Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Stroganoff

The past few weeks since my last blog have been as trying as usual. To make matters worse I have been left with no outlet for my angst and frustration as I have had no time to write this here blog. This in turn has caused further frustration and annoyance.

To cover the past few weeks would be pointless, suffice to say I’ve been busy. I’ve ran errands. I’ve lost my rag at the innocent and apologised to the guilty. I’ve messed up. I’ve succeeded. I’ve got fatter. I’ve showered regularly and consumed a healthy amount of booze. Actually things have been pretty good I suppose.

This past weekend was Easter of course, and in the words of Homer: “God bless those pagans”

Good Friday was indeed good. I decided that no bank holiday weekend would be complete without a trip to the sea side. Unfortunately because we didn’t get up until the early afternoon and once we had ensured we had enough food to survive the weekend, I drove Lisa to the dizzy heights of British tourisn-and the pride of Merseyside: New Brighton .

The weather was particularly nice and justified the wear-age of sunglasses for all. I was of course banned from wearing my Elvis stylee bins that I love so. Lisa suggested that I would get unwelcome attention from the local OAP and Chavs. In her opinion these rock star glasses are bordering on the line of ‘awful’. Being the affable chap that I pretend to be from time to time I agreed to leave them in the car and proceeded without.

We walked the promenade until we reached the town’s zenith: a bowling alley/chip shop and museum. Naturally we walked towards the museum, but it look terribly boring and after over hearing another couple commenting on the entrance fee of a voluntary £7, we said “see ya later suckers” and walked back down the promenade towards the car. I commented to Lisa that there was an abundance of skinny Chav men holding hands with their overweight and dumpy girlfriends and we had our regular “will you stop bleedin’ moaning” conversation. (yes Lisa is under the impression that I moan? Shocking huh?)

Upon returning to our abode, we popped out to the Albert for a quick pint and despite knowing that the pub has the only beer garden in the UK where you never actually see the sun, we decided to sit outside to enjoy the beverage and the upcoming change of season, marvelling at our own good fortune. Ahhhh spring time afternoon drinking. Nothing could be finer. The dark insides of the pub was relatively empty too and I found myself being the only customer waiting at the bar. Perhaps this could be the quickest drink I’ve ever bought here I thought to myself excitedly. The bar man popped his head arounf the corner and said he won’t be a minute and in the meantime I was joined at the bar by ugly lady and a middle aged man in a cream suit.

The bar man came from the back and asked the ugly lady what she wanted.
She turend to the bar man and said that I was next. I gave my drinks order and thanked her for her bar chivalry. The middle aged man piped up stating “you’ve got to be fair haven’t you’se”. I agreed, but so rarely do these act of kindness happen to me, it reacquainted and rekindled me with the possibilities of the goodness of life.

Once we were seated and Lisa had sparked up a fag, I felt obliged to inform her that Dave from the Zutons was sat behind her. Once again, we failed miserably to do this in a subtle manner. Lisa knew from the many previous encounters with the celeb Z list that I was trying to inform her that someone ‘famous’ was near by from the way I raised my eyebrows and nodded my head.

She got very excited and flustered and starting whispering loudly “where? Who? What time? 3 o’clock? 5 o’clock?” Thankfully to save further humiliation he drank up and left. I explained as to whom she had once again neglected to identify. She was miffed by her own ineptness.

I decided that hence forth, should we find ourselves in a similar situation, we should use a code word that we can fit into and every day conversation in order to alert our friends that someone of note is in the vicinity. Lisa instantly plucked the word ‘Stroganoff’ from the ether. ‘That’ll do’ I thought, and a new code was added to the vocab.

On the Good Friday night, it had been arranged that we should meet up with friends once again in the Albert. Of course at 9.15pm it was pretty busy. After the usual circling of the establishment looking out for our cohorts, we soon realised that despite being over 45 minutes late – we were the first to arrive. We were both surprised to see that there was a vacant table at this hour. Lisa grabbed it fast whilst I proceeded to try and get served. Should you never have been to The Albert, you will know that unless you are on first name terms with the bar staff, grabbing the attention of the booze purveyors, let alone getting a drink, can be a difficult and frustrating task. I waited patiently however. The solitary barman seemed to be under the influence or something and was particularly useless-even for the staff at The Albert. I noted that he had a ginger beard I felt that should I make mine a little more obvious to him, thinking perhaps that he would somehow gain an afirmity with me and serve me next. He didn’t. I could only muse to myself that in fact he had felt so threatened by a superior beard-age that he would harshly punish me, by serving the guy stood next to me who had only recently joined the throbbing and heaving masses at the bar. After 10 eye-rolling minutes of politely trying to catch the barman’s attention, I was eventually served. I overheard a guy stood close by bemoaning that he had been queuing longer than I. I turned around and saw the person, and chuckled quietly and rather sardonically that I had been waiting at the bar at least 7 minutes or so longer than he. Ha.

