Eating out to help out

Creating the same effect the second time around never works. At least for me it doesn’t. We are in our local pub ordering our evening meal. The same place I was with Alcira the week before. They’ve extended Sunak’s ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme for another week and we thought why not. We’ve taken advantage of this fifty percent off the food bill quite a few times since it was introduced in August to help out the ailing hospitality industry. Some of the restaurants extended the scheme even after the government stopped paying. It has been a huge success. A win win situation for all. The restaurants and pubs get the punters in and we get a pleasant surprise when the bill arrives. Today however nothing seems to be going to plan. I forgot my mask, which we are meant to be wearing till seated. I unroll my roll neck jumper’s collar and cover my nose. I didn’t bring my phone and so cannot scan the track and trace NHS app and have to fill in a form for my contact details. Without my glasses I can’t see what I’m filling. Our table is near the toilet. My usual pasta dish is not available. I order sausages and mash and then notice the special dish’s board stating that they have ‘duck a l’orange’. I change my order. When it arrives I wish I hadn’t ordered it. I always fall into this trap after having eaten a divine version of this classic french dish in a Paris restaurant. I keep ordering it every time I see it on a menu and end up bitterly disappointed. This is one dish only the french can do. 

Sunday morning arrives and it is time to reflect on the past week. A green woodpecker pecks around in the garden and I call the girls to come and see it. I read recently about a teenager who has landed a book deal to write about her bird watching hobby which has turned into a real life passion. The birds I saw feeding from the bird feeder, I realise, are not blue tits. There was no blue tufts on them and I look them up and realise that they are Great tits. Small differences in the appearances distinguish them from other birds of the same species. A Robin hovers around. A bird which can be quite territorial but keeps me company when I’m working away in the garden. The others are too shy. Soon the oak trees will be shedding their leaves and the workload will increase. I also read that the trees help filter pollution, slow the run off during heavy rainfalls and is a small ecosystem in our garden with the hundreds of species it hosts. The resulting work is a small price to pay, a mutual friendship arrangement.

I later find out about Nadal’s victory. He now equals Federer on the Grand Slam victory board and what a way to do it, and that too on one of the toughest courts physically for the players. A thoroughly deserving champion and the battle between the top three continues to find out who will emerge as the toughest. I look at the number of players who have won the grand slam on clay and remember that it was one of the courts which evaded Pete Sampras. Being the Master of Clay is no easy feat and if it wasn’t for the injuries sustained in the process Nadal would have probably amassed more victories over the years. Does it matter who wins the battle of the trio? It was the competition that led them to strive to outdo each other and push them to their limits and give us a spectacular show in the process. The final winner doesn’t really matter in the long run for now anyway but for them and their fans it will always matter. 

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