Hopefully, many of you enjoyed Mother’s Day meals out last Sunday – as long as everyone got along.
When I was a lad, a lifetime ago, we couldn’t afford restaurants - of which there were few anyway. Even in cafés, which were then places serving ‘businessmen’s lunches’ or afternoon teas, we had to sit up straight and be quiet. What’s more, no one dared complain about anything.
Now, for many, anything goes. As a child I would have approved of such a free and easy atmosphere but now frown, look grumpy and even complain about noise and children dodging about the premises.
The best dining places to avoid family disruption and undisciplined behaviour are dearer restaurants. Pubs no longer bar children and may proclaim, ‘Kids eat free!’ However, some do have adult-only areas offering escape.
At a favourite Italian, our evening meal was disrupted by two young mothers with children and a baby selecting the table beside ours. Once in his high chair, the tot held court - shrieking then screaming while being generally ignored, except by us.
The Italians hardly noticed, but then their chats are as loud as disputes. Hot countries encourage hot-bloodedness, but cooler climes nurture calmer natures.
“Would you mind quietening your baby?” we finally requested, nerves frayed.
The nearest mum looked aghast. “But he is a baby!” she protested. “That’s what they do!”
We suggested a dummy and one, finally produced, did the job. However, mutterings of discontent rumbled from their table.
Finally, all stood and grimly informed us they were moving – all because of us. “I’ve just ordered my pizza too!” complained one little lad, being led to a far table.
It all left a bad taste in the mouth but, at least, peace was regained.
I suppose it’s just a culture clash. No longer of different races, but of young and old.
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