Here in my part of the UK, it is half term week and that can only mean one thing – rain! It has rained everyday of the school break so far. She Who Must Be Obeyed has taken the week off work to spend some quality time with Small Persons 1 And 2 Of 2 and her hard-working(!) husband.
However, Small Persons 1 And 2 Of 2 have spent the week dodging the rain showers to meet up with their respective friends. I don’t mean that at all, they haven’t bothered dodging the showers; they’ve just gone out and got soaked. This means that She Who Must Be Obeyed has only had her hard-working(!) husband to spend all that quality time with.
Unfortunately, She Who Must Be Obeyed is allergic to the rain – at least her hair is. She has the sort of hair which goes frizzy and wild the moment there is any moisture in the air. I’d post a picture here, but I think if she ever found this page it would be instant divorce. With this allergy in mind, we have had to spend the week either in the house or the car – until yesterday.
Yesterday, the clouds parted and the sun shone.
Living close to the sea, we couldn’t resist a walk along the front with the sun beaming down on us and the gentle sea breeze keeping the temperature down reminding us that we are still in February. And we were not the only ones.
The promenade was heaving with small children on scooters, bicycles or roller skates; people of all ages with small (pesky) dogs. One of those people was Lanky Shire, a regular reader of these pages. I must admit I was a little surprised to bump into him for the second time this week. We normally only meet when we are performing on stage together, so I am not used to seeing him in ‘civvies’ as it were.
She Who Must Be Obeyed and I continued our walk in the sun shine for a couple of hours before deciding that a spot of lunch was in order. In my home town we are blessed with several miles of beach but only about two seafront cafes! Fortunately, we were in the vicinity of one of them.
We found ourselves a table outside in the sun. If we had waited to get a table inside in the warm, we would probably still be there now. So, we made the most of the sun and the fresh air and just did our coats up!
Needless to say the café was incredibly busy and there was a bit of a wait for our food. There were several staff bringing plates of food outside; each time calling out a number as they scanned the crowd looking for anyone to signal they had that number.
One waitress after another coming out calling “3”, “4”, “79”, “19”, “86”, “27” and so on. There was no obvious pattern to the numbers. We couldn’t confidently say ‘us next’ – we were number 24. The staff who were taking the orders were using several different order pads, so we could have been next or a long way down the list.
Eventually, a waitress appeared with our plates. She called out “24” and my hand shot into the air before she’d completed the 4. She saw me instantly and made her way over to our table. In fact, she spotted me so quickly, I feel I could have just twitched an eyebrow and she would have realised the order was mine. However, as she placed our plates in front of us, she started to speak to me in a way that made me think we were in for a nasty scene! Her opening line started “if you ever come back to this café…”. My eyes opened wider than a rabbit in headlights!
What on earth could I have done to upset the staff at this café?
Did I not place my order politely?
Was my sitting at this table preventing one of the regulars from dining?
Was I about to be barred from ever dining there again?
It may have only been a split second before she continued, but a lot went through my mind in that instant. However, she continued with her sentence and merely suggested to me that if I ever came back to this café I should be a little more exuberant when signalling that my number had been called. And with that she demonstrated what she meant by waving both arms in the air so vigorously the French across the channel could have seen her! She added that half raising a single hand is really not sufficient when the café is that busy.
She Who Must Be Obeyed and I looked puzzled. I also felt that I had just been told off by a teacher for messing about in class, but at least I wasn’t being banned from the premises. The waitress had seen my signal immediately, so why would I need to make a complete fool of myself to attract the attention of someone whose attention I had already attracted?
So we tucked into our lunch before any of the low flying seagulls swooped down and stole it or before the increasing breeze blew it off the table and back into the café. And I watched with interest at the other diners as one by one they too just twitched ever so slightly as their numbers were called.
Not one of them was given the arm waving demonstration!