Sometimes, trouble comes and finds you but other times, you go out looking for it. A family couple came to visit me for a few days and we arranged to have a Sunday lunch with friends at a famous restaurant in a picturesque village.
Having visited this particular restaurant only a couple of times in the past I was not totally certain of where about in the village it was. The restaurant, started life some 100 years ago as an expensive and beautifully designed family home, and there were a couple of other similarly appointed houses on that same street in the village. There was no sign outside the restaurant to give us a clue so, we either asked a local person or relied on my memory to identify the right building. We chose to rely on my memory.
I drove down the right street and finally decided the colonial-style building with ornate balconies and custard coloured wall wash was the restaurant. I asked my visitors to go inside while I looked for a shady parking spot to leave my car.
The husband must have been particularly hungry that day so he led the way up the garden path and inside the restaurant, followed less enthusiastically by his wife. When I entered the restaurant through the open double front door, I could see the foyer was redecorated since the last time I had a meal there. The only person in the foyer was the wife who was inspecting some pictures on a sideboard. I looked over her shoulder and thought I recognised some of the old pictures of weddings and army types in their full uniforms, babies and children; similar to ones I had seen previously on display throughout the house-converted-to-a-restaurant.
Two elements were missing in the setting: where is my other visitor? Where is the restaurant staff? Faintly, I could hear a female chatter coming from somewhere, which reassured me that someone would soon come and show us to our reserved table.
Someone did come through the door leading to a corridor that connected the room we were in to other parts of the house, but it was not an employee; it was my male visitor with a concerned look on his face.
He (very quietly): Are you sure this is the restaurant?
Me: Why do you ask?
He (still quietly): There are some women in the kitchen cooking and talking amongst themselves
Me (now concerned): Maybe they work here
Him: In their pyjamas and nighties? One of them is in her sixties wearing just a nightie with her enormous boobs hanging out and she is descaling a fish!
Me: I think we entered somebody’s house by mistake!
Her (still holding a picture in her hand): You idiots!
Him: Whose house?
Me: How do I know, let us get out quick!
Her: Did the women see you?
Him: I don’t think so.
Me: Okay, let us walk out before they do!
The three of us somehow acquired a new art form of walking backwards and on tiptoes, a dance move that would have impressed Michael Jackson himself. When we finally left the front door we turned around and ran like three kids who were caught steeling apples by a violent neighbour with a vicious Alsatian dog.