Pub Lunch

Today we ventured out into the officially-nearly-done-with-Covid world for lunch at the local pub. In the car we we had a mini-debate: To wear masks vs. To go commando mask-wise. Although I kept mine in my coat pocket, I did not put it on.

The pub was populated mainly by family clusters, spread around the bar tables here and there. One such cluster was seated within shouting distance of our own table. It is perhaps churlish of me to mention that the delightful little girl sitting with them managed to generate a level of decibels inversely proportional to her diminutive height.

Having bagged a table, we checked in with the bar staff and they said they would be over shortly to take our order. Returning to the table we revised our previous decision to drape our winter coats over the back of our chairs, and surreptitiously put them on again in order to avoid an attack of the shivers. Our drinks were brought swiftly to us. I enjoyed the sound of ice clinking against the glass as I sipped my sparkling mineral water. The waiter stood with pen poised over pad. ‘What can I get you?’

‘Do you have Scottish salmon?’

‘Scottish salmon. No, I am afraid we do not. We do have Scottish sturgeon. Can I interest you? I’ve got a pic of it somewhere. Would you like to see it?’

I nodded my head and settled back in my chair while he went to fetch it. The waiter returned and placed his tablet on the table. And this is what I saw…

I hastily declined the Scottish sturgeon and settled for cod, chips (a.k.a. French fries) and garden peas (can’t stand the mushy ones). He wandered off in the direction of the kitchen.

Anticipating the plate of fish and chips that was about to come to us, engendered a certain amount of salivation. As it happened, this turned out to be somewhat premature. The minutes ticked by. Eventually my saliva glands became exhausted and I have to say that by the time 45 minutes had passed they appeared to have gone on strike!

Of course, the moment the food arrived all grumpiness vanished in a trice. It is strange how that happens. Similar to waiting for a delayed bus or train; all is forgiven and forgotten, once the curtain goes up on the main event.

Getting down to business, I wielded knife and fork as if I were a surgeon (no ‘t’ in that word) in a hurry to get away for a family birthday party. The fish had a firm paper serviette between it and the plate and the chips were placed half falling out of a matching paper bag. I found this both puzzling and a tad annoying. I couldn’t understand what the point of it was. The paper had the function of rendering the knife blunt, when compared to how it might have cut were it to be slicing directly against the hard china plate. My partner then explained to me that it symbolised the old-fashioned way of eating fish and chips (wrapped in paper). If that really was the case, why on earth did they bring cutlery? Why were we fish-and-chippers not strolling round the room, eating the stuff with our fingers? I eventually allowed my indignation to be dispersed by a good glug of sparkling water, and relaxed into an enjoyable lunch.

I noticed that a Bob Dylan song was playing while I was chasing a couple of peas onto my fork, but by the time I got to attack my chips Dylan had morphed into Rod Stewart. I gathered that Rod didn’t want to talk about it and Bob sounded far too nasal to bother. I think the management were using a track list designed for the grey-haired lunch brigade.

I have never seen the point of playing music in restaurants. The assumption has to be that all customers have identical tastes in music. I suppose you could make some broad assumptions: a spot of classical music for the leafy suburbs, heavy metal on the wrong side of the tracks. To expand on this would be to reveal too much of my own stereotypes and prejudices; I think I will leave that for another time.

So, without putting too fine a point on it, I am now fully stuffed. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

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