Friday, November 11, 2011



Well, H, you know who you are.

In the mid-1990s you had us around to dinner.  I don't remember the main course, but the dessert was a simply exquisite home-made ice cream.  Even as I write this, many years later, I find myself salivating at the happy memory, the subtle flavour, the delicious and sublime experience.  I clearly remember saying what a remarkable and excellent dessert it was and how much I had enjoyed it.

Clearly, the Code of the Hostess kicked in. On two subsequent occasions when we were invited to dinner, there was no sign of home-made ice cream.  I assume this is because the Code of the Hostess means that you are forbidden from ever serving the same thing twice.  Blow the guests: it's all about diversity.

Or did England run out of dairy products?


Well, M, you know who you are.  (You are not Margaret).

About ten years ago you invited us around for a meal.  You even did the decent thing, knowing what a fussy eater I am, by phoning up a few days beforehand to ask if I ate Mexican.  I clearly remember my reply "Everything other than beans."

So I was a little surprised on arrival to discover the meal consisted of a good deal of beans.  I suspect there was widespread starvation in Mexico that year as there were so many beans in the food.  I did look at the driveway afterwards to see of there were imprints from the tyres of the heavy lorries that must have been needed to deliver all these blasted beans.  Indeed there must have been a platoon of chefs and a portable kitchen required just to cook them.

I ate everything else on my plate and consequently all that was left was a plate filled to the brim with beans.  And a hungry me.  You need to remember advice given to trainee lawyers "Don't ask a question you don't know the answer to."  Strange though it may seem, when I said I don't like beans what I actually meant was I DON'T LIKE BEANS.

I am already working on the steak and kidney pudding for when you next visit us, little missy.  Lots of kidney.


Well, Big R, you know who you are.

It's amazing.  I won't see you for two weeks and yet the moment I open my lunch at my desk, there you are, having decided that the ideal time for a business discussion is when my mouth is full of sandwich.  Perhaps you don't like the replies I give you when my mouth is empty; possibly your preferred mode of conversation is a monologue; it may be that you have an astigmatism in your eyes that somehow makes food invisible.

Now this may be a flaw in me.  If one could go back a few million years and see my ancestors, crouched over their latest kill in the wild plains of the Serengeti, you might observe that they didn't like company while eating.  Typically this would have been because when your neolithic neighbour came across to ask how the hunt went, what they really meant was "Ooh, that looks delicious, can I have some?" and when it's taken you three weeks to hunt down the fleeting gazelle that was the best substitute available in those days for cornflakes and that only appeared on your breakfast menu because it was a sickly runt, the whole subject of sharing was something that people did not talk about in polite company.

I suspect those genes have passed down through countless generations to me.  So, Big R, listen carefully.  The only time I am happy to talk business over a meal is when you are paying.  I have a list of restaurants you could invite me to, available at a moment's notice.

I realise this limits you to only eight or nine hours a day we can chat but do be a good fellow and try.

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