Friday, November 07, 2008

A Trip to Taunton

Aside

I was staring in a shop window - mesmerised – decided it wasn’t relevant to my shopping list and, reaching out for my husband’s hand I looked in to the eyes of a startled, large, grey haired woman. MTL had wandered off. Why do men do that?


It was quite a long walk from the car park to Marks and Spencers so we decided to have a coffee once there. The French had had a good shop there and extolled the virtues of the cafe which we had never noticed – hidden as it is. They did say it was very popular and we may have to queue. It was, so we continued shopping and bought a classic grey cardigan for the birthday boy and some attractive blue slippers. That was all I was allowed to buy for him, in the clothes line although he did find three knives he couldn’t live without. I refused to buy them for him – not that I’m superstitious – I just don’t believe in taking chances. He bought them himself so all was well.


This all took much longer than it sounds what with the wandering off and the male reluctance to try anything on. BTW M&S it behoves you to have a seat where you are selling footwear. It was lunch time so we tried the caff again and spotted two ladies about to leave their table. They confirmed this and said the waitress would clear their crocks and I stood politely by to allow them to vacate and the waitress to clear the table. Just as I was about to sit down, a woman appeared from nowhere and plonked herself down.


I told her politely that this was our table and we had been waiting for the waitress to clear it. She said she HAD to sit down and we knew how she felt, so I asked her if she would mind sitting at the next table which had a vacant seat. No she said she needed this table as her friend was coming. The waitress and I stared at each other and I think both realised that it would take a big ruckus to move the woman. If she had had the courtesy to ask it would have been different but I told myself maybe she was ill.


So we carried on with our shopping and left the delights of the café for another day. I wonder what you would have done? The good thing was I managed to get every thing on my very varied list and wasn’t tempted to buy any fripperies but I did treat myself to a red handbag to joosh up my muted winter wardrobe. On the way back we had lunch at the Inn at Crowcombe which was better than any crowded café.

.

37 comments:

Mrs Pouncer said...

I am very superstitious about buying knives and, even worse, being given them (which, admittedly, doesn't happen very often, but hey).
My grandmother always said that you should press a coin of the realm into the hand of a knife-giver, and she included in this the man who ran the knife-sharpening booth in Clayton Square, Liverpool. This meant that he always got at least a ha'penny over the odds, which made her feel bountiful. She once told me, "it's what the Queen does, you know". I was about 5, and tried to imagine her Maj. in the queue with a bit of Sheffield steel wrapped up in a page of The Echo.

lom said...

How rude! It would have depened on what mood I was in to what I would have done, it could have gone one of two ways either I would have sat in the other seat and refused to move, or like you walked away, but I would have had a word with the manager first.

R. Sherman said...

Actually, the waitress should have removed her, politely but firmly. Doing nothing in that situation only encourages these clods to continue their boorish behavior.

As for your first paragraph, you're fortunate you didn't try to give YTL a big smooch at that moment.

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

THe waitress should have removed her, but some waitresses don't have the personality to take on a difficult customer.
Having said that, I find it very interesting that I stumbled onto your blog today to read this post. I've had several people tell me similar stories about people taking their seats in restaurants lately, and I'm wondering if it's become a trend.

If there were other seats available, I would have politely, but firmly, stood my ground and simply sat down, looked the waitress in the eye, and firmly ordered a cup of coffee! LOL

But, of course, it's all easy to say in hindsight!

wontletlifedefineme said...

That holding hands with strangers bit happened to a friend of mine too not long ago. And why do men wander off? I often end up talking to myself when I want to tell my boyfriend something when we're shopping together.

I'd say the waitress should have told that woman to move over. What I would have done would have depended on my mood. If I'm tired I get cranky and more assertive in this type of situation. I would have told her to go and have a seat and be tired elsewhere.

And what's the bad luck with knives? I don't think we have that over here. And good knives make all the difference when cooking.

PI said...

