As it was a Sunday and not any particularly special event that I was aware of we had not bothered to book anywhere. We were eating late - it was about 2pm by the time we had picked Shuffler up and persuaded her that she really should put a skirt on to cover her tena lady's pants before venturing into the great outdoors…Mrs B and I were hardly ready for the sight of a partially dressed Shuffler and figured the world wasn't either…I fear Elizabeth Taylor may have got a glimps and look how badly that ended..
We arrived at the gastro pub that we had selected only to find it packed to the gunnels. People were spilling out the door and the rumour was that we would be lucky to get breakfast the next morning let alone lunch. Fortunately as the car park was so full we had left Shuffler in the car while we made inquiries. Our next choice looked a bit more promising and we invested the time in extracting Shuffler out of the car and into the restaurant only to be informed that they were fully booked for the rest of the day…They were kind enough to check with their sister restaurant, a 20 minute drive away, but it was the same story…..By the time we got Shuffler back in the car it was gone three and my stomach was auditioning for the part of a really heavy thunderstorm.
Now my knowledge of where Shuffler lives is a bit out of date. It has been over 25 years since I left Essex* and my knowledge of local eateries in the area is not great. After being turned away from three more restaurants and a couple of pubs we were getting desperate ….so for a combined birthday and Mother’s day meal we ended up taking Shuffler to a garden centre's cafe….and not even a very nice one.
* Yes ladies and gentleman I am a genuine Essex boy, born and bred. Thankfully for once I can fall back on my Irish and Scottish roots, which explains why I got married in a skirt. The only upside of being an Essex boy is that it makes my sister an Essex girl but even then she escapes the worst of it since she was born in Hampstead, which possibly explains why she is about 65% posher than me….
As we perused the extensive range of bullet-hard, almost-baked potatoes and dried up sandwiches, with their edges curling back like the finest hand-crafted Turkish shoes, I glanced about at our fellow diners.
There were two Essex housewives, with their peroxide blonde hair and dark roots covering faces that looked harder than nails. If these girls had ever managed to launch a thousand ships, the crews would have thrown themselves overboard before they hit the first wave.
With them they had their charming litter of pre-school children - Chardonnay, Princess and Perry - whose grubby snot-infested little faces and constant swearing only added to the ambience….
Then there were a couple of pensioners who looked like they might be on their last meal and, the coup de gras, a fat family Frankenstein who looked like they had taken in-breeding to new unexplored territories.
I thought to myself it doesn’t get much better than this….
In celebration I decided to treat myself to a piece of cardboard cake and Mrs B risked a Bakewell** tart. The prices marked as £2.95 and £1.50 respectively – Don’t tell me we don’t know how to live in the fast lane….
** To be honest we could have got them under the Trades Description Act and forced them to call it a Bakedbadly tart. Still since Mr Kipling has been laughingly calling his cakes “exceedingly good” for years I felt it wasn’t worth the effort…
The woman at the till lwas a bit flustered and charged me £3.00
I said – are you sure you have got that right?
Her response - No, but I can’t be bothered to add it up…..This must be your lucky day….
I decided to keep my thoughts to themselves…..
This incident reminds me of a couple of years back. Those of you who have been with the BlackLOG since the early days may remember when Mrs B and I attended our friend Mitch's wedding on a cruise ship going from Vancouver to Alaska….
How to almost starve to death on a Cruise liner, with a 24 hour "All you can eat" policy - Originally published in Aug 2008
I made it look easier than you would imagine. It’s a bit like hitting sets of red lights; once you get one of them you seem to get them all. Only for red lights you substitute restaurants closing just as you get to the door. I managed a run of five, at one point, as I raced from one to another (I should probably have stayed at the first restaurant and waited the 12 hours, conserving my energy until it re-opened. It’s just I always thought I would make it to the next one). Admittedly I did not make things easier for myself. I was getting frustrated as the restaurants never posted their opening times at their entrance. I even got quite huffy as I stormed away from one of them exclaiming to one poor old couple heading in the opposite direction:
Me :- “I wouldn’t bother - they are closed!”
Poor old couple: - “It’s OK. We know, eh”
I think they might have been Canadian…
Me:- “How do you know? They don’t post the times at the damn restaurants."
Smug old couple: - “We just read the day’s entertainment schedule which includes daily opening times for all the ship's restaurants, like, Eh!”
They were definitely Canadians. I should have murdered them on the spot and disposed of their smug, sorry carcasses overboard, but all I managed was a rather deflated:
Me :-“That’s no good I’m male and English and can’t be that organised….”
