Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Ham Shanks Secret Diary - The one with the birthday lunch

Yes I know it was a long holiday - I was kidnapped by aliens and probed ....... I didnt say it wasnt enjoyable! That's why this diary is so late .........

Ham Shanks Secret Diary w/e 26th August 2007

It’s your mums’ birthday, you want to take her out for a nice meal; cos she’s your mum and you love her. You don’t mind splashing some cash; cos she’s always been there for you since you were a little boy and it’s the very least you can do. This year is not going to be a repeat of last years KFC special, certainly not after the unbecoming scenes in the drive thru. No, this year we will be eating out, and eating somewhere that uses table clothes no less.

After exhaustive telephone and internet research a country inn with a highly recommended Michelin ‘Gastopub’ restaurant is reserved for the meal. All the bruvs and their better halves are instructed to scrub themselves up nice and bonny, put on their very best glad rags and to make an extra special effort for mothers’ big day out. A lot of repair work needs to be done after last years bargain bucket went so Pete Tong; as a result no stone is being left unturned.

My older bruv is going thru the checklist as mum puts on the last of her slap indoors. The twins are stood to attention at the side of the car ‘Restaurant booked – check’, ‘brothers suitably attired’ he glances up at us and our glaicket faces beam back at him, he sighs, ‘check and check’, ‘car valet’ he takes a quick stroll round the gleaming vehicle, running a white gloved finger over the paintwork he examines the cottoned digit closely before returning to his clipboard ‘check’, ‘okay Gentleman we are good to go’, ‘lets execute phase one of Operation Dessert Storm’ ……

We stare at him blankly ‘whut?’, ‘we ran over this three times yesterday in the pre-dinner briefing’ he exclaims, rolling his eyes in disbelief. My twin and I glance at each other and then at the sky ‘I cannay see a storm, can you?’ I whisper in my bruvs ear ‘I think that shirt collar is cutting aff the blood tae his brain’ mumbles Fraz in return. Neil throws his arms in the air ‘just get everybody in the f*cking car’ he shouts wearily.

Having arrived at our destination we escort the birthday girl inside. We are directed to ‘The snug’ where our order will be taken. It’s very posh. There are no end of dead animals adorning the walls and a fair selection of pots, pans, tennis rackets and typewriters ‘they could do with a closet’ I mumble to Fraz who elbows me into silence as we both wither under the ferocity of our elder brothers glare. A waitress appears with some menus and takes a drink order while we soak up the ambience ‘better than Macky Dee’s int it’ I murmur quietly. Unfortunately Neilly’s bionic ear has picked up unauthorised conversation and I am glowered into silence.

Orders taken we are ushered through into the conservatory where we will be enjoying our meal. Mootha is well made up, it’s amazing how much more enjoyable it is ‘living the dream’ compared to bellowing your order into a plastic bespectacled geriatric. Looks like Neil is well on his way to achieving the much coveted ‘Golden Boy’ status for organising this one.

The waitress comes to clear away the starters and asks if we want more drinks. What the heck, lets have some wine. She leaves us the wine list and departs to get our main courses. We peruse the list and plump for a fruity Australian red ‘you cant go wrong with New World wines’ I venture warily ‘you never get a bad year’ I continue with reckless abandon. Glancing across at ‘control’ I wait for the mesma stare. However the thought police deem this to be acceptable conversation and I bask in a glow of self satisfaction as we wait patiently for the waitress to return.

It’s dark now and still the waitress is missing in action. We’ve given up on the wine, presumably they had to get the bottle from Australia and that’s why it’s taking so long. Perhaps they should have stipulated the six weeks delivery time on the menu? Now we are just holding out for the main course. The nutritional sustenance gleaned from my wild salmon in dill mayonnaise has long since passed and my stomach is grumbling as I swallow another piece of table cloth. It would be nice to have something to wash it down with. Neil has gone in search of the staff; he’s not happy.

After a frank and honest exchange of views with the waiting staff our main course finally arrives. I don’t know if it was as a result of the complaint but the culinary standards seem to be slipping. Michelin rated gastopub my @rse! But it’s mums day out so we button our lips.

The final fly on the turd came with the desserts. Neil is a major dessert fan; he would forgo the first two courses if he had too. He likes his pudding. After another lengthy wait, presumably while they went out to milk the cow for his fresh cream, the desserts arrived. Neil had ordered a mango, kiwi fruit and fresh cream ‘twin tower’ supported with a network of shortbread ‘supports’ It looked majestic as they carted it out of the kitchen. If his grin had been any wider the top of his head would have fallen off.

Ironic as he was indeed about to lose his head….. One spoonful and the wide grin was swiftly replaced by a narrow pursing of the lips and grimacing of the cheeks. Rarely an indicator of complete satisfaction ‘gnnffforfuuucksakke’ The offending mouthful was sprayed out at high velocity; coating mother in a creamy pebbledash which I would have to concede took some of the shine off the day for her ‘this tastes of fecking onion’ he exclaimed in disbelief ‘GET THE MANAGER!’ he bellowed at the cowering waitress ‘NOW!!’

Mr Fawlty duly arrived and was at pains to assure Neil that in no way could the fresh cream have been stored near onions ‘if you don’t believe me taste it’ retorted my brother. So here’s an interesting strategy for customer service, rather than just apologising and taking the dish back he replied ‘I’ll just get a fresh spoon sir’ Fraz and I donned our tin hats and ran for cover.

Talk about painting yourself into a corner. His options now are a) confirm that he thinks you’re a liar or b) confirm that he’s a complete idiot. After taking a mouthful of the sullied dessert and screwing his face up with disgust he had to agree that it ‘wasn’t right’ So the correct answer was b) he’s a complete f*cking idiot.

We declined his kind offer of a replacement as the average life expectancy of a human in the UK is only three score year and ten; we’d be dead before it arrived.

Pizza Hut next year then?

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Ham is on holiday

Ham is on his holibags so nae diaries fer a couple of weeks (is that a 'Hurrah' I heard?)

It was going to be a walking holiday but given the weather it may be a diving holiday instead!

See ye in a couple of weeks

Kindest Regards


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