When I made it back to our table. Lisa looked concerned. I explained my brew-age-struggle and I took back my comments about the Bar Chivalry that I mentioned whilst sat in the beer garden earlier that day. “you’ve got to be fair haven’t you’se (sic)”. Where was my night in shining armour?

JK and JK were nowhere to be seen.

Whilst we sat at the big ‘ole empty table. Lisa requested that I grab the spare chairs by the surrounding table. I explained that I couldn’t do that until I knew for sure that JK and JK where nearby- other wise I would be taking chairs in an impolite and in courteous fashion seeing it could be a aeon before they arrive. I also pointed out that we had already commandeered two additional chairs for them. I didn’t want to appear chair selfish or chair greedy Lisa disagreed, despite my best efforts to convince her it was akin to the clich├ęd German tourists putting their towels on the sun loungers, so I tried to ask one of the ‘ladies’ on the nearby table if they would have any objections to me reserving a chair for our chums. I asked several times and was ignored, or as Lisa would put it “they didn’t hear you”. They had obviously acquired those chairs erroneously in order to reserve the seat-age for their ‘soon to be arriving amigos’. A race was one.

Whilst we waited a group of men in their early thirties stood close by to our table. On of these guys had his back to us, but because of the height of the chairs, his arse was directly level with Lisa’s face and only several inches away. Lisa and I looked at each other and gave a strained smile. “I hope he doesn’t fart” I said.

Lisa moved her chair about a foot away from this arse. But slowly he began encroaching on our territory. I said that I’d say something, but Lisa said it wasn’t a problem. That’s how Hitler started I thought.

Soon Lisa had moved again and narrowly missed his flailing elbows on several occasions. We moved one more time and I suggested to Lisa that she moved to one of the reserved chairs in order to prevent any possibly accident. She declined to do so. The next time his elbow swung past Lisa’s face, I patted him on his demin jacket clad arm and said :

“Excuse me mate, would you mind moving forward a bit please? Your elbows keeping ‘just’ missing her face. We keep moving and you keep getting closer”

I smiled at him to re-assure him that I wasn’t being a dick and even said the latter half of the sentence in a laugh-cum- talk type speech. He looked down at me and then across to Lisa and curled his lip in a juvenile and disapproving manner. “You should have sat there” he said beckoning with his ¾ full pint towards the empty seats. Damn it.

“Erm, our friends are sat there.”

He moved away, still wearing that look of disgust. He started to talk to his companions and you knew they were talking about us. Great. Where the hell are JK and JK?!

Lisa reassured me that I’d asked nicely and how cheeky he was. I was too busy hoping that the JKs arrived to bolster my thinly veiled lie I had just told. I also was very nearly also out of beer. I wasn’t prepared to leave Lisa on her own whilst I struggled to get served again. Arse face man was still nearby and I caught him and his mates looking at me. Thankfully at that moment our arse faced alibis arrived. Jane, Kel and Ally. Thank frig for that I thought and went to the bar for some more punishment.

This time I was served a little quicker, however a smallish woman to my right bellowed to a friend of hers the other side of the bar at such great volume I recoiled in disgust. Her mate came round and it was pretty clear they were conspiring to snorting further drugs. I looked out of the front door as not to have to look at their sad middle aged faces, and gazed upon the hooded clad teenage tearaways that haunt the pub’s rear entrance and wondered to myself what it was that made me come back to this hole?

At least I could get served quicker now though I figured. Alas this wasn’t the case and the coke fiend banshee who ruptured my eardrum moments earlier had accidentally walked into the piss head in the wheel chair, causing him to spill his pint, and in fact part of his wheel chair fell of on to the wooden floor loudly. She felt obliged to buy him a replacement drink and the charitable bar man decided to serve him her again, despite the fact I’d been waiting there for bleedin’ ages.
Eventually after being served I went back to our table (past the arse man gang) and gave Lisa her pint.

The conversation flowed as well as ever and kudos was indeed reigned upon me for my ‘stroganoff’ concept, although suitable kudos was apportioned to Lisa as after all she chose the word.

Even with the six pints of Guinness making my disposition good to soft, I was still unsure why we weren’t in one of the other pubs in the area, however upon my 5th trip to the toilet (when did my bladder become so weak?) I spotted something that made me laugh to heartedly it summed up the pub’s finest points. Nope, it wasn’t the sight of another man’s lesser penis as you’d image, rather upon the wall where I was looking –directly above the urinal, there was a small sentence written neatly in very small handwriting between two bathroom tiles that said:

“small graphitti rules ok”

It sure does I thought.

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