The Wrong One

I love food, who doesn’t? Anyway, last Wednesday evening I was at a restaurant and was served a meal which was bland. Actually bland wasn’t the right word to use, a better way to describe the meal was to suggest that the closest approximation to the meal was a particularly filthy batch of washing up water.

At the table I had access to the condiments such as salt and pepper, and also some very tasty hot Tabasco sauce. It is not my usual practice to add such condiments to my meal, but this was something of an exception. Regardless, the addition of the condiments did not achieve anything and the meal was still bland. I decided against consuming the meal and the editor had unbidden come to a similar conclusion. That was when the waitress approached the table.

<People who are sensitive to naughty words, possibly need to skip a few paragraphs because there is some potty mouth coming at you – all in the name of rendering an exact account of the rapidly unfolding food situation>

So, unrequested the waitress approached the table. As a general rule I don’t really appreciate being asked as to my opinion as to a chefs handiwork, especially whilst there are chunks of food in my mouth. Other people may enjoy the moment, but that is their idea of a good time. It ain’t mine.

I was asked: “So, how are you enjoying your meals?” To which I replied: “They’re a bit shit really.” And then because silence can be such a powerful tool to use in a controversial conversation, I just went silent and watched the situation unfold.

After a look of sheer horror at my candid reply, came the squeak: “I’ll just go tell the chef”. Yeah, you do that. I had decided that I was gonna be a problem and they were messing with the wrong one!

The chef then approached the table and walks straight into a confrontational moment. It was a bit like a do-or-die cage fight where the editor and I were on one side of the cage all outraged at the lost food opportunity. All the while, the mildly nervous looking chef was on the other side of the cage, and had to face the two of us off. The editor is no slouch, and I appreciate her having my back in a restaurant brawl. In a fight, a person needs a wing-lady that they can trust.

Chef: “What seems to be the problem?” Not wanting to have the initiative snatched away from me by the seemingly innocuous question designed to lull me into a false sense of security. Nope, instead I decided to do the unexpected and take control of the situation. The long dead Chinese master of military strategy, Sun Tzu (everyone needs a long dead genius guide to military strategy), would no doubt approve of my move as I demanded: “Did you cook this … thing?”

Chef had fallen for my tactic (or rather Sun Tzu’s), because the person began to mumble an apology and something about adding extra flavouring to the food.

With a resolution clearly in sight, I had fears that my outrage had not yet been satisfied. “I don’t want that!” And there may have even been some foot stomps for emphasis. “Have you tasted this?” I demanded, and then just to sound mildly demented and slightly off kilter I decided to do the unpredictable again and repeat myself: “Have you tasted this?”

Yep, that sure sounded demented to me, and just to get truly personal, as is right and proper in such situations I quipped: “What is wrong with you? Have you got the palate of a cows backside?” I actually heard that line spoken from the celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and had been waiting for years to use it. That hit the mark and the chef looked visibly upset. Before going in for the extortion of stuff claim, it is best to add in a threat. I could do that, and here goes: “I’m going to destroy you on social media. I want…”


I don’t talk to people like that, if for no other reason than I’ve seen the film Fight Club, and I know what they can do to your food. Given that frightening outcome is always a possibility, it’s best not to provoke people in the hospitality business! And generally I treat the people working in those businesses very politely, because by and large, they do it hard – especially on seriously busy shifts.

The meal actually was bland, and yes I did actually speak to the chef (not by choice). The thing is, I said to the chef not to worry, one ordinary dinner among the many excellent meals served to us over the years was no problem at all. The meals were not finished, and despite that, I paid for our meals, and in cash. Some people may not have acted that way, but despite my personal feelings about the meal, the business had still prepared them and served them to us, and that is not cost free to them.

Even Sun Tzu recognised that there are times when a defeated opponent should be left to retire from the field, with some dignity. I often feel that the ability to act with a sense of propriety and consideration for others, otherwise known colloquially as ‘good grace’ is an under developed part of the human toolkit.

The weather this week blew both hot and cold. One day was exceptionally hot and then two days later it looked as though the farm had been plunged back into winter. On cold winter days the members of the fluffy canine collective sensibly sleep whilst they await the better weather. The editor and I however, keep working during such weather.

A Scritchy / Ollie Vulcan bum-mind meld is performed on a particularly cold day last week
The fluffy canine collective want no business with winter weather in late spring

This week we brought back many trailer loads of the locally quarried crushed rock with lime. The area in the courtyard behind the house received several wheelbarrows of the stuff. Long term readers will recall that the rock wall in the courtyard had recently been moved. And now a person would be hard pressed to recall where the old rock wall had been.

Corrections to the rock wall in the courtyard behind the house are now complete

The path up above the house leading from the driveway and onto the new garden terrace project was extended by a few metres.

The path up above the house was extended by a few metres this week

And we’ve begun placing a layer of the crushed rock with lime over the clay surface of the path in the photo above. So far two cubic metres (2.6 cubic yards) of the material has been placed over the clay. The rock path surface provides for an all weather surface, unlike the clay which can get very muddy if wet.

The author walks upon the new all weather surface of the path above the house

Two gates have been installed at either end of the new lower garden terrace. The fencing has to take place soon because the weather is becoming warmer and the tomatoes may soon germinate. Without the fencing, the local wildlife will feast upon the seedlings.

A gate on the western side of the lower terrace was installed
Another gate has been installed on the eastern end of the lower garden terrace

Another step and ramp was constructed on the set of concrete stairs leading from the lower garden terrace to the middle garden terrace where the roses grow.

Another stair step was constructed on the stairs leading from the lower to the middle garden terrace

The above photo puts the new garden terraces and path project into perspective.

Produce update:

I am very excited at the possibilities for the Strawberry season this year. The plants have been fed and weeded, and now all that remains is regular watering and harvesting. So far this season, I have not watered these plants.

The Strawberries are growing fast now – and so far I have not watered them

The final few Daffodils are now hiding in among some rapidly developing black currants. We grow a lot of Black and Red Currants and use the berries to produce a very tasty wine.

The last of the seasons Daffodils hide among some Black Currants

Onto the flowers:

The Rhododendron flowers are prolific
And Rhododendrons also happily grow and flower in the drip line of the huge Eucalyptus trees
However, Rhododendrons are equally happy in the middle of the orchard
Chilogottis valida or otherwise known as the Common Bird-orchid
Tetratheca ciliata or otherwise known as Pink Bells
Gazania flowers appreciate the hot weather earlier in the week
The Lavender is prolific and beautiful

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 4’C (39’F). So far this year there has been 617.2mm (24.3 inches) which is the higher than last weeks total of 614.2mm (24.2 inches).