Monday, 12 April 2010

Old Lady with the Dog

I understand you've been coming to visit us for years and years and years and maybe even more years. From the looks of it your dog has been visiting with you all these years. Unfortunately I feel like your dog might not be making many more visits. His poor stiff legs point outwards when they should bend and remain under his body and he constantly lets out a bark every few seconds. I'm not sure he can hear so per chance he doesn't know he's doing it. Occasionally he wanders away, dangerously close to our stairs that lead to the cellar but similar to his awareness of his barking, I'm not even sure you're aware of his strays. Once he even made his way into the restaurant where I had to "shoo" him away and again, not sure you noticed.

Often times you come in on a Friday evening, our busiest, and just have a seat at "your table" no matter how many people are sitting there. Tonight, you let your dog sit under the table next to you and bark at the customers. Not everyone is comfortable with this. When you came in during our staff party, despite the notice on the front door that we were closed and the subtle fact there were NO other customers in the pub you and Fido made your selves comfortable. It was akward. We had to ask you to leave.

Every time you come in you order a portion of mini sausages by waving your hands from your table, not even bothering getting up. Some mini sausages you eat, others you feed the dog, and even others you place into a single napkin and into your bag. What happens to these sausages?
I also learned the other day that you drive yourself and mut to the pub. Considering your unawareness I desperately hope you do not drive far to reach us. Around the corner would be best but still unsafe.

Perhaps pubs and mini sausages aren't best for your and your pooch?

Will we see you and "man's best friend" next week? Guess we'll see.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Back to school

Ok, so I haven't exactly enrolled in medical school or anything but I started my once a week, 3 week Intermediate Wine and Spirit Education Trust course. This will hopefully provide me with more knowledge and confidence in being able to speak about and sell the wines we sell at work and of course to be able to carry on conversations with my friends, who are all wine buffs. So like a good girl on her first day of school I laid out my outfit, set several alarms, and went to bed early.

Unfortunately my first few alarms went perfectly into my dream that I was supposed to bring out a big bowl of food every time the buzzer went, clearly showing that works is creeping into every part of my life. When I finally finished getting the food out I opened my eyes to see that my dream had crept 30 minutes into my morning and I HAD to make the 8:15am train from Battersea Park Station. I quickly got ready but only had 15 minutes to make it to my train and with a still throbbing broken toe it isn't easy to walk quickly across the entire park.

I started anyways and was making pretty good time until I ran into two kindly older gentlemen with plastic bags filled with bread. To some people this might have been a, 'Look at those guys, how sweet,' kind of moment but for me it was an, 'Oh crap, they're about to feed the damn birds!' And before I could even finish my thought or add any more expletives an enormous long legged huge wing spanned bird lept over the fence right in front of me. I've since done a bit of research and I have learned that the monster that stood in front of me was a grey heron


and as I swung around to escape it the kindly old men had already opened their bags and I was suddenly surrounded by birds. If you've met me before you might know my complete and utter aversion to the beasts. I lunged at the first bird and he headed back over the low fence towards the river. I thought I'd finally escaped but when I looked behind me I'd suddenly become the PIed Piper of Battersea Park birds. Apparently my friend had gone to the other smaller water fowl and somehow "kindly old men with bag full of bread' translated into 'limping 29 year old female with bag full of bread.' Completely forgetting about my train and even my course I just started running, much to kindly old men's amusement.

Unfortunately even running didn't help the fact that I missed my train, not a good first day of school. As the next train was coming in 30 minutes and I had to be there in 45 I got on the bus, went to the tube, waited 4 trains before I could get on, got lost at London Bridge, and walked into my class 15 minutes late. Fortunately I quickly caught up, got my tasting glasses, and we started with Chardonnay!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Dear Jackie and date

"Good night, thanks, bye, YOU ASSFACE" Obviously that last part was muttered under my breath (hesitantly not to their face) once the door was firmly shut behind (unfortunately not on) their rears.

Jackie booked a table for 2 at 8:30pm this evening. They came into the pub and not uncommonly began their evening at the bar with a beer and a bottle of wine. They came to me asking if they could have their dinner in the pub rather than coming through to the restaurant because they felt that the pub had a better vibe. We provide a lunch menu in both the restaurant and pub but in the evenings there is a menu of bar snacks for our pub goers as usually the pub is packed with drinkers with the odd snack to line their bellies. Jackie and her date really did not like the idea of coming through but did as they wanted to have some dinner. Immediately I could tell they had their backs up about having to do as I said and would be a challenge.

As the challenge begins they aren't too difficult but their tone is very negative and condecending. I take their order and as dictated by the order of service bring them some bread and butter, in roll form (sourdough chosen). I turn my back to attend to another table and when I happen to glance at table 1 I see Jackie harshly tapping, some might say banging, the top of her roll with her knife. Most people might know that bread in roll form does have a harder shell with a nice soft doughy bit inside, not Jackie. She eventually breaks the apparently tough exterior and butters her warm roll and enjoys.

Jackie and date do not order any starters but impatiently begins their wait for the pork belly and lamb shoulder, two of the longer dishes to cook, oh dear. When I do bring them their dishes, placed with smiles, kind words, and encouragement to let me know if they need anything else, I retreat from the table as Jackie lifted her plate and inspected it with what can only be described as a slight snarl on her face. Note to readers, the pork belly is one of the most delicious looking dishes there are. I leave it, assuming they are trying to get a rise out of me, stop by to ask if they need anything half way through, and return to clear clean plates.

Again, once the plates are cleared, table is wiped, salt and pepper removed, it is dictated by the order of service that dessert menus are placed. I must make a note that this is a Sunday evening and both the restaurant and bar close at 10:30pm and we all dream of finishing early after a long weekend of late nights and early mornings. After going to table 1 a couple of times to ask their dessert order it became clear they were not going to allow this to happen. I eventually left them alone, waiting for the sign that they were ready to order. By this point all other tables had paid and left and the chefs had changed. At 10:15 pm the bell was rung in the bar to recognize the impending closure of the bar at 10:30 and if any last drinks were wanted to order now.

I went to table 1 to make sure they were aware of this point and to kindly offer them one last drink. "Sorry to interrupt, I just want to see if you'd like a final glass of wine or drink from the bar before it closes." Jackie's date asked what time the bar closes to which I responded, "10:30." Then with one raised eyebrow he asked, "Is my watch 15 minutes fast?" Smiling I said, "The bar closes at 10:30 but we allow 15 minutes for last orders so if you'd like another drink we need to order it now."

Still sitting with the dessert and wine menu, the only table in the restaurant, chefs perched just out of sight, Jackie's date asks if we were going to kick him out at 10:35 if he orders another drink. I kindly tell him that we are happy to serve him anything he likes and he won't need to leave the restaurant until he is finished. After asking several questions about the different wines by the glass he orders another BOTTLE of Pinot Noir and a cheese board. Without hesitating and always with a smile I swiftly put the order through, made sure to provide them with details of each cheese they were eating, and left them alone with their cheese and bottle of wine.

As I did the cashing up, the pub was emptied, all glasses removed from the shelves as they do on Sunday night, and the restaurant broken down, Jackie and date were half way through their bottle of wine. I printed their bill, gave it to them with 4 home made marshmallows, and a message to take their time. They paid eventually, I finished the cashing up, the waitress changed, all other staff left, and as I poured myself a small glass of wine, Jackie and her date asked for their coats and headed to the door with no words of thanks or recognition of the fact they had remained a further hour and a quarter after we had closed. Hence the ASSFACE.

The high road can be a lonely place but I'll keep on the trail.