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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

The Journey Northwards

Following on from the last post, SWMBO, myself, and two elderly lady friends of SWMBO are in my car (3.0L Subaru Legacy Estate), and heading North towards Whangamata.

Things are going great.  Gentle chatter from the ladies in the back, gentle digs to me from SWMBO (aren't you going too fast, too slow, taking corners badly, temperature too hot, too cold etc.)

We stop for lunch at Turangi, and I end up in the most confused lunch in the history of Man.

It starts off quite normally.
SWMBO and the two ladies head immediately for the toilets, and I wait outside, stretching my legs, and the enjoyment of the fresh NZ air.
We head for the cafe, one SWMBO and I used a couple of years ago.  Nothing special, but quite nice.

I head for the counter as the ladies gently bicker about which table to use.

Quick examination of the menu, easy choice.
There's a young Maori lady behind the counter waiting for our orders.

The ladies are still bickering, so I go first.
"Seafood chowder and a large flat white please"

See.  Easy.

Read the menu, decide and give the order.

The Blokes way, the Right way, the only bloody way

The right way to order in a cafe

Told you.  We blokes know what's right and wrong.

SWMBO raises her head and talks to the lady behind the counter.

SWMBO: "This is wrong"
Young Maori Lady (YML): "What?"
SWMBO: "This is wrong" *Peals a Post-it note off of the pie cabinet and shows it to the YML*
SWMBO: "You've spelled this word wrongly"
YML: "What?"
SWMBO: "You've spelled it as W H E R E, and it should be W E R E.

This would have been useful

YML: *Looks completely confused* (I can't blame her, she was expecting a food order, not a bloody spelling lesson) "What?"
TSB: *through clenched teeth* "Maybe you should give her your order my Dear"
SWMBO: "Oh . . . . (very long pause, as she's been reading the rest of the menu looking for other spelling/grammatical errors rather than trying to decide what to order) . . . even longer pause, allowing the other 2 ladies to approach.

There ensues a 5 minute discussion about the menu and the choices, interspersed with comments about the decor, the cleanliness and the failing English skills of the younger generations.

SWMBO: "I'll have the omelette please"

YML: "Omelette? "What type, plain tomato or bacon?"

SWMBO: "Yes"

YML:"What type do you want?"

SWMBO: "Tomato . . . I can't take bacon as I'm vegetarian"

Other Two Ladies (simultaneously): "Same please"

YML: "Any drinks?

All 3 ladies go back to examining the menu.

 Why on this blesséd Earth do they have to look at the menu, Tea, Coffee or a fizzy drink.  Or even nothing, which is what the coven ladies decided on.

The YML finished putting the choices into her till, then:

One Old Lady: "Bacon"

Bacon . . . Food of the Gods

OOL: "Bacon" "I want bacon on my omelette"
YML looks a bit perplexed.  She looks even more perplexed when the Other Old Lady (OOL2) suddenly pipes up in a broad Dutch accent :"Salmon" "Eh vant Salmon"
YML is now hopelessly lost, and then goes into final terminal meltdown when . . .

OOL: "We want to pay separately, so we'll need separate bills please"
OOL2:"It's not reely Dutch ja know, ve Dutch don't do thet"
SWMBO:"And can we have GST receipts please"
OOL2 now pushes forward waving $50 note saying "El pey fur OOL's bacon"

Meanwhile, I am sitting quietly in a corner, having a look at the map on my Android Tablet, hoping against hope that no one will associate me with the bunch of loony women at the counter.

You can't get much dafter than that.

Sanity is finally generated by the manager sorting it out, by deleting the entire order and re-entering them as separate bills.

The meals arrive and the ladies are content, mumbling as they gum their omelettes about "quite good really" .

My seafood chowder and flat white coffee fail to arrive.
They've been lost in the confusion.

I make do with a glass of water and a biscuit, and a vow never, ever to do this again.

I should have remembered my old Army axiom.

Never Volunteer for Anything.


