Tuesday, 6 April 2010



We’ve gone to a tapas place; we’ve never been here before. Though I
should have been here on a work night out, but I ended up too sick to
go. It seems a decent enough place, it’s got some character. Though
still how tapas works for a Christmas night out is something I am
unsure about. The waitresses all have long hair, tied back into pony
tails, uniform blue blouses. The manageress a little older, she wears
a black blouse, has a nose ring, an eyebrow piercing, bobbed dyed red
hair, and an accent.

To the side of our table there is hunched old man, he sits on the same
side as I do, sat essentially on the same length of bench. Seemingly
unconsciously he kicks back, the heel of one foot banging against the
wooden board fronting of the seat. I look around trying to find the
source of the sound, convinced initially that it must be a kid
somewhere, that restless childish behaviour you sometimes encounter in
restaurants. So I’m surprised to realise its him, watching the foot
twitch, wondering if he even knows he is doing it. He is obviously a
regular, though the waitress isn’t as familiar with his habits as the
manager. The waitress takes his plate, asks if he wants coffee, he
says tea. Minutes later the manager takes his empty glass, asks if he
wants tea, he says yes. The menu is one of those which lists a half
dozen types of coffee, a token hot chocolate, but no mention of tea,
but he gets his pot soon enough. Followed by a complimentary shot of
liqueur, which is brought to him without him asking and at the
manager’s nudging of the waitress.

Along the wall there are two couples. One there when we arrive, girl
with long hair, brownish floral dress, and her boyfriend with his flat
cap on the entire way through dinner, nipping out for a smoke between
courses leaving her to stare into space. Between the cap and the
abandoning her for a smoke my brother and I are unimpressed. In the
corner another couple, they arrive after us and leave before us, both
are pretty regular looking, average, she mainly catches the eye from
the colour of her cardigan, a kind of neon bubble gum pink. A mother
daughter sit to my right, a table for four, they sit with their backs
to the wall, cosy together as they chatter away about lives, eating
their tapas and drinking what looks like a jug of sangria. Round from
them a table of 30 somethings, blondes and brunettes, tall and short,
five women together and one boyfriend – when they leave the four women
leave first, the couple loitering a bit out of place at the back.

Dessert defeats me after three plates of tapas – lamb in a tomato
sauce, chicken and potato croquettes and the heavy bowl of chorizo
with black pudding (which keeps me awake through the night). But that
chocolate truffle is too much, too solid, too heavy, after everything
else, and I am forced to concede defeat. The manageress takes the
plates away, but pauses when she sees so much left, questioning
expression, words half on her lips. I’m full I admit, and it was very
heavy, it is she nods, satisfied, and removes the plate. One of the
waitresses goes through the motions of going home – the staff seem to
have a good rapport – she puts on a cardigan, a jacket, finds her bag,
says her good byes. We ask for the bill, and we step out into the


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