Friday, December 08, 2006

Speed dating meets table service

So we took the bedding out of the wardrobe where it had been piled against the outer, wettest wall of the house and lo and behold it was damp and unusable. The fact had to be faced that it would have to go to the recycling centre and off we went, deposited sheets, pillow cases, duvets, duvet covers into the great yellow bins from which they will be made into socks for elves in Switzerland. Then we started thinking about lunch.

"I'll buy, if you like," I said.
"Okay. We could go to The Place in the Village. It's nice."

The Place in the Village is in the back of the Pub in the Village and as we had arrived ten minutes early for service, we bought tea and coffee and sat down at our Number 18 table and chatted. A large group of women in their 60s were gabbing away loudly in one large corner. Artificial Christmas trees blinked little multi-coloured lights at us. Kitchen staff busied themselves behind the self-service counter.

When the carvery opened for business, we queued and ordered peppered steak and chicken curry and sat down to eat.

A hand appeared from no-where and swiped the empty tray from my hand before my ass reached the chair.

"Er. Thanks," I said to the back of the girl, now quite a distance away.

Herself proclaimed the steak to be rare, which is not a complete crime in her lexicon of food faults, but is fairly close to the top. Oh, and the carrots were cold. I decided the chicken was tasteless and the curry barely registering. But feck it! It's better than cooking, eh? Sure, aren't we on holiday? Grand.

The hand reappeared and removed the plastic Number 18 from the centre of the table.

"We appear to be no longer sitting at a table," I said to Herself.

We talked a little about plans for the afternoon, then Herself made a visit to the Ladys' Room.

"Excuse me," the waitress cooed in my ear in Eastern European English. "Are you finished?" Her eyebrows wiggled slightly as she nodded towards my plate.

"Er, yes. Thank you."

"And this woman...?" She pointed at Herself's half-eaten steak and cold veg.


The plates blinked out of existence. She scuttled off towards the kitchen.

A new hand appeared and a plastic Number 17 appeared in the middle of the table. Was this demotion, I wondered. Or had we moved up a place in the charts?

Someone walked by and Herself's coffee cup vanished. On the next pass, a hand alighted on top of my ceramic teapot.

"Are you finished?" a Dublin voice said. Before I could answer, it continued: "Oh I'll just leave them." When I looked up there was no-one there.

Bloody hell! You can take the aul' "efficient service" a bit too far, you know?

We got into the car and drove away, checking through the rolled-down windows that the windshield wipers and hubcaps were still on... We weren't finished with them.

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