Had house guests this weekend - old friends who had overtaken us in the earning stakes years ago and were still managing to make a highly respectable living despite the current economic climate. They were hot back from London where they had booked a table for some business acquaintances in a certain rather exclusive and dreadfully pricey Italian trattoria nestling in the very heart of Mayfair. Well you would, wouldn't you, if you were trying to hook a mega deal with an oil-rich country?
Mr. and Mrs. Oil-Rich were resplendent in traditional floor length robes and had omitted to mention they would be bringing their ten month old baby in a very large and cumbersome pushchair complete with all the frills and jingly bits. And a pre-prepared bottle with which to feed it upon arrival. Okaaay.
Somehow they managed to get the buggy through the lines of Ferraris and Bentleys, Rollers and Maseratis double parked as usual outside. Fine so far. 9 pm on a Saturday night. Not exactly empty.
In they wheel.
Baby sets up a wail. Well they do, don't they? Bottle is produced, heated and inserted in the correct end. Three minutes peace ensues whilst kind waiters endeavour to make cumbersome pushchair as invisible as possible. Not an easy task. Starched napkins and over-large menus are flapped open all round the table. Niceties are exchanged in a variety of foreign languages, none of which are particularly relevant to the mother tongue of anyone present, but salve the combined conscience as being evidence that all those seated around said table were making an effort to be international. Wide smiles make up for any deficiency in communication skills.
Atmosphere warming up nicely.
Baby chooses this moment to throw up. All over nice white starched Michelin starred table cloth and nice white starched and starred waiters. Mopped up with tail end of headscarf, prior to flustered exit to ladies loo bearing infant screaming for having been deprived of its dinner.
Out of respect for their guests' religion and their own personal budget, they had omitted to order anything from the restaurant's famous wine list and were sticking to mineral water, so I suspect they might not find it quite so easy to get a table on a Saturday night next time around.
I noticed, too, that they were making up for lost time at the expense of our rapidly dwindling wine cellar over the weekend, and can only surmise that the hoped-for big deal remained stuck in the pipeline.
Sorting the Priorities - Ambassadress and Beagle Survive Diplomacy