Friday was Miss R's birthday. I don't want to divulge her age, as that information should always remain between a lady and her birth certificate, but I think it's ok to say that whatever age she was, she certainly doesn't look it.
I had arranged a surprise party for her at a local hostelry, ably abetted by my nephew, Master J. I say surprise, but I'll be honest with you, she twigged that we were up to something around Tuesday this week. We tried to keep the pretence up, and she even played along with us, but she knew we would all be celebrating her birthday with her, and we all knew that she knew.
I had chosen a local restaurant, with enough space for thirteen egos and a balloon bouquet, so I was optimistic about the evening. I'm not going to give the name of where we went, but we sure as hell will not be stepping over their threshold again, with or without a balloon bouquet. The food was appalling. How hard can it be to serve a decent prawn cocktail? Even I can do that, with most of my ingredients either frozen, in a bag, or in a jar. What was served bore no resemblance to any prawn cocktail I've ever seen, and this was put together by someone with a cheffy qualification, who should really be taken out and shot for Crimes Against Shellfish.
Talking of shelled stuff, the mussels I had ordered were cold, although a boiling hot sauce had been poured over them to liven them up a bit. As I pulled the fourth one from its shell, I had an awful feeling that it wasn't the last time I was going to see these mussels...
Steaks were cold, tough and covered with the wrong sauces, sea bass fillets needed jump starting and there wasn't a vegetable to be seen, tinned, frozen, fresh or otherwise.
Now the thing about bad food, is that I can do that at home quite easily. There has been the odd occasion when furtive glances have passed between the husband and offspring, with plates slowly being pushed away.
One time, the husband said to me that he needed to get his eyes checked again, as he couldn't always see what he was eating.
'Borrow mine', I said helpfully.
'No thank you', he said. 'Sometimes it's better if I don't know what I'm eating'.
That man shows such courage sometimes...