An unsatisfactory meal in County Antrim
Relishing the luxuries of business executive travel
We quit the meal, one whole course short of the official finishing line and abandoning about two pints of semi-melted vanilla ice cream, pre-laced with gluey strawberry sauce (out of a tube) and served in tall glasses too narrow to admit our dessert spoons, and go in search of a pub.
Returning 35 minutes later, we are (of course) back where we started: trapped outside in the porch. Except now it is nine o'clock at night and the drizzle has turned into proper rain.
The minibus driver for Blimey O'Reilly's All Ireland Fun Tour, an amiable Kiwi lady, has also made the mistake of leaving the building. Shared adversity is an excellent single parent for rapid friendship. We make room for her in the porch partially out of the wet, and give her a turn at ringing the non-ringing bell, and are soon chatting.
She says, "It's a week's tour. We start in Dublin, then we come here, then we go on to Belfast, and then we come back here again."
She pauses, a look of puzzlement appearing on her brow.
She says, "Actually, I don't know why we do that."
Then she says, "He really is something of a Fawlty, isn't he?"
From behind the locked door, a familiar voice can be heard approaching. It is saying: "I'll ask them if it was the meat. I tell you, I'm sure it was the meat."
R says, "It's all right for you, Verity. You can just write it all up."
And I say: "Aren't I the lucky one?" ®