We have been on holiday in our caravan for the past fortnight in Suffolk and Essex. There was a great variety of weather – from glorious heart-warming late summer sunshine, to pre-equinoxial gales, but none of the heavier weather happened when we needed fine, and we were warm and snug in our caravan.

We were in the beautiful town of Lavenham one day and decided to have lunch. We ended up in a ‘fine dining’ establishment (simply because we chose the nicest looking restaurant on the square.) I was reflecting on other ‘fine dining’ experiences I have had – in London, in Sandusky, Ohio, in Normandie in France, and came to the conclusion that I do not like FINE DINING.

I like Good Food of course and a nice wine and efficient service but I remind myself that although we are privileged to enjoying this luxury, other people do not have enough to eat.

There were nice things about the restaurant. It had an elegant dining room with comfortable chairs.

It’s menu was interesting. My small glass of Sauvignon Blanc was very good. When we dined in Normandie, the Maitre D’ was all that you would wish but the waitress was very forward; here the waitresses were lovely, with formal but smiling service and kind and sensitive to the needs of disabled customers and the mothers of babies. Whereas the maitre d’ who was comparatively young seemed mostly preoccupied with preserving his dignity. He did not appear to do anything except issue orders and hamper other people in their work.

I had soup which came in a soup bowl which had a few pieces of chicken and vegetables artfully arranged in it, over which she poured, from a jug the creamy liquid of the soup. Was this really necessary I found myself thinking. Then I had sea-bream on a bed of vegetables, and finally I chose a chocolate dessert which consisted of teaspoonfuls of ice-cream, gateau, sauce and other tiny pieces. I found myself regarding it with distaste and wondering how clean were the hands of the person who had fiddled with my dessert. We also had an amuse-bouche and a small portion of another tiny pudding. It was ALL very good but I found myself irritated at its pretentiousness and thinking I would prefer my food to look more like its original state.

Meanwhile there had arrived a young couple with an 8 month old baby boy, It was obviously a celebration, perhaps of the mother’s birthday. She was a pretty woman wearing a glamorous dress. The Boy was dressed in his finest too. He was a lovely child. His parents still had that look about them that first time parents have: triumph, delight – and shock at how much more difficult it all was than they had ever imagined. The boy was delighted to be out, and set about, from his high chair, of engaging with every party in the room. An elderly couple where the man sat in gloomy silence, listening to his wife’s constant flow of mostly malicious gossip about people of their acquaintance, just sighing at the end of some scurrilous tale but no more inclined to take action than a cat facing a crocodile. (I had privately named them as the Bishop and Mrs Proudie.)

When the boy indicated that he would actually be careful and stick to his pram and be a good buy, the ‘Bishop’ (while sufficiently savvy – he was a worldly bishop )– was not deceived.. The mother fed the boy his lunch while they waited for theirs to come. But at this point the child revealed that he wasn’t all sweetness and light. The waitress came with a basket full of bread rolls, giving one to each of the parents but not to the boy. He shouted at her; in his rage the sounds were almost like words. Then he bellowed at his mother for not fixing the problem to his satisfaction. He cried (mumphed to himself really) and then fell asleep in his pram leaving his parents a brief period of calm in which to enjoy their lunch.

He could have told you all about Fine Dining!

About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

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