Mrs P: your grandmother was absolutely right and I remembered it was my late Jewish American S.I.L who impressed the importance of it on me, when she bought my B.I.L a knife, when we all stayed in a freezing cold hotel in Tain after we had scattered my MIL's ashes at Tarbat Ness. Thanks for the memory which was sad, but precious.

Randall: I do feel a bit wimpish but I couldn't help feeling if I stood up to her she may have just been having chemo therapy or something similar.
I only kiss MTL in the street after he has bought me a piece of jewellry and he did ask me to see if I could see any pearls I liked(30th anniversary is pearls but it's not till next year)but it doesn't feel right buying such things now.

PI said...

LOM: to sit in the seat would have been courageous and would serve her right.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Table Rage ... it makes your blood boil doesn't it? The number of times I've stood balancing tray, bags, toddler and pram looking for a spot to perch while people like this 'bag' tables for their friends further back in the queue. My father had a novel approach - when someone once annoyed him in a restaurant he sat down, and ate the flowered centrepiece, staring them down. Needless to say they left, quickly, and he won his table.

Kath said...

Aw, I'm so sorry to hear about that experience. I'm sure you were just aghast! I probably would have walked away, too... but I agree with lom that speaking to a manager wouldn've been a good thing (though I might not have thought of it at the time!)
You remind me of Matthew 5:5 'Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.'
:o)

PI said...

Anon: MTL would never confront in that situation and we were both feeling pretty tired. I'm at the stage where I have to conserve nervous energy and always suffer after 'losing it'. On the plus side I can consider myself more in control of my emotions.

PI said...

WLLDM: the superstition about knives is that if you give one to someone it could sever the friendship, so to counteract this they have to give you a coin of the realm. Like walking under ladders you have to cross your fingers.

PI said...

Kate: that's hilarious. Respect to your father.

Kath : I told MTL what you said and he said I inherited the earth when I married him. Cheek!!!!

Eryl Shields said...

Woe betide anyone who has the nerve to do anything like that to me at the moment. I would definitely have sat down beside her and asked her to explain her ghastly manners. In better days I'd have walked away as you did, and I admire you for it. And it sounds like you were rewarded for you self control. Well done you. X

Grumpy Keith said...

Many, many years ago when I worked at the BBC Centre in London my wife expressed a desire to have a cream tea at Harrods. We knew it was "tres cher" but it would be an experience. When we went into the restaurant there was only two seats available next to a rather posh looking woman on a table. We politely asked if we could sit there and she agreed.

When we were eating our cream scones and strawberries she produced a cigarette and lit up. I asked her politely if she would mind waiting until we had finished, then we could all enjoy a fag together.

She leapt up and went to the flunky on the door and engaged him in an animated conversation, which was obviouly about us, then she stormed out.

He came over to us and asked us to leave calling us "troublemakers". It turned out that she was Lady "So-and-So" from a certain stately home in Bedfordshire (hint) and she was a regular customer there; whereas we were just country bumpkins who had upset her! And we didn't have to PAY! Tush!

MarmiteToasty said...

You should have just sat on her lap and said 'is this seat taken' lol......

Lunch in pubs are just so much nicer anyways :)

x

kenju said...

I would like to think that I would have sat down at the table and refused to move. In reality, I would have moved away and left, as you did.

PI said...

Eryl: thanks - I don''t feel such a wimp now.

Keith: how rotten! At lest there is the comfort that even she wouldn't get away with it now.

Mamite: fortunately or not she was of such a size it would have been impossible to squeeze between her and the table. She was glued.

Judy: MTL's attitude is don't waste your time on people like that. I would have liked to see what happened: did her friend arrive with coffee and cakes and did they have a laugh? Did other people stare at her?

gautami tripathy said...

It sure feels good to rea you again! Glad I got here from Michele!

Leigh Russell said...

Yes - why do men wander off like that? MTL has a habit of arranging to meet and then standing in the one spot where he's impossible to see from almost any direction.
I would have walked away, and fantasised about what I'd like to do to her with a large red handbag...

scarlet-blue said...

I would have done exactly as you did Pat, but then I would have questioned whether I should have stood my ground... but that might have ruined the day... so you did the right thing. And had a better lunch.
Sx

PI said...

