It's Wednesday; I'm watching Channel 4; a programme called Superscrimpers. Advice: want to book a cheap restaurant? Check out toptable.com. Great! A site full of restaurant deals. A bit of searching and I find something I like: The Place Restaurant on Ducie Street. To the Place we would go. Days are spent in preparation: I get my hair styled; I get my legs waxed and eyebrows plucked; I have scent enhancement treatment; my tongue is kept free of contaminants; I buy a suit; I buy some brogues; I invest in a taxi so I can arrive in style. Disaster strikes; The taxi fails to turn up; a sign that events are turning bad.
Left, I am, to travel on a bus. This opens my senses and nerves to all sorts of little annoyances: People who get on the bus and don't know where they are going. Or people who don't have their money ready. Or girls, on phones, talking extremely loudly, saying "like" every other word, and speaking with a faux, royal accent, their sentences ending with a little burp. Or men, aggressively clearing their throats of the days tobacco and coke abuse. Or men, thick with the smell of sweat and eau de toilette. Grim times.
I arrive at The Place late. It's not immediately obvious; Where is the restaurant? I ask the girl on reception. First thing I've got to ask. Why look me up and down as though I'm not fit to be in your presence? You're just a girl behind a desk. I'm wearing a suit, polished brogues, and I can afford to get my hair brushed. Don't look at me like that; you pathetic piece of protoplasm.
"Are you going to the ball tonight?"
"The ball sir. It's in the restaurant."
"No, I've booked to have a meal."
"I'm afraid the restaurant is being used for a ball this evening. We are serving food in the hotel lobby; please...sit anywhere."
Like hell I will. Serving food in the hotel lobby? It looks like a Weatherspoons. It smells like one too; all bleachy and masculine. There's no way I can eat my food in here. Why let me book a table for the restaurant if it's not available? Who the hell are these people? I leave in a huff. On the way out I'm convinced I hear the woman shout, "good fucking riddance!" My fiancé insists I need my ears checking. What to do? It's 9pm. Only one option; to The Greenhouse for a nice pie. Bliss!
The next day I'm fairly pissed. I receive an email from Toptable.com asking if enjoyed my meal. Stern reply sent, I head off to town for lunch and an appointment. I intend to go to Pizza Express for their Etna only to discover it's been removed from the menu. Could the weekend get worse? Their best pizza gone? I nearly cry. I run through the alternatives but come up with nothing. My fiancé suggests The Knott. Too worn out to argue, I agree.
It's still early so I choose the smoked salmon kedgeree. What a revelation. Simply marvellous food. I can heartily recommend a bit of mild spice for breakfast; and all to the tune of The Pixies. Everything that has gone wrong - The taxi, The Place, the failed rapture, Pizza Express - disappear from my mind. I am happy again; my weekend saved; thank you Knott; I love you; thank you.