Tuesday, April 18, 2006

It Can't Always be Patatas Bravas

"I’m sorry," says the waitress, "but we don’t do our tapas menu today."
"You what?" I reply.
"That option is only available from Monday to Friday," she says, gesturing to the large sign, saying just that.
"But it is Monday," I reply, gesturing to the large dust-laden Almanac I always carry with me for just this sort of occasion.
"Ah, but it’s a Bank Holiday Monday," she points out.
"Ah, but it’s still a Bank Holiday Monday," I counter, not wanting to be out-Italicised by one of these Latin types.
I consider throwing a Hollywood strop as I really do want some patatas bravas but, deciding they probably won’t budge on this one, I instead study the menu of the tapas-bar-that-doesn’t-necessarily-serve-tapas-if-it-can-possibly-avoid-it and lump for the chicken.

I slump in my chair and study my fellow diners, some of whom look to be eating what looks suspiciously like tapas to me. My eyes are drawn towards the portly fellow and his lady friend a couple of tables away, both of whom I seem to recognise. He has an every-man and no-man look to him, and I struggle to place him. Is he an obscure actor perhaps, or an old university lecturer, or maybe a football journalist? But why would I recognise his lady friend? It clicks.

"Housemate Louise," I discreetly hiss across the table at my companion. "We are sat in a tapas-bar-that-doesn’t-necessarily-serve-tapas next to a couple who used to spy but no longer spy!"
"Pardon?" responds Housemate Louise, craning forward. I consider speaking louder, only in a more elaborate code, but decide these people are probably adept at deciphering such things, so I continue to hiss.
"Irresponsibly treacherous and/or principled whistleblowing former MI5 spies David Shayler and his-lady-friend-I-do-not-know-the-name-of are sat right b’there!"
Housemate Louise clocks them, and confirms my ID. We raise our eyebrows at each other in a ‘fancy that’ manner for a while. After a while, I speak once more.
"It was a while ago now, so my memory needs refreshing. They did, you know, catch him didn’t they?"
"Well, no, they didn’t really ‘catch’ him. He just sort of… ‘came back’. But yes, he went to prison for a bit," Housemate Louise confirms. "Why?"
"Oh, you know. Money’s a bit tight," I shrug. "Thought there might be a reward…"

I turn to get another look, and Shayler and his lady friend have disappeared.

Outfoxed again!


AnonymousCoworker said...

Once I saw a man who looked like Clint Eastwood at an Italian restaurant.

That's the whole story.

Leslie said...

Did the restaurant need access to the Bank to produce tapas? I don't get it.

Will said...

"We are not serving Patatas Bravas," sounds suspiciously like the first part of a coded verbal exchange to me. Perhaps Shayler gave the correct response and received a wodge of top secret papers. Then legged it.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Gee, Huw, there you two were in the shadow of greatness...or lardassedness. Not sure.

Chris said...

Hmm, I can't make my mind up on Shayler. I dislike his smug moneymaking martyr routine, but love the fact that he couldn't look less like James Bond if he tried. So tapas is the meal of choice for traitor/heros these days?

Curly said...

I've come to the conclusion that Bank Holidays are rubbish days for getting anything done as most places shut down, they are only good for lie-ins.

And Good Friday? There is nothing Good about a pub closing at 10:30pm on a Friday.

At least all the Bank holidays are close this year. Only one between May and Christmas if I counted correctly! Hooray!

Ivy the Goober said...

I work for a bank... since when do restaurants follow BANK holidays?

Tim-tambolini said...

I don't know what a tapa is, but it sounds good. I'm imagining a pastry type shell with mashed potato and spicy, meaty contents. MMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!

Monica said...

So we both had celebrity sightings this week? Freaky.

Jona said...

Lucky you! And you have my sympathies about the reward ;o)

Cleavers said...

I sat next to Dennis Hopper once in a pizzeria in Kensington. Where there was also an Elvis impersonator.

I suspect he was going 'low key'.

We don't have 'bank' holidays here but we do get to celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday, Labour Day, Thanksgiving and Rememberance Day with a day off.