Thursday, 17 November 2011


I started off the other day intending to chat about food but I got sort of side-tracked, tangented. That's a good word, isn't it? It's one of my own invention and means sent off on a tangent. That's one thing that is done quite a lot in our house. Inventing words, I mean. My wife (otherwise known as the Old Bat, She Who Must be Obeyed, 'Er Indoors and various other terms of endearment) has probably invented more words than William Shakespear himself. (The name - Shakespear - had got a twiddly red line under it but I'm sure it is one of the permitted variations of the Bard's name. Even he used different spellings from time to time. A bit like my 7 x great grandfather - and his son and grandson - who had several different ways of spelling Waldegrave. It was sometimes Waldgrave, sometimes Walgrave, or Walgrove, or Woldgrave etc etc.) Now, where were we? Oh yes, the Old Bat's propensity for inventing words.

Actually, that's not right. She doesn't really invent words, she uses existing words in new ways. It's usually a matter of turning a noun into a verb. For example, whereas you or I might well put garden rubbish into a black sack, the Old Bat would say, 'I'll black sack it'. See? She's turned "black sack" into a verb. Ok, split hairs if you must. I did say she uses nouns as verbs and there she has used both a noun and an adjective - but the principle remains the same.

Talking of being tangented, have you noticed that Blogger has changed the colours of the "new post" screen? Anyway, food.

In my abortive post about food, I mentioned that here in Brighton we have a lot of restaurants. I don't actually eat in restaurants very often here in England so I can't be too dogmatic about the way English people act when they go to restaurants. There is one quirk I have noticed about French people. You get a party of, say, four or six - or it could be 24, it really doesn't matter - shown to a table in a restaurant and handed copies of the menu. Each of them immediately puts down the menu without opening it and starts to talk. Some minutes later, the waiter (or waitress, there's no sexism involved) comes by to take their order. At that point, the party realise they were supposed to have looked at the menu and, as one, they pick them up - and proceed to read every word on every page. With the à la carte as well as several fixed-price menus, this could easily involve half a dozen pages. Every word will be read, including the lunch-time only menu - despite the fact that it is now 8.15pm. Then each member of the party will need to discuss a different dish with the waiter (or waitress - there's still no sexism involved).

A party of English people are shown to their table and handed the menu. They immediately open said menus, quickly glance down the à la carte section and turn to the cheapest fixed-price menu available. It just so happens that there is one dish in each course that is particularly well-liked. Decision made, the menus are put down and the party chats until the waiter (or - well you know) arrives to take the order.

We still haven't really got around to food and now I've got to go out to do staff appraisals for the Lions Housing Society. Perhaps we will get round to food tomorrow.

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