February 20, 2020

A Way to For You to Make The World Laugh

The thing about trees in an English storm is that they do have a sense of humour.

They’ll save a builder’s skip-load of water.
And release the lot… just as you are stupid enough to walk underneath them.

So, if you’d bumped into us as we were walking into the restaurant.
You would have caught us at our most snarling moment of humour.

But the waitress was startlingly kind.
Allowing all eight of us to drape our wet gear over the chairs around the table behind us.
Directly under the huge air conditioning vent.

We were here to celebrate most of the party sticking to their diets for at least one month.
Sounds a good excuse to me.
Silly. But good.

Sadly, our mood didn’t lighten much
We were still cold and sopping; with eight stomachs rumbling noisily, and in full harmony, in the half-empty place.

But we were going to be all right, weren’t we?
I mean the clue to our salvation was in the brand name.


Fun, Fromagey, Filling Food.

Woo hooo!

And since very few people were so desperate as to venture out in this flood-warning night…
We had the chef and a team of waitresses almost to ourselves.

Happy Days!

Luckily for us we were into sharing parts of our life stories that evening.
Which amounts to a lot of stories, given the collective age around the long table.
So, that kept us occupied.

Because we were a little surprised when it took 35 minutes for the sole male waiter to take our order.

Ah well, we were in a reasonably good mood.
Sodden. Cold. Burning in the digestive areas.
But the situation began to slide towards being a bit silly.

Someone lightened the tone by volunteering – very loudly – to pop down to Domino’s.
Bringing the goodies back to eat here.
Looking back, we ought to have taken that suggestion seriously.

We should have known that something was up, when the senior waitress presented us with “A complimentary bowl of olives. On the house.”
Have you ever tried to digest cold, vinegary, bitter olives on a freezing night…
…when your stomach has been forlorn for 6 hours?

At 1 hour and 23 minutes of waiting, we were running out of coherent jokes.
Because everything seemed funny by that stage.
So, I got up noisily, and strode towards the Lady-Obviously-In-Charge.

There was fear in her eyes, as she said…
“I’m sorry. But the chef burned one of the pizzas.
So, he’s holding on to the others, until he’s cooked a fresh one!”

I grinned. Then started chuckling.
She didn’t.
She probably caught the wild look in my eyes.
And the thoughts of strangulation drifting across my countenance.

After that, the grumbling morphed into disbelieving laughter.
The natives were not only restless. They were thinking thoughts they could get arrested for.

The 90th minute came and went.
I was getting myself ready to get up and leave.
But then, some warm, cheesy, crispy things appeared on our table.
(I tell you. If Wendy’s had been missing, she would have fought for the scraps from someone else’s plate. And won!)

Within 30 seconds we had breathed in as a unified band…
and finished the lot.
I can’t remember chewing; mine got shovelled into my bouche so fast, very little touched my teeth.

Now we were ready for that Chocolate-Fondant-with-ice-cream, whose picture had been singing to us since we arrived.

What we weren’t ready for was the “I’m So Very Sorry. We’re Right Out of Chocolate Fondant!”

It’s Tuesday night, for goodness sake!
And the place is half-empty!
How can you run out of the best thing on the menu?!

The wailing that erupted from eight mouths.
You’d think we were at a Greek funeral!

The grief and disbelief was followed by a determination to engulf anything chocolate, at all costs.
”Right! We’ll All Have Some of That Chocolate Fudge Cake Please. With Ice Cream!”

To which she replied.
”Ah! I’m sorry to say…
…the chef just burned the chocolate fudge cake!”

There was deathly silence for 3.5 seconds.
And then we all started laughing hysterically. Or at least, there was screaming.

I looked around desperately, in case we were being captured on Candid Camera.
Or taking part in a new series of Fawlty Towers.

We were given a 40% discount on our bill.
But it wouldn’t have made a blind difference if it had been 95%.
History had been made.

The laughter hardly stopped for the rest of the meal.
Even when we froze to death on the way back to the cars…
We were all clutching ourselves; hoping not to have an accident.

Speaking was nigh impossible.
We could hardly breathe.
I wouldn’t have been surprised if one of us had suffered a coronary.

With tears streaming down her face, our ‘chauffeur’ wasn’t sure she had the wherewithall to drive.
But – as the song goes – we made it through the rain.

You know, it’s hard to sleep, when you’re giggling in your bed.

And I was thinking, when I awoke on Wednesday.

“What does our brand say to the world?
Are there promises in the noble words we throw around in our website, articles and presentations?

Are there expectations we’re building in the minds of clients – present and future?
But fall a tad short in the delivery?

Then, when it comes right down to it…
Will people remember our brand vividly.
Even smile at our name.

But for all the wrong reasons?”