  1. No comments yet?
    Why didn't you ask for your fish soup and coffee?

    1. I did, but they forgot, and we were getting short on time.

  2. You see, where you went wrong was stopping at Turangi. There's nothing good at Turangi.
    My partner Lynn was born in Aberdeen and came to New Zild in 1966. Her family settled in Turangi (Hydro works) and she attended Tongariro High School which she enjoyed, did well at and made lots of good friends but .... even she says there's nothing great about Turangi.
    When I used to ski at Ruapehu I remember going to Turangi one evening for dinner at an Italian restaurant (a lot of Italians settled there in the 60s and 70s due to the hydro development). The spaghetti Bolognaise came with roast pumpkin, kumara and cauliflower!

    You need to stop at Taihape and go to the Brown Sugar Cafe which is excellent, has lovely baking and knows how to make a decent coffee.

    1. It's not that bad.
      Better than Palmerston North anyway.
      I shall try your recommended cafe next time.


      But without the Two Old Ladies.

  3. Yes I agree. Never Volunteer for Anything. Last year I house sat for my daughter and her fiancée while they toured around Europe for six months. This was in Palmerston North from late August to mid October. My main job aside from keeping the property in order was to care and feed two large dogs and three cats. It was a busy and tiring time. Almost like teaching but with 24/7 responsibility. The worst part as looking after the dogs. Hard work. I’ve never had one and never will. But I felt it was the right thing to stay in their home and look after it and all the animals together. Less stressful for them and cheaper for my daughter than boarding them out. Six weeks is a long time in this situation. Was thankful for hubbys visits every weekend to keep me sane. Ignorance is bliss as they say.

    1. You are a saint.

      Dumb, but definitely a saint.

    2. Dumb! That’s a bit insulting. Naive yes. A mug yes but not dumb. That indicates very low intelligence. I hope you never told any of your students they were dumb even if you thought so. That’s such a horrible word. We all live and learn. Sometimes we offer to do things because it seems the right thing to do at the time especially where family is concerned. My biggest fault as a former colleague once pointed out is I care too much. I guess it’s my inherent motherly instincts to blame. Can’t help myself!

    3. Sorry VG, I didn't mean to be insulting, but volunteering to look after 5 dogs and cats is way above and beyond.

  4. Thank you for reminding me of the time we took a large party of Belgian relatives to a restaurant in Spain....The consultation of the menu...the giving of orders - that, but without garlic - the changing of orders - ooh, I didn't see that - the blunt refusal to admit that one of them them had ordered octopus....

    1. Without garlic?

      In Spain?


      Don't be too harsh on them, would YOU admit to ordering Octopus? I certainly wouldn't.

      BTW, welcome to M'Blog.

    2. Glad to see it back!
      Yes...without garlic....the mind boggled.

  5. When we go out I can pick what my husband will order 9 our of 10 times. why he even bothers picking up the menu is a mystery

    1. Is it because men are so predictable, or are you psychic?

      I must admit, I don't change my choices very often.

  6. You know what I bet they are saying to each other that you messed everything up with your seafood chowder order.....

    1. Hi Jenny, you could well be correct.
      Let's face it.
      I'm a bloke, and in this day and age, blokes are always to blame.

  7. Hello from Middlesbrough, home of the gastric band -- and no, that's not some shoegazing indie-pop outfit from Gateshead. I’m delighted to hear that you’ll have more time to entertain us. I assumed that your assistant had made an error in calculating the amount of nitroglycerine you needed for a sixth-form experiment.

    I recognise this scenario in your post, from years of having to mentally squint to follow the chicanery and double-backs of female food ordering, during my years as a trolley dolly. Some of them use it as their little moment to show how “special” they are. Yeah, special needs more like.

    Well, done. Crikey, 9.5 hours for a game of Mah Jong. It must be love.

    1. Hi again looby, good to hear from you. No, there was no assistant and (unfortunately) no nitroglycerine. There was just loads and loads of work, the black cloud of approaching retirement and a feeling of having nothing to really say.
      Totally agree about the rather weird methodology of females and any type of ordering food or goods.

      The MahJong was a 2 day tournament, with about 60 games being played. Quite exhausted at the end, then I had to drive back home, another 10 hours.

      Of course it's love, you didn't think it could be blackmail did you?

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