Monday, May 30, 2005

A Prior Enagement


After work I went for a couple of drinks with the girl who scored the job I was going for too. We actually managed to get a booth in The Crown and mid way through the second pint the door opens and it's two Scottish blokes. "You don't mind if we squeeze in here too?" one of them said as they squeezed on in and sat down. Bugger that for a quiet drink. "Sure, come on in" I replied to his "Oh, and there's 5 more too". They happily told us that they were in Wetherspoons the previous night, got into a fight and were promptly barred from any pub in Belfast. Since they were on a stag weekend this didn't happen and they had also kicked in a bar door that morning as it was opening and demanded service. As you can tell we were in good company. I quickly finished my drink and bade them farewell as I hotfooted it home. I had made tentative plans that night with Don and Colin that fell through due to hangovers and family taxi-ing obligations. Lou had invited Fidelma and Ursula around for drinks before heading out on the town. I joined them for dinner and some drinks and decided to stay in and chill out. I promptly began finishing up the bottle and getting rather steamed. I put on a record and fell asleep on the bed. I woke up several hours later at 3.30am and the girls had returned and where chatting away in the living room. I returned to bed and drifted off to sleep again.


Pretty chilled out morning and early afternoon spent watching The Thing. It's still amazing to watch and in my opinion, in the top 3 horror movies of all time. Took a shower to freshen up before Chris and Eva arrived. We had a few glasses of wine and decided to eat at Speranzas off Shaftesbury Square. It was to be half and hour before we were seated so we split a bottle in the upstairs bar to wait and chat. We were then led to our table and looked at the menu. Chris, Lou and I decided to have varying pizzas whilst Eva chose the Risotto. After taking our orders and waiting for 10 minutes, the waitress returned and told Eva that they didn't do the Risotto, she had handed out the wrong menu. After looking at the new menu, she chose another dish and 5 minutes later was told that this was also an old menu and gave her a new menu. And what did the new menu have on it? Risotto! I'm not sure what the hell they were playing at. Two old menus and a new menu in circulation? This is A1 bad service. So after another 10 minutes, the waitress returned to inform us that the pizza oven had blown so that was off the menu too! We had a quick chat and decided that it was too late to try and find another restaurant and ordered chicken based food so unless something dramatic happened in the kitchen it shouldn’t be a problem... The food looked hideous. My stuffed chicken was something I could make at home and it would have looked and tasted 10 times better. Lou's garlic potatoes were swimming in butter and Eva’s Risotto had a bed of oil running through it. We called for the manager. He apologised for the food, taking Eva’s meal off the bill and compensating with a bottle of house red. We won’t be eating in there again. After that disaster we headed out for drinks and hit AM:PM on Arthur Street. It was dead inside. There were around 10 people including the staff and ourselves. I asked one of the bar tenders for a range of 4 cocktails. After calling their names out he jacked his finger at the other guy and said "Talk to him" and resumed his conversation with the DJ who had stopped playing and put on a CD. The cocktails came slowly and when mine was brought over he said "Sorry I took so long but it was a bugger to make." That's your fucking job you ass. Don't be a bar tender if you can't do your job properly or anything for that matter if it's going to piss you off when you have to actually perform your duties. Then when we were finishing them, the bar tender told us they were closing up and to finish our drinks. At 11:30 on a Saturday night! There was a distinct lack of service in Belfast that night. Imagine if we were tourists. I'd never want
to set foot in this town ever again. We ended up at Bar 12 and had a couple of pints with a blind date couple. She had come from Manchester and the oaf had taken firstly taken her to Lavery's for drinks. Christ almighty has this man no self-respect? She looked desperate when we left. I wonder how that ended. Badly if they had any of our luck tonight. Chris and Eva came back to our place and we opened a bottle of wine and watched Sahara. A very dull film on the 4th watch. Lou and I fell asleep on one another before shuffling to bed at 4am.


I made a fry up for Chris and I which really hit the spot. That afternoon was their engagement party at his folks place. It gave me a chance to get in some extra napping before Lou and I walked over for 3pm. The conservatory was packed with people I didn't know and as it was very warm, Lou and I hung around outside with Chris's sister Susan talking about wine. Her and her dad were thinking about opening up a wine warehouse in Northern Ireland. The only problem is that a licence is £100,000 [only £5,000 in the rest of the UK] and if you wanted to open up an off-licence it would costs £10,000 in legal fees and if any other off-licence objected they could pay £10,000 to stop you. Incredible that this doesn’t constitute foul play. They had a great idea for online orders and niche wine regions. After everyone else had left, Lou and I remained behind. I had a long and extensive talk with Chris's dad Philip about wine regions and their produce. He told me that McGuigans in SE Australia manufacture their wine from a recipe and that a bottle contains 35 grams of sugar - worse than Ribena! I wont be buying that ever again. It was a really enjoyable evening. Sipping strawberry champagne and fine wines into the night and talking about old war movies and such.


I'm in pretty good shape this morning despite the excesses of the night before. Keith and Don are coming over this afternoon to play a game of AOE2. Unfortunately Lou had to get up at 7am to work - ouch! Hope you had a great weekend. See you tomorrow.


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