The restaurant was expensive. When faced with the menu I chose the most expensive thing – not because I thought I better make it worth my while since it might be the only date, or that Joseph looked like he possessed a bulging wallet. The venison dish was the only thing on the menu that I could eat. Everything else had a fish connection and I was never big on fish. I am glad to say that I have since lifted the ban on fish.
The other thing that sticks in my memory about the date is the coffee. For a very expensive restaurant one might have expected a jug of milk but resting beside the cup, on the edge of the saucer was a plastic portion of milk. I spent quite a while trying to pull the foil lid off. I was listening to what Joe was saying with less than my full attention. I eventually worked out that that if I snapped the little triangle of plastic on the edge of wee pot I could get to the milk. The trouble was the little triangle of plastic broke and fell into my coffee. There might have been a spoon, but I was loath to try to retrieve the little plastic triangle. I didn’t want to draw attention to what had happened. I assumed that if I sipped very slowly and left an inch or two of coffee at the bottom of the cup I would be fine. I forgot about leaving the inch or two of coffee. The cup was drained and the little plastic triangle was not there. I had swallowed it.
Joseph confessed much later that the plan had never been to go to a posh restaurant at all. It was only when I turned up on his doorstep dressed up that he felt obligated to take me somewhere posh.
Giving the girls the lowdown on the date afterwards one of my friends wailed, “You ate Bambi!”
It was our twenty second anniversary not so long ago. The posh restaurant was intentional this time. Yet again I was faced with a fish menu with venison buried in the middle of it. Braised venison and pheasant sausage, something apparently associated with Winston Churchill.
It wasn’t a comfortable meal for me.
The venue was the Atholl Arms Hotel in Blair Atholl. There was the usual mixture of all things Scottish - tartan carpets, roaring log fires and around the room, mounted on the walls, the skulls of a couple of dozen or more deer heads complete with antlers.
Every empty eye socket was turned in my direction. The antlers took on a menacing air. Not only was I eating Bambi, but I had an audience of his long gone relatives watching me do so. And the pheasant sausage was disgusting.
I read last week in one of the newspapers about David Cameron in some Scandinavian country sealing an agreement of some kind with a meal of braised reindeer.
“You ate Rudolph!” I wailed to no one at all since the front room was empty. I am not sure who committed the greatest crime – me eating Bambi or him eating Rudolph.