To celebrate the forthcoming birthdays of myself and cousin S, a very impromptu lunch was arranged at a pub in Marlow yesterday. There were eleven of us altogether. Miss R, the mother and Mr G, Mrs Jangles, cousin S and her beau, cousin S's best friend Ms W and her husband Mr B, the husband, daughter number one, and me.
By the time we turned up at the pub, cousin S, her beau and Mrs Jangles had been there for some time. They were sitting outside drinking, and for one horrible moment I was worried that they might have been thrown out for bad behaviour. But no, they were simply enjoying the early autumn sunshine. Being typically British, they were wearing padded jackets and scarves, but hey, the sun was shining.
One by one, the rest of the reprobates (sorry, I meant to say 'family') turned up. We were soon sitting at our very strangely shaped table (who has an L-shaped table for goodness sake?) and were making headway into yet another bottle of wine. I say 'we', but to be honest, it was more 'they', as I was driving and limited to the lime and soda. The pub was packed with families and elderly couples, and I thought it very odd that the more bottles of wine we ordered, the quicker they seemed to finish their lunch and hurry off, ushering their children away from the rowdy bunch in the corner.
It was a varied menu - having said that, all I was after was a Sunday roast, but there was a lot of game on offer. I tend to steer clear of this, mainly because you run the risk of breaking a tooth or two on the lead shot and you all know how much I love the dentist. However, after yesterday, there is now another reason why I will never touch pigeon again.
Cousin S had ordered the pigeon breast - Mrs Jangles was eyeing it up, and cousin S proffered a bit on the end of her fork. Duly eating it, Mrs Jangles sighed, and then came out with the quip of the afternoon...
'You can always tell when a pigeon is well-hung'......
Now I'm not too sure which bit of the pigeon she was looking at, but I was sure that it said 'breast' on the menu. This comment triggered an almost unheard of level of hysteria around the table, and a table of six left soon after. Anyway, after that the lunch went steadily downhill, with the wine-drinkers getting louder and louder. At this point, Miss R, who had planned to drive home, changed her mind, reaffirming her decision by necking back a large glass of red or four. Now this always heralds the arrival of 'the rash' which sits nicely around her décolletage and neck, but at that point, I don't think she would have noticed if she had lost a leg or contracted leprosy, such was the effect the wine was having on her.
The meal was lovely, and when they plonked the pudding menu on the table, I had decided that I would have the Bakewell Tart. Unfortunately, it was at that point that a Colin the Caterpillar cake appeared, covered in many, many candles. In fact, I was only presuming there was a Colin underneath the flaming inferno, it could have been anything. There was a rousing chorus of 'Happy Birthday' to cousin S and me, and just as we finished, another one came out. Well the singing wasn't as loud as it was for the first one, but we didn't mind. We blew the candles out, but such was their number that fire extinguisher might have done a better job. Cousin S's beau cut the cake (he was a chef, so is qualified to wield a sharp knife in a confined space).
Turning to me, he asked me which bit I wanted - did I want the head.
'I quite like the head as long as it's attached to something else', said I (meaning some cake, of course)
Now for some reason, the ten drunks around the table found this hilarious (two more left the restaurant at this point) and as the only sober one, I laughed politely, but it was tinged with a touch of fear. It was now 5.00pm, and there was no sign of anyone wanting to either stop drinking, or, heaven forbid, go home. Then someone came up with the brilliant idea of going to see a couple of friends who own a pub nearby. The husband, who had been privy to 'The Glare' at around 4.30pm, turned down the offer of more alcohol, saying that we had to get back for the dogs (who by now may have worked their way through the lounge carpet and a sofa).
So the ten drunks trolleyed out of the pub looking like something off a Benny Hill sketch (but without the suspenders) and headed off to the friends' pub. We dropped Miss R off at the pub on our way home. This will be something she will regret in the morning, as she'll have to collect her car before work. At the point of farewell, she had almost lost use of her legs, and her eyes were working independently of each other, so I was sure that it wouldn't be long before she was crawling out of the pub on all fours looking for a taxi.
Going back to the pub (http://www.marlowslittlesecret.co.uk/#1) the food was delicious, and I would recommend a visit.
Just don't go if you hear that we have a table booked for the same day...