The woman at the next table to ours was seriously, seriously loud. I mean mega-loud. Mr B, I could tell, was getting agitated.
I didn’t like to point out that he had chosen the table. There were only two other tables with diners seated at them and lots of empty places where we could have settled ourselves. But no, he had chosen the table right next to the Noisy One.
To be fair, he chose the table before the Noisy One pulled her mobile phone out of a capacious handbag and proceeded to yell instructions down it to a friend who was trying
to find somewhere to park. This one-sided conversation went on for so long that it was all Mr B could do not to wrest the phone from her fist and yell: “USE YOUR SAT NAV!” to the problem parker. Even the diners at the table in
the window, some distance from us, were looking restive and muttering crossly. The single waitress chose the path of least resistance by ignoring everything and blithely going about her business. I can’t say I blamed her.
Mr B was treating me to a Birthday Plus One lunch out at a local French restaurant. Tomorrow we will have a Birthday Plus Two lunch out at a tapas restaurant (we are very EU, don’t you think?)
when a couple of Darling Daughters arrive to help me celebrate. Faris is coming too which is the reason I am not making too much fuss about the Noisy One. Tomorrow we may just be the Annoying Table ourselves.
There is almost always an Annoying Table, don’t you reckon? There’s the table where the diners think they own the restaurant, pushing their chairs back and sprawling all over the place so
that it is impossible to squeeze past them when you need to repair to the washroom. What do you think of that description, by the way: “Repair to the washroom.” It sounds vaguely American to me and not at all my customary style. I rather
like it. I plan to use it a few times just to test out the reactions of my Nearest and Dearest. “Do you mean the Little Girls’ Room?” the Middle of the Darling Daughters will doubtless ask me. Mind you, be careful who you criticise
as I remember last year in Cyprus the annoying diner at the table next to ours, taking up all the room did, in fact, turn out to be the owner...
Then there is
the table where every order appears to go wrong, with the customers constantly summoning the staff with yet another complaint so that your own ham omelette and jacket potato goes cold on the pass waiting for someone to be free to serve it. Or the table
with several under five year olds all throwing food at each other as if practising to be tomorrow’s undergraduates at a particularly unruly Uni Ball.
is unfair to Young Faris to suggest that his presence may define us as the Annoying Table tomorrow. Indeed, virtually since birth, he has been the most accommodatingly portable baby, joining us at all manner of cafes and restaurants where he has behaved impeccably.
It usually helps however, when some or all of the older grandchildren are present, willingly taking it upon themselves to keep their youngest cousin entertained. Tomorrow the four oldest grandkids will be noticeable by their absence, engaged as they
will be in exam revision and Grease rehearsals. I am hoping for wall to wall sunshine tomorrow so that after our meal we can take a walk along the prom, prom, prom to reward Young Faris for good behaviour.
The door of the restaurant opens and the Noisy One’s friend bursts in. There is much air kissing and hugging going on, so much so that we almost feel left out. We are all treated to a blow by blow account of how the
friend’s SatNav directed her to a nearby car park, followed by a detailed discussion about whether this was, indeed, the nearest car park or whether there was a nearer one where she could have parked. At which point a fourth person arrives to join the
party and the whole pantomime begins again. I advise Mr B to concentrate on the menu while I continue to eavesdrop shamelessly in the hope that I might just overhear a few priceless comments which could make their way into the Daily Blog. Unfortunately
the conversation, though loud, is very boring, mostly concentrating on which fillings everyone wants in their galettes.
It was so, well, annoying...