Manners cost nothing. Smiles are for free.

I’d like to sandwich the following post in between two pictures of what is quite possibly the best afternoon tea I have ever experienced in my life (and I’ve experienced many!). These gargantuan, carby feasts came courtesy of The Old Station Tea Rooms in Holmsley where Mr LW and I spent an indulgent afternoon exactly a year ago today. The food was every bit as good as it looks in the photograph: soft, doorstop bread generously filled with smoked salmon (for me) and ham (for him); warm scones straight from the oven and those cakes. I almost had to physically tackle an old lady who kept trying to stick her finger in Mr Little Welsh’s lemon meringue! Three times she gently touched his upper arm, leaned across from her table to ours, told him “If you need any help finishing that, look no further”, and winked. She became increasingly desperate with every forkful he savoured (for the avoidance of doubt she had her own perfectly delicious panini, and if anyone was going to gorge any cake that remained it was going to be me.). We talk about that afternoon tea on a regular basis even now. It was Mr Little Welsh’s first ever and, if the owners of the Tea Rooms are reading, let it be known that he is now ruined for anyone else(worth it, though! 😉 )

So, what’s the reason for the culinary bookends in this post, you ask? Well, what follows is a bit of a grumble, and I don’t want it to completely overwhelm the front page of my blog. Nevertheless, I’m getting it off my chest, so either read on or scroll straight to the lemon meringue if you’d prefer! 🙂

Cream tea fruit tart

Last night I went to a local pub with a few friends. It wasn’t Michelin starred, it was your good old 2-for-1, microwave lasagna, get-what-you-pay for restaurant. We weren’t expecting haute cuisine; we just wanted a nice evening and some stodgy, moderately priced food. What we experienced was such an awful display of customer service that would be considered an insult to anyone working in the industry. I ordered my food with the rest of the gang, 9 of us in total, and sat back at the table to wait for it to arrive. Now, its a running joke among my friends that I’m a bit of a bad omen when ordering food, and so when my plate came out (last) looking distinctly different to what I had ordered- southern fried chicken does not resemble a rack of ribs in any way- I laughed a little, because I could have predicted it would be me. What I couldn’t have predicted, however, was the attitude when I explained to the waitress that I had actually ordered ribs. She stormed off with the chicken and returned with a face that, quite frankly, looked like it had been smacked with a shovel.

Waitress:”We don’t have any ribs left”

Me:”Oh, the man at the bar when I ordered said there was only one left”                                                           (Note:Mr LW had actually wanted the same dish as me, but had changed his order at the last minute, like the gent he is.)

“Well, we don’t have any ribs. And there’s going to be a wait on any other food, so….”

It was at this point I had to make a concerted effort not to raise my voice back. I’ll be honest with you, we had been to the beach that day and traffic congestion meant I had been driving for just under 7 hours there and back. I was exhausted, miserable, and it took every fibre of my being not to burst into tears as this girl just stood there and scowled at me like I was the problem.

*deep breath*

Me: Ok, um, I suppose I’ll have a burger then. *picks up menu, there are about five choices of burger*

*off she stomps*

Me: (semi shouting at the back of her head, rapidly disappearing, the irritation clearly visible as she mutters to herself) Um, the smoky one, please!

I started making jokes to my friends- who seemed uncomfortably aware of how emotionally fragile I was feeling- in order to dispel the tension. Inside, though, I was livid. I’m sure everyone has bad days but when you are in the wrong it is completely unfair to take that out on perfectly polite (which I was, however difficult in the heat of the moment), innocent party. I used to work at a fast food restaurant where people routinely treated staff like dirt on the bottom of their shoes but I always managed to smile and say thank you, even if I was planning increasingly creative karmic retribution in my mind (“Here’s your burger, sir” *and may your clothes tags forever itch at the back of your neck. Yeah, that’ll teach you…*)

Am I the only one who thinks manners and common politeness are dying a bit of a death these days? *

*For the record, the slightly (though not significantly) older manager brought the replacement burger to the table- presumably having witnessed the ordeal- and apologised. He didn’t grovel, just said he was sorry for the inconvenience and gave us a refund for the difference in price. And that was the matter sorted. Turns out that sincere human communication isn’t so hard after all..

Cream tea lemon meringue

As promised, here is the second slice of bread in this slightly unsavoury sandwich. If you followed me through the rant, I applaud you. It’s not often I get very angry, but such a display of unprovoked hostility I couldn’t let slide.

To end on a pleasant note: here’s three cheers to every lady, gentleman and child who treats those around them with the kindness and respect they deserve as a fellow human being. Hip hip hooray to everyone who has had a bad day and managed to keep that separate when interacting with others. Well done to anyone who works in a public facing role and does so with a smile on their face; I’ve been lucky enough to have met some wonderful servers at various restaurants/ pubs and you really do do an outstanding job 🙂

If you just glossed over the text and drooled onto your keyboard at the sight of those afternoon teas, well, that’s totally acceptable too.

Little Welsh x

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