Before stomping off with my now growling stomach to catch yet another closing restaurant ceremony. I don’t know why I bothered to be honest. Once you’ve attended one restuarant closing ceremony you’ve pretty much seen them all :-
Me:- “Table for two please”
Smug Maitre’d :- “Sorry Sir we have just closed”
SM:- “Yes, Sir it has”
Me:- “but, I’m starving”
SM:- “If you go up 7 decks and go to the very back of the ship, you might just catch last orders at the ‘Rancid parrot’ our low class Restaurant which hardly ever closes”
Me :- “Hardly ever?”
SM:- “Well, it closes generally on Monday through Friday for stocktaking ”
Me:- “So being Sunday it should be open”
SM:- “Probably not, the staff get weekends off, Sir”
I eventually found an area with stacks of Pizza, I went back to Mrs B and asked if that was that OK for her. It was and so I returned (no more than two minutes later) to find they had packed them away. Even the 24 hour popcorn machine ran out when I went to get some. Aaarrrrgggghhhhhh. At least I was getting some exercise but I was beginning to think that I would never find food again. Perhaps this is the way forward for weight watchers - an NCL “All you can fail to eat” cruise. I wonder if they cater for lardy cats……
Not all went well on the eating front once we returned to Vancouver. We had spent most of the morning and early afternoon at the Aquarium in Stanley Park. We decided to eat in the STANLEY’S PARK BAR & GRILL which we had been assured served food from 11.30am to 8pm daily, only…
The shape test
I borrowed a weird personality test from another blogger that I came across this week, the Accidental Olympian. The test asks you to interpret shapes as an alternative to answering the more standard text-based questions.
OK, gasp, splutter, splutter….. a quick workout and I’m now considered to be in the right shape to take the test.
The results were a mixed bag :-
Handy in the real world manipulation of objects and events, you are easily enthused by practical projects.
That makes me sound like Dexter…..I think they just called me a serial killer…..I must admit I could murder a bowl of Cornflakes….No wait that’s a cereal killer
You often ignore or conveniently forget rules and boundaries that limit your freedom.
To be honest I probably just didn’t see the boundary until I tripped over it. Once you're over it you might as well make the most of it….
This need for freedom extends even to the personal sphere and though you are kind and gentle, you will often be hard to pin down to a monogamous lifestyle.
Mrs B and I are like swans, (no not ugly when we were young…the cheek) mates for life…besides Mrs B would skin me alive….
Because you tend to verbalize so seldom, you can be seen as phlegmatic or impassive.
100% wrong…..I over verbalize to make up for other people's impassiveness
In moments of high tension you can often surprise those around you with a light-hearted or humorous remark.
I was once criticised on a course for not being funny – it was the second day and I thought I had been a bit disruptive on the first day and had toned it down…never again
Because of your facility with the physical world, you are often engaged in sports that require dexterity, such as motorcycling or hang gliding.
More so than needle work and embroidery….
You will rarely have time for flights of fancy or unproductive discussion.
I don’t think I actually do any productive discussion – you’ve seen the level of my writing and that’s me trying to be intellectual
Constraints on your freedom will be regarded as a personal attack.
Isn’t a personal attack one where you beat yourself up? I tried it once but I didn’t manage to land one punch, I kept anticipating my every move…..
Click here if you want to - Take the test.
Did anyone else get a message saying to report to your local mental institute for a straight jacket fitting? It’s a shame I can’t take up this opportunity as I’ve already been told by Mrs B that I can’t have any more clothes until I have a clear out of my current wardrobe….
Let me know how you got on. I would love to know...
Blog Of War
Still time to sign up - Closing date is the 2nd April - check out the Tab at the top of the blog for further details.
Uptake as not been quite as high as I had hoped - only a few emails so far declaring that they want to enter so it might be a smaller competition then I had originally planned.
A big thanks to Al over at Penwasser Place for publicising the competition. Otherwise I may have been the only entrant and winner, not sure if I should cheer or boo....I could have been sthe self appointed champion...after selfish consideration I'm swaying towards the boo. I can tell It's going to end badly for me like the boxer who set up his own world championship so he could be crowned champ, only he ended up being crowned chump as, the perennial loser he selected as his opponent had his best ever day at the office and beat nine shades of shit out of him….
Show me the Sunny
Monitoring our way to a fortune (or not) with our Solar Panels
KW Produced so far - 383
This has earned us approximately – £166 so far of that £114 paid
KW generated in the week – 97
Record of the week
Sunday bloody Sunday by U2 - Taking a political song and turning it into a whine about not being able to find a place to eat on a Sunday – Don’t tell me this is not a class act…..you might well think it…just don’t tell me….
Bend me shape me by Amen Corner – Physiological babble worthy of astrology readings
The problem with a weekly Blog is that topical content can get a bit out of date by the time it's published. I'm sure that you have already seen 100 of shots of the Super-moon from earlier in the week....What you won't have seen in those other inferior shots is Liz Taylor dancing into the abyss....What do you mean you can't see her, she's just behind that large bright circular object.