Friday, March 17, 2006

Another Day of Dining-Out

Another fairly good day at work; after the recent weeks of ‘firefighting’ I’ve been able to get back to doing some ‘fire-prevention’ work and planning some of the important-but-not-urgent work that we want to do. At lunchtime Sid and I were being treated to a meal by one of our suppliers, partly to seal a new deal with us and partly to apologise for some confusion with them over the last few weeks. We went down to Tas on the The Cut and ate Turkish – which was by no means a small meal! I struggled to stay awake through the rest of the afternoon

This evening also involved eating out: It being Kevin and Chris’ last night in town and the night before my birthday we’d organised a bit of a meal by way of celebration/farewell. It was a family affair, just us, the boys and Rosie and Andy. We ate at Claridges’ Reading Room. There had been some question about the venue; Chris was worried about the formality and Brett was unhappy with some condescending service we’d had last time. However by the time we considered trying a different venue, we were all too busy to choose one and book it, plus I kind of like Deco grandeur and couldn’t believe that the service we’d had was the normal standard of a five-star hotel.

Rosie had warned me they would be somewhat late, so Brett and I sat and ordered aperitifs with Kevin and Chris. They’d brought me a present and a couple of birthday cards. The present was a well-chosen book from my Amazon wishlist; The Cuckoo’s Egg which will be next on my reading list when I’ve finished the current re-visitation of Julian May’s Saga of the Exiles. Rosie and Andy weren’t actually that late in the end and we went on to order.

In the end I think it went very well. Our waiter did make a minor cock-up with the drinks at first, but otherwise service was smooth and fairly discreet. The food was just as good as I remember it (I had the Quail & Foie Gras Terrine, steak and then a soft rhubarb tartlet served with iced Bramley apple purée) as before it was beautifully presented and, although the portions look meagre, I came away feeling quite contentedly full without being over-stuffed.

Kevin and Chris had spent the day visiting the National Portrait Gallery and doing yet more shopping (I still find it hard to comprehend why someone from the States would come to the UK to shop for any but the most ‘British’ items!) There was talk of going home and what they had (and hadn’t) missed about home while away and about future holidays. They seem to have enjoyed themselves though. Andy is heading up to Leeds tomorrow with a truck full of equipment for what sounds like some company’s annual party.

We didn’t stay too late in the end. Rosie gave us a lift to Wimbledon, which was a nice way to round off the evening, saving us a long, dull and probably chilly tube/train ride. We were entertained along the way by the dozens of people staggering around the streets, drunk and wearing silly Guinness hats with green, shamrock brims; it looks like St. Patrick’s Day has done for Guinness what St. Valentine’s Day did for greeting card manufacturers…

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