Seeing the Lovely Lucy mid-week is a rare luxury. On Thursday she had a meeting in London in the morning, so we planned an impromptu late lunch.
When we got to the restaurant, it was busy. A hurrying waiter said they'd lay us a table, so we stood and nattered until, out the corner of my eye, I saw a movement. Our waiter was trying to draw our attention to the table that had been laid for us, using the unconventional technique of jumping up and down and waving his hands in the air.
He was about 5ft 8 tall, and about the same around his middle, bald, and camper than a Bank Holiday at Butlins. He cooed and oohed and aghed at us, and made us feel like his new best friends. When Lucy said that she'd just have a glass of water, he rolled his eyes at me. "Is she always this boring?" he teased, in his soft Scottish purr. "I'm afraid so," I confirmed. We ordered and off he skipped to the kitchen.
So our food came, we ate, we chattered, set the world to rights, and from time to time our waiter came to check we were ok, and we were. He struck the balance between attentive and laid back that suited our mood, and it was all good. When we'd finished our meal, he asked if we wanted coffees, then winked at us pointedly and said they'd be on the house. He told us he'd only worked there a week, and whilst he was at the Gaggia, we speculated on whether he'd still be there in a week's time.
Whilst we were sorting out the bill, Lucy got up to go to the loo. There was one just near where we were sitting, and she made a b-line for it, but there was a kerfuffle at the door. Our waiter, another waiter and Lucy ended up doing a little dance at the door, "after you," "no, no, I insist, after you." After she'd closed the door, the other waiter rounded on ours. "Don't let customers use that toilet. It's a disabled toilet for disabled people. The customer toilets are downstairs." Our waiter waited until the other guy's back was turned, then rolled his eyes at me. When Lucy came back she apologised for causing a fracas.
So there we were, pulling on our coats, and draining our cups, when suddenly our man was back by our side, leaning over our table in a conspiratorial way. "I've just told him, 'you can't talk to that lady like that, you don't know anything about her. You can't talk to her like that.' And then I said to him, 'you see, she's only got the one leg.' So now, when you leave, you've got to limp a bit so he knows."
Limp a bit?! We were both laughing so hard we could hardly stand! I think we might have slightly over-egged our part.
house of eels: july 2017*
1 week ago