Monday, September 22, 2003


Ham Shanks Secret Dairy - Part 13

Ham Shanks Secret Diary w/c 15th September 2003

“Athh thh thh thhh thhaaa” ….. “Whut?” .. “Athh thh thh thaaa!” … “Eh?” …. “Athh” “ok Helen what the bloody hell have we just ordered then?” - We are at one of Utrechts “authentic resaurants” ……… Spanish in case you hadnt guessed (I’m with an old schoolfriend frae Aberdeen - who also spent a few years in Spain) Hence the desire for Spanish scran and the talent for lisping and stuttering at the same time ….. or Spanish as it’s more commonly known (Apologies to Spaniards everywhere but I’ve been ripping the pish out of the cloggies for ages so I thought I’d gie them a break)

It was fortunate Helen was there cos I couldn’t read the dutch or the spanish on the menu! (by the way Dutch classes start on Monday – so lookout for next weeks language disaster) anyway I digress (as usual) Helen ordered us a plate of prawns and seafood paella (sounds like yer offering a weegie burd a fishy bakery product doesn’t it)

(I decided to try more seafood after last weeks success with the fannys, eeer I mean mussels)

At this juncture I would like to point out that spanish table service is just as lamentable as the cloggies. By some strange quirk of nature Spain and the Nertherlands have evolved identical waiting staff, not physically identical obviously. The Chessemen are 7ft laidback pipecleaners and yer average Spaniard is 5ft three of raging greasy testosterone, but “spiritually” they are like twins.

Your average male example is of 17-21 years of age with extremely poor eyesight, hard of hearing, inherently low IQ and in bad need of a haircut. These disabilities do not prevent males of the species from engaging in playful banter with their male co-workers and showing off to the females (for hours on end while you slowly dessicate and turn to dust at the end of the bar) The female, or waitress as they are sometimes called, are a different kettle of fish altogether. The female takes more care over her appearance (usually while your trying to get her fecking attention) often seen reapplying layers of animal fat and pigmented ink around her eyes and lips the female is of higher IQ (or so they always tell us) thus she has realised that serving people food and drink is a crap low paid job …. However if you do it with yer tits and arse hanging out the tips are better, well from the men (and the ladies with the dungarees and DM’s)

Sadly for our waiting staff “Customer care” are two words as alien as “curteous” and “polite” and “personal hygiene” ……. But that’s another two ….. so four words really …..sorry

After two or three hours a basket of bread arrived, I put away my swiss army knife and untied the lady from the next table, she looked stunned to be free from her bonds, this was a tense time, what would she do? ….. she rose unsteadily to her feet and glanced around dazed and confused …….. 1 elephant …2 elephant …3 elephant and she was gone! jumping like a gazelle over a party of schoolkids out the door and down the street……. it was a majestic site a miracle of the natural world, I was filling up. You could almost feel her enjoyment as she sprinted down the street towards the police station … “Ach well we wud never have managed tae cook her over the candle anyway” and with that we set about the bread.

The main course arrived surpisingly quickly (only an hour and a half after we’d finished hoovering the crumbs out of the bread basket and 2/3rds of the way through the plastic tablecloth) I do have to say though the food was delicious …….. well the paella was ……. Well the bits of the paella that wernt prawns ……. or squid ……….. or octo-f*cking-pus ….. so the rice was nice. I did try one of the prawns, well it was more like a small lobster than a prawn. Stop me if I’m wrong but a prawn is a wee pink thing that ye find (occasionally) in a spring roll or even more rarely hiding between two limp pieces of lettuce and the four litres of seafood dressing that masquerades as a “prawn cocktail”

Look what I’m trying to say is a prawn shouldn’t look like a fecking alien that’s just ripped it’s way through someones abdomen IT HAS EYES! …….. the fecking thing was giving me a padington hard stare …… I nearly shat masel …. Six feck off big “prawns” TWELVE EYES looking at me …… I swear one of them was faking it ….. little bastard just waiting for me to reach out then it’d leap from the plate and start burrowing in tae me ………. “I can see ya ye wee bastard …. Dinnay think I cannay ye wee fecker”

Meanwhile Helen has proceeeded to rip the head off the first prawn and is eviscerating it in front of my very eyes, the noises are terrifying, three big cracks as the exoskeleton is ripped off (with her bare hands) a noise like a plunger being pulled out of a particularly difficult toilet accompanies the soft flesh as it is plucked from its former protective shell. She’s got the head in one hand and she’s sucking out it’s brains (or so it seems to me) “DEAR GOD NOOOOOOOOO” I scream, “This isnt happening”, “This is all a nightmare” I’m whimpering now, rocking myself gently in my chair and wishing I wasn’t wearing light coloured trousers (beige and urine are never a good mix)

Strange gurgling sucking noises are emminating from the other side of the table, my eyes are shut tight “There’s no place like home”, “There’s no place like home” I keep chanting but theres no fecking rainbow and the noises get louder, each crack like a whiplash …… “pull yourself together man it’s only a prawn” ……… I half open a tearful eye and the carnage is unbelievable …… I hear the theme to platoon start in my head as I look down agog on the “battelfield” ….. it’s nae a pretty site there are heads and limbs everywhere (how many legs does a prawn have? …. About 43 each side I guess looking at the mess on the table) “That wis awfy fine” Helen remarks, oblivious to my slack jaw, red eyes and stained trousers. “Mmmnnggff” I reply “Aye they were grand prawns” …. “Huuaaggmmmff .. mmm glad …yoo …enjoyed thm” … “Shall we get the bill?”

I paid the bill giving the waitress a sizeable tip “Dinnay catch yer tits ona barbed wire fence luv” honest and sage advice that she would be foolish to ignore. Financially I couldn’t find a thousandth of a euro bit so I gave her the steam off my shite instead (this being directly proportional to the standard of service)

Anyway kids that’s me for another week. It’s Sunday night and I’m aff tae bed got to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for my Dutch course tomorrow (what could possibly go wrong …………….)


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