Food

One of the worst things about traveling on your own, and probably the only thing that always concerns me, is eating out. Now, I love a nice meal, in comfortable surroundings, with a glass of wine or two and friendly service, and I always leave a good tip. But it is something that is quite hard to do.

Go into a restaurant on your own and ask for a table and you get one of three reactions:

  1. a genuine welcome, they find you a nice table, give you attentive service and make you feel welcome
  2. you can go in but you have to be out by a certain time
  3. sorry, single people are not served

The first is very rare. If you find a place that accepts single folk and serves good food, treasure it.

The third is most common, in London and in much of the UK. The restaurant does not have to serve you, or anyone, and at least you know where you stand. You can appreciate they would rather have two people at a table than one, but I always try to eat at quiet times and surely an occupied table is better than an empty one?

The second reaction is the most common. Actually, in London, even in a couple or group, you are frequently given a time limit. Get out by X or else… Personally, I think it is a reflection of their speed of service in cases like this.

My worst experience was at a well known pizza chain in a very large branch on the south bank of the Thames. This is somewhere that seats maybe two hundred people. I arrived at around 4.30pm. Even though maybe 10 people were in there, I could have a table only until 5pm.

I ordered starter, pizza and a drink. Drink and starter came quickly, as did the bill! Then there was a long wait for pizza.

At 5pm, I was packing up to leave as instructed when the pizza arrived. I ignored it, left cash for what I had eaten and was ready to go. The confrontational waiter asked why I was not paying for my pizza. I haven’t eaten it, you told me I had to go by 5pm, I am going. I think he was more concerned not to get a tip, to be honest.

The waiter was shouting at me to pay the full amount, then a ‘manager’ was called. I explained – they had told me to leave by 5pm, and I was off. There were still maybe 20 people in the place, it was empty. They were extremely rude, but eventually I left and went to McDonald’s. I wrote to head office for the chain, but no reply of course.

Summer

So, here in the UK we have had some warm days and sunshine galore. No rain even.

It’s a British thing that you don’t plan for extremes. If it snows, airports don’t have ploughs. Ultimately it’s cheaper just to cancel a few hundred flights and take the loss.

Melting train tracks is a summer problem, of course. But we also have a carbon dioxide shortage. Fizzy drinks and beers are struggling, and for some reason there is a lettuce shortage. Animals cannot be killed because CO2 is used to help them die humanely.

Food delivery vans are limiting deliveries of frozen food because they use dry ice in their vans and that is CO2.

Only in Britain.

 

Splash

One thing that truly annoys me is when you are using a computer and you load a program, and there is a splash screen. You know, the thing that tells you the program you are using, versions, puts a jolly picture up etc.

It’s when the splash screen takes over most of the screen, stays on top regardless of what you try to do, takes ages to load and you can’t do anything else.

Are you listening Adobe, Pinnacle…?

Poking the bear II

After a pause, Brexit came back again.

If you don’t know Tim Martin, he owns the company Wetherspoons. If you don’t know that, this is a famously cheap, slightly nasty pub chain on virtually every high street. they buy up many old buildings and convert them into smelly pubs with sticky carpets.

Martin announced he will no longer be selling European drinks, including French champagne, because they are European.

Then two large companies started talking about leaving the UK as a result of Brexit. Now, during the campaigns the Remainers had predicted all sorts of dire consequences from leaving, companies leaving the UK, jobs lost, increased shop prices and so on. Leavers say ‘look, it hasn’t happened’. But, we haven’t left yet, so how do they know.

Anyway, Airbus and BMW are talking about leaving. The Leavers say no-one else is, but there always has to be a first, and there could easily be more. Nigel Farage says it won’t happen, it’s just Remainers spreading left wing scare tactics (ie fake news). And probably, Nigel, when it does happen, it won’t matter because many will be jobs for foreigners that are lost anyway.

The the Government has posted rules on what you have to do if you are European and live in the UK now and want to continue. Basically, pay £65 and prove you are not a terrorist of have any serious convictions. Minor ones are fine.

I have no idea what ‘serious’ means here. Presumably murder and terrorism are serious, and perhaps racism and wife beating are not. Who can say?

In the mean time, apparently all UK residents are happy that their EU passports are being replaced by good old British Blue Ones again, just like the good old days.

At enormous cost to us all…