Have you ever tried to get a drunk northern man and an even drunker daughter on crutches (number 1) into a Ford Ranger? Thus ended last night's birthday celebrations.
It had been a wonderful evening, and everyone had a story to bring Nanny to the table as it were. Most of these were unrepeatable, and all involved alcohol of some description, but there you go, an apple never falls far from the tree...
We went to Nanny's favourite restaurant for dinner, a cosy Italian in Marlow. Actually, the waiters look better than the food tastes, but maybe that's why she loved it there so much. But the best bit about this restaurant is the fact that they have a pudding trolley. At the end of the main course, it is wheeled out in all its gilt-covered plastic splendour, with one squeaky wheel, and a slight tilt to the left.
It doesn't really matter which of the puddings you choose, as they all contain the same ingredients, just in different quantities. These are cream, double cream, Amaretto, chocolate, coffee, sugar, coffee sponge and cocoa powder. There is also a dieter's pudding. This has been the same since I first set foot in this restaurant some time in the 1900's...orange segments in Grand Marnier. Now, as we all know, alcohol is a preservative, so these could be the same oranges which were steeped in liqueur some thirty years ago. To date, I have never seen a single person say,
'It'll be the oranges for me please'.
So the waiter, in his best pseudo-Italian voice (I bet he's from Reading) went through the choices on the pudding trolley. Let's face it, after several bottles of wine no one was listening to him, and we were all going to choose either the nearest or the biggest anyway. It was as easy as that.
I chose the Amaretto Trifle. This was mainly cream and coffee sponge. Handing it to me reverently, the waiter, poised with his small pouring jug, asked if I would like some cream. What, on top of my cream? I declined, flippantly telling him I was on a diet. 'Perhaps Signorina (ha!) should have had the oranges?' Mmm, not if I want to make it to Friday my friend.
So the only thing differentiating my Amaretto Trifle from the adjacent Tiramisu, were the carefully scattered Amaretti biscuits on top, most of which my father pinched while I was chatting to Mrs Jangles. Turning to Nifty Fingers Richardson (See 'Gypsies, tramps and thieves' for a reminder as to his particular skills) I asked him what he was having off the pudding trolley.
'Vanilla ice-cream.....it's never on the trolley'. (Hushed voice..) 'They keep it out the back for me'.
Sure enough, out came a sundae glass filled to its fluted brim with under-the-counter ice cream. Well, I am assuming it was in there. There were so many wafers sticking out of the top, that there could have been anything underneath.
Probably some of those damned oranges...