for dinner for the third time in as many days and i'd spent as much time chatting as I could without neglecting the rest of the diners.I could see they'd finished their meal as I collected a rather large drinks order from the bar when I noticed him making a bee line for me.
He was beaming at me joyously and waving.
I was wondering what he could want now and hoping he would make it snappy so I could get the drinks delivered to the rather pleasingly thirsty table of six who had already demolished 15 gin and tonics, 2 bottles of red, a bottle of rose and now delightfully overriding us by ordering a bottle of Sancerre despite being recommended the rather cheaper Picpoul to go with the fish.
He just caught me as I was about to pick up the tray.
'Do you serve Grouse?'
Oh great,he was fancying an after dinner digestive,drinks sales doing pretty darn well this evening.
'Oh yes we do-we also have Bells and a nice selection of single malts if you'd like to have a look'
He looked a bit confused but continued to smile and nod.
 I wasn't sure he'd understood my rather strong Geordie.
He repeated himself.
I repeated myself.
He continued to stare at me then amazingly began to flap his arms repeating at intervals 'grouse'.
He was putting me in mind of Big Bird and I could feel myself starting to giggle as the penny dropped.The people on table 5 had noticed what was going on and I could see them winking at me over the poor bloke's shoulder.
As I told chef later It was an easy mistake to make.
How was I supposed to know he was enquiring as to the availability of a particularly popular and expensive game bird and not a run of the mill Scotch?
Got any Grouse?

Once we'd straightened out the confusion and I'd explained that there'd been none available from the local shoot but we expected some over of the next couple of weeks he seemed content but I subsequently fielded daily calls from him asking for updates on the grouse status..You just know a situation like this is going to end in tears as anticipation and high expectations are a sure fire route to disappointment and devastation Tripadvisor assassination.

In other news,I'm still persevering with The Snail,he's actually quite a canny lad once he cranks up his conversation, the first line of which is always 'errrrrrrrrr' and he does actually say the right things to the customers.
Albeit at a very slow speed.
It's really important to able to crank up a gear when the going gets tough but over the years I've come across numerous people who don't have this ability.Chef calls them plodders. Plodding along at an average speed is one thing but when your average speed is just above stationary tempers inevitably  fray when things hot up...Ive tried trotting along behind him so he can hear I'm there in the hope that it makes him have some sense of urgency but mostly it's only resulted in me adding to my already grand bruise collection.
Anyway, I decided to give him a little confidence boost and let him do the bar as it was a midweek night, with the precursor that he must speed up and get the drinks out quickly,ideally before the ice in them melted.He was managing ok,I could see him taking a card payment over the bar out of the corner of my eye as I filled up a couple of water glasses when I heard the following:
'errrrrrrrrrr...I'm afraid you're card's not working'
I glanced over the bar,the bloke looked stony faced,I didn't recognise him, definitely not a regular.
Obviously from time to time cards are declined,usually the customer looks a bit shifty then produces another one-job sorted.
The Snail looked down at the PDQ machine as if willing the receipt to miraculously appear.
The bloke stared at the Snail then said in unfaltering but Fawlty like tone:
'It's not working because its fallen out of the machine.'
Reader, the card was lying on the floor at the Snails rather large size tens...
Things hotted up at this point so I thought Id better get him off the bar where I could keep an eye on him.
There was quite a bit of food going out so he was helping as best he could.
On my third visit to the kitchen to collect the table of six's main courses I was informed rather curtly that chef had narrowly averted disaster having prevented The Snail from delivering an unbruleed creme brûlée masquerading as a pot of aioli to a punter at the bar to go with his chips.
There's always a leader on large tables,someone that thinks they know far more than anyone else and isn't afraid to say so.A particular gentlemen on the six was pontificating to the rest of the party about how our Rib of beef sales over the years(on display) were a metaphor for the state of the economy and how the the stock market mini crash during 2014 was mirrored exactly by the lower sales during that particular year.
I had to force myself not to tell him sales were down because we'd taken it off the menu for a couple of months because beef prices were too high and Chef was getting tetchy about his GP.
As Chef said later over a well earned brew:
 'people don't half talk a crock of shite'
In other news we've employed a new Kitchen porter.Regular readers will know that our kitchen porters over the years have proved a rich source of material for this blog and reader believe me this one is no different.He's worked in kitchens for most of his life yet cannot identify many common herbs.For someone who's been in the business for so long he is also gloriously inept at washing dishes.
But reader, what he lacks in dishwashing skill he more than makes up for in pure comedy value.
He is basically just a very funny bloke .
What he doesn't know in music trivia is nobody's business and listening in as the kitchen do to our local radio station over lunch service and there being a particular programme where you can text in and guess the year of the tunes that day, our KP's unrivalled and all encompassing knowledge of all things pop was getting us quite a few mentions which we were enjoying no end.
However ,after a few days it was getting a bit boring hearing 'the kitchen staff at the Inn' so things kind of escalated in a rather amusing way.
Pop Master started texting in correct answers from rather questionable sounding businesses which I kid you not had me crying.
Amongst others imagine getting this read out over the air:
'Hoof 'n horn blacksmiths' with the announcers comment 'it must be hot down there today'
'Beaver Liquors Artisanal spirit suppliers'
I kid you not.
Chef says its only a question of time before he gets arrested..


Rosie said…
Hurray! You're back!
Liz said…
Where've you been!!!!???? Excellent blog x

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