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I'm really pleased that people seem to like the new collection of seasonal stories 'A Christmas Cracker ' .  This latest 5 sta...

Saturday, 10 March 2012

They also wait, who only stand and serve

Recently, a small party of us went for an evening meal at a local pub.  Quite why we went to this particular pub is beyond me, as it has a proud reputation for appallingly slow service.  This isn't just down to the current management.  In fact, in the decades that I've been dragged there for sporadic meals, I don't think there has ever been an occasion when we haven't had to go and make futile enquiries about our order, and when it might possibly be delivered.  I don't know why this should be.  In those years the place has been extensively refurbished and extended, and yet orders, once given, seem to be sucked into some sort of culinary black hole.

To give you some idea of what I'm talking about, we met at 6.30, decided to skip the starter and concentrate on a main and dessert.  We finally left at 11.00 having only just finished our meal.  You could just about understand this if the pub took advantage of the serried ranks of patient diners and used their enforced captivity to sell extra drinks, but this didn't happen either.  Having taken our order, the waiting staff simply vanished off the face of the earth.  Our main course turned up about 8.00 and, in a rare flush of optimism, we thought about ordering our dessert, when we'd finished at about 9.00.  After a fair amount of time staring at our empty main course plates, my wife suggested that she might go in search of our waiter.  I pointed out that it was unlikely that she would recognise him, as he would clearly be a lot older by now.  She didn't find the waiter, but she did come back clutching the dessert board and we amused ourselves for a while, selecting dishes we would like to try if ever we saw a waiter again.  Amazingly, on a trip to the toilet, one of our number found our waiter lurking in the shadows and hauled him back to our table.

I quickly scanned the menu to find something I fancied before he grew impatient and drifted off again.  As I'm a big fan of all thing chocolate, my attention was caught by something that called itself 'Chocolate Nemesis', and I decided to plump (probably an unfortunate turn of phrase) for this.  The waiter, following his set pattern, asked me if I would like cream, squirty cream, ice cream or custard with this.  I pointed out that it was a bit difficult to make a decision as I had no idea what a 'Chocolate Nemesis' was.

This didn't provoke an outpouring of information.  In fact, all it did provoke was the sort of half-smile you might muster for the mumblings of a congenital idiot.  As it was clear that I wasn't going to be helped in any way with my decision, I decided on ice cream on the logical basis that, even if the 'Chocolate Nemesis' turned out to be a disaster, at least I would have some ice cream to eat.  The average life span of a few small mammals came and went before we saw him again, but this time he came bearing dishes for my three companions.  Having served them, he said to me, with great seriousness, "Your nemesis will be coming shortly, sir"

It's still haunting me.

The first collection of stories - "Steady Past Your Granny's" is now available in Kindle e-book format for just £0.89 at Amazon UK and Amazon USA and now read the new bumper collection of stories, Crutches For Ducks  also at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com , at the special price of just £1.49.