Leigh: welcome! Seems we have more in common than the writing:)

Scarlet: I think that's exactly the right conclusion - certainly for me.

PI said...

Gautami: good to see you again;)

john.g. said...

I was sure I commented on this!!??

angryparsnip said...

Hi just found your Blog...
And that has happened to me rude behavior for someone who should know better... was she younger/older ?
I think it depends on how you are feeling that day. If I leave I do say something, very nicely, lots of time that ends it, because if I don't I second guess myself for the rest of the day. I talk to the manager, state my problem. Then I don't feel so used.

Krimo said...

Every cloud has a silver lining. You enjoyed your lunch at a nicer place...
I honestly think that courtesy is no longer in fashion.

PI said...

John.g: that is maddening. I didn't see it. My comments used to come to my in-box but now they come to Dashboard. Dunno why. What did you say?


angryp:I'm fairly sure she was younger. I do look younger than my age - I am reliable informed - which can sometimes be a bind. As my hairdresser said 'People expect more of you because you look younger.'

Krimo: It is a puzzzle. It worries me when rage takes control and I have been working on it. All I really felt was dismay. i think you are right unfortunately.

Char said...

First off Michele sent me :)

Secondly, how rude of that woman. She probably saw you were standing there the entire time. Yet she still decides to seat herself. Personally I would have sat right down with her and then pulled up another chair for my guest. I rarely let people's ignorant actions deter me. i am very sorry that happened to you, thankfully there is karma and i hope she gets the same rudeness she gave to you back from someone else.

Sleepypete said...

Lol - it's so much more dignified to be in a chair when trying on shoes :-) M&S definitely need some seats at their shoe area.

Courtesy is definitely lacking nowadays - people don't think enough of how other people feel. Hopefully that will change but it may need something big to make it happen.

Thanks for the visit and a belated Happy Birthday to your Mr MTL :-)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I will never understand people who have absolutely NO consideration for another person...I'm not sure what I would have done, but, in my present state of lack of patience and SHORTEST FUSE IN THE WORLD....I might have told her to EFF OFF....! Yes! I DO talk like that when needed...(lol) In my view, that WAS your table....!

Glad you found a jolly good sweater for your MTL....I did laugh about the knives, Pat....lol...One cannot be too careful!

And how GOOD that you had a delightful lunch at the place you ended up at----I'm not sure I would have the patience..(There's that word again...) to wait abd wait at that cafe, only to have my table stolen out from under me!

PI said...

Char: next time I'll take you:)

Sleepy Pete: thanks you for the good wishes.

Naomi:I want to be there when you tell someone to eff off - as long as it isn't me:)
I know all about short fuses - I can only imagine mine had been dampened somehow. Thank you for the explanation re Scarlet.

wontletlifedefineme said...

I've never heard of any of those before (like crossing fingers when walking under a ladder). I do know where that last superstition comes from though, if you walk under a ladder you're breaking the holy Egyptian form of the triangle.

PI said...

wlldm: I learn something everyday;) I always cross my fingers when walking under a ladder and never get out of the wrong side of the bed (MTL's side) even though it is a longer walk round to the door.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Pat, my dear...I cannot imagine anytime I would EVER tell you to Eff Off...lol! There could never possibly be any reason, whatsoever.

PI said...

Naomi:I never really though you would but I understand, like me you have boiling point.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I don't know the superstition about knives but I can well imagine. Here, we're superstitious about shoes...don't buy a man shoes or he'll walk away from you but if you DO buy him shoes, he must 'pay' you for them, even if it's two pennies.

As for the woman who took your seat...what would I have done? It depends on p.m.s. which would make me speak up. But most times, it's really not worth the trouble, is it?

PI said...

GG: Ouch I've just bought MTL slippers. Does that count?
Right now I'm going to demand two pennies.
'Not worth the trouble' - that's the phrase that says it all:)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Ohhhh Pat, I didn't mean to trouble you, he'll stay, pennies or not, but I see you got 'em, tee hee.