Mediocre Meals; Men’s room Mobiles; Merry Music.


Today was one of mixed impressions. We began by setting off late this morning to visit my mother in West End. En route we stopped for lunch at

The Royal Oak, Hilltop

The Royal Oak at Hilltop, near Beaulieu.

Among the gorse along the roadside , donkeys and a pony dozed or grazed within sight of Fawley power station.

Ice and oak leaves

Ice had formed in the car park puddles, trapping some of the fallen water-bound oak leaves.

The ambience inside was good and the service most friendly.

Beer glass

However, the beer lacked spirit and was served in murky glasses suggesting there was something awry with the dishwasher. Our very young waitress apologised for this and said she would pass on my observations.

Steak & Ale Pie and Ploughman's meals

My steak and ale pie appeared to have been prepared earlier, then overheated, with the result that all the wrong bits of the meal were crispy. Jackie’s ploughman’s lacked the usual ingredient of cheese, but contained a small portion of patΓ©, and a preponderance of pickles. The crusty bread had been put through a slicer some time before. There was no butter.


Leaving a quantity of the pickled elements on her plate, Jackie observed that “there is only so much pickle you can eat”.

I approached the till to settle the bill, wondering how I was going to do this politely. In the event, I was helped out by the not quite so young woman I took to be the manager. It is not unusual for pubs and restaurants to add what they call optional or discretionary gratuities to the bill. I always ensure that these will go to the staff before paying them. Otherwise I tip in cash and settle the rest by card. It is not usual for the person taking your money to open the conversation with the statement that you don’t have to pay this if you don’t want to. This is what this woman did. I asked her who received the money. She said the staff were the beneficiaries. I said that in that case I would pay it, because the service had been excellent, but the food was not, and I had already shown her colleague the state of the glasses.

I claimed that my meal had probably started life in a good condition but had been microwaved so that all the wrong bits were crispy. She replied that they didn’t microwave their meals, but heated them up in the oven. “In that case”, I replied, “this one  spent too long in the oven”. I didn’t think there was much point in the methods both Jackie and I learned from our mothers of putting the plate, with a lid on it, over a pan of boiling water.

I also spoke of the preponderance of pickles and other aspects of Jackie’s meal.

We won’t go there again.

Before visiting Mum, we stopped at Haskin’s Garden Centre in West End. I visited the Gents’ Toilet. There was just one vacant urinal at which I took up my station. I glanced to the left of me and noticed a gentleman scanning his mobile phone in his right hand with his somewhat extended member in the other. I glanced to the right of me. Another gentleman was similarly engaged. “Now I’ve seen it all”, I ejaculated. Two mobile phones were pocketed, and two somewhat reduced members stuffed back where they belonged. Two urinals became vacant.

I do hope that is not considered too much information.

We then spent a pleasant hour with Mum before moving on to Margery and Paul’s annual Christmas sing-song. This was as hilarious and chaotic as ever; with some very meaningful conversations taking place in the break during which well prepared tea and Margery’s legendary mini mince pies were served. Our hosts and Mary, the pianist, were in fine form as we muddled through all the old favourites.

This evening we dined on a spic pizza and plentiful fresh salad. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Minervois.

72 responses to “Mediocre Meals; Men’s room Mobiles; Merry Music.”

  1. ‘…β€œNow I’ve seen it all”, I ejaculated…’ – you do have a way with words. πŸ™‚ … I’m glad you called out these wankers … and with their cellphones! Ewwww.

  2. Mobile phones will end up destroying civilisation as we know it. From Potus tweets that have lowered the average IQ of the world, to the idiot child riding his bicycle in peak hour traffic while reading emails to the mental urinary tract infections of moranic males. There are more things in this world, Horatio, that are dreamt of ……………………………………!

  3. Those glasses look awful. It’s too bad the meal was awful, but I’m glad you were able to explain that while still tipping the servers for the their good service. I laughed at your description of the urinal scene. TMI depends on how you meant “ejaculated” to be taken. πŸ˜‰

  4. They charge a thousand bucks for one person here for that meal. Create something they deem a ‘cafe’, but it’s better than anything militantly vegetarian! I guess I’ll have to become a better cook.

  5. Perhaps one day the mighty mobile manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, et al, will release gadgets for the members, that will synch with the main instruments through Bluetooth or NFC or something. It will, of course, have to be a shape-shifter like our brother down under, getting activated with increase in size, ensuring connectivity in moments of expulsive bodily urges, although certain functions envisaged as the evolutionary mechanism may pose significant problems to the counterparts, even if the institution of procreation is undergoing existential challenges with same sex marriages. Perhaps, you will excuse my wild excursion on your post but it was induced by your hilarious take on the madness of mobilification of life.

  6. The ice looked like it was actually a plastic bag. Sorry you had a bad meal and glad you made it up in the night. That glass looks like what came out of my dishwasher before it died on us. They are probably using a very old dishwasher.

  7. Goodness. Here I thought you were going to tell us about someone talking on the phone through their business, but, well, so glad I have no cause to use men’s rooms…That glass, yes, was one I might have hesitated to drink from. But as a prior commenter mentioned, the fourleggers saved the day–as I hope did the visits.

  8. That glass was an absolute abomination, and the food atrocious, doesn’t even look edible. I have no doubt that I’d have sent it all back with my compliments to the Chef; untouched!

    The photographs taken of the filthy glasses I’d have taken to the local health authorities and demanded action be taken, there is no way I’d have put up with what you did.

    The only way these people would get the message is to dob them right in.

    You really didn’t, did you?

  9. As I scrolled through this post I saw top of the filthy glass first – and then realised you actually drank out of it! Oh dear. Then I saw the overcooked broccoli. Oh double-dear. Revolting. I realise you did not wish to complain too strongly, but the least that should have happened is you were brought a replacement beer in a clean glass. Although then you may have needed a loo stop earlier, and been deprived of the next part of the story. Eeew. Hope your mum had a big hug for your on arrival.

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