Thursday, April 26, 2007

Walking Stick?

There's a restaurant here that I like to go to. It's quiet, they do lovely food, have generally good service, aren't stupidly expensive, and manage to be family-friendly while not being a kiddie restaurant. The layout is of lots of different "rooms", up and down various flights of stairs, but they've made the effort with accessibility - the main entrance and bar (and the toilets) are ground-floor and totally accessible, and a combination of Stannah stairlifts and ramps/level access fire escapes mean that while a wheelchair user can't access every table in the place, they can use most of them. Usually they ask if I can manage the stairs and make an effort to seat us at a table with as few stairs to contend with as possible. Yesterday, Pip had a few hours without the Littlun, so we decided to go there for a spot of lunch.

Mary and Pip enter the restaurant, and approach the reception desk.

PIP: Good afternoon, could we have a table for two, please?

The waitress stands in silence for a few seconds, staring at Mary and Pip in utter shock or possibly disbelief, before turning and running off up the stairs.

PIP: Was it something I said?
MARY: Maybe "table for two" has become a slang term for something unspeakable.
PIP: (peeking up the stairs) I hope she's okay.

Enter the waitress, slowly making her way down the stairs with much trepidation. She stares at Mary and Pip in silence.

PIP: Is everything alright?

The waitress continues to stand silently. Mary and Pip start looking about for another staff member, to alert them that their colleague may be unwell.

WAITRESS: (slowly, pointing) Walking stick!
MARY: (baffled) Yes, yes it is.
WAITRESS: (pointing) Out there. Fire door.
MARY: Excuse me?
PIP: You want us to go in the fire door out there?
The waitress nods and without waiting for a response, runs off up the stairs. Mary and Pip exchange a glance, shrug, and make their way back outside, round to the fire door, which is open, and into the restaurant, where the waitress is beaming proudly by a table with two menus on it.

Strangely - or perhaps not - once we were seated, the waitress had a full and complete grasp of conversational English, albeit with a lifelong Suffolk accent.


Anonymous said...

Maybe she was beaten with a walking sick as a child and your stick brought out deeply repressed memories?

Or was it the sparkly purple hypnostick?

Or maybe she thought you were a accessibility mystery shopper, and she got flustered and couldn't remember what the training video said :)

Mary said...

Oooh, I like the "accessibility mystery shopper" theory!

Anonymous said...

I'd say Normal for Norfolk ... after all, you're quite near the border aren't you? Do name and shame the restaurant - if it's accessible and in your town (if you live in the town I think you live in - but I don't remember where I read it so I won't say it here) there's a slim possibility that my Mum will brave driving there with my Dad (who's in a wheelchair). If you don't want to post it, joeiy [at] mailcity [dot] com.

Anonymous said...

LMAO we all have bad days Mary *grin* even the 'normies'

Mary said...

Hi Jo, yeah, NFN was pretty much what we decided. Although it WAS the first and only time my wobbling up to the desk has been met with anything other than "can you manage the stairs?" or "bear with me, I'll see if we can find a table without too much climbing."

The restaurant is the Foxburrow in the Gunton/Corton area of Lowestoft. It's actually on the Yarmouth Road so it's dead easy to get to.

The only warning I would give is that while it's usually pretty easy to get a table for lunch, it's best to book ahead for dinner. Steve and I have turned up there several times at, say, 6:30 or 7pm, only to be told there's no table available until 9:30.

Mary said...

Mustafa - my interest? What interest?