A diverse offering twixt the interesting, the unusual, and the amusing.
Sunday, 17 January 2016
I was up at school quite near Cambridge, whilst my home at the time was on the South Coast.
Several of my school contemporaries were from either London or the South East, so at the end of each school term we would together take the train down to Liverpool Street, then take a taxi to Victoria Station. There were usually about 5 or 6 of us.
Near the station, round by Grosvenor Gardens, was a small Italian restaurant where we would all have lunch together before saying our goodbyes for whichever holidays were on offer. It became our tradition to eat there, and we did so, without fail, three times a year for four years.
Over this time, the waiters got to know us quite well, and I seem to remember that, after a couple of years, we even started calling them by their names; it was all very friendly even though we only visited very occasionally. When we did turn up, it was like meeting old family members that we hadn't seen for years. They would make a real fuss of us. Our distinctive school uniforms and fancy boaters must have made us instantly recognisable.
Our menu never changed from visit number one. We all ate Spaghetti Bolognese, and each drank a pint of Watneys Red Barrel. The waiters would come to our table with those classic huge salt and pepper mills and always made a flourish when serving us. It was as much great theatre as great gastronomy.
Going home for the holidays was always good, but eating our Spag Bol at this restaurant was even better.
I'll never forget the very last time we all visited; it was late July 1964. We mentioned to the waiters that it would be our last collective visit, and a bottle of Chianti was instantly offered by the management as a goodbye present. They were genuinely sorry that our little tradition was to end.
I doubt very much if the restaurant is still there, so in retrospect I'd like to thank those wonderful Italian guys for making our visits so much fun. It gave me a real taste for Italian food (and lifestyle) that has never left me.
The difference between an optimist and a pessimist, is that the optimist enjoys himself whilst waiting for the inevitable! I AM that optimist!
This is a daily, optimistic, 'photos and comments' blog. I make no judgements (only occasionally), just notes. If you wish to comment in any way at all, please feel free. Everything and everyone (except the obdurate and dictatorial) is very welcome.
I was born just south of London, but for the past 46 years I've lived in S W France. I am a painter by profession, and writer by desire. Lady Magnon and I live in an ancient cottage, in a tiny village, in perfectly tranquil countryside. We have a vegetable garden called 'Haddock's' (this may crop up from time to time), plenty of fruit trees, and a view that takes the breath away; we also have a Border Collie called Billy. I try to treat our planet with respect, and encourage others to do likewise (without preaching).
Contentment is a glass of red, a plate of charcuterie, and a slice of good country bread. Perfect!