Sometimes, when I deliver a course, I’m lucky enough to be taken to lunch. This usually comes between the intense morning session and the challenging afternoon.
A little while ago, I was working in a hotel, where we were also to have lunch.
This establishment was, errmmm, a little jaded.
Actually, it was a disaster: sticky carpets, wallpaper deciding it wanted to part company with the wall it had previously been so attached to, flipchart pads that were damp and marker pens that were about as much use as trying to read a biro from five miles away.
So, it wasn’t with much enthusiasm that I was looking forward to lunch.
But I was so wrong. It was brilliant.
Well, brilliant may give the wrong impression. Hilarious is probably a better description. I certainly wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Lunch was served (or, more accurately, lunch was plonked) on the table by what my dad, who is from deepest, darkest Suffolk, would call a ‘big ol’ girl’, with a formidable presence. When I say ‘formidable’ what I meant was she had ‘Love’ and ‘Hat’ (because she’d lost her little finger) tattooed on her knuckles and an over bite that you could use as a bottle opener.
Lunch consisted of mince and cabbage… in fact, it was really nostalgic… it was just like being back at school again.
A plate of mince and cabbage was banged down on the table in front of one of my delegates, who had been lucky enough to have been staying at the hotel all week.
‘But I’m vegetarian!’ He said. ‘I’ve been vegetarian all week – you know that!’
The look he was given was enough to shrivel his toe nails, but the delegate stood his ground.
‘Oh,’ came the reply. ‘Do you want me to scrape the mince off?’
‘No!’ The fella was amazed. ‘I can’t eat the gravy and I don’t want just a plate of cabbage, thanks very much!’
‘Well, what do you want?’ The waitress demanded, leaning forward menacingly.
‘I don’t know,’ said the man. ‘Maybe a cheese salad?’
There came a loud sniff of disapproval. ‘I’ll have to see if chef has got any cheese!’