Some of you may recall my failure to purchase a steak pie from a local cafe a while back? I'm quite prepared to believe that this event hasn't exactly burned itself deep into your memory but I'm hoping there's a small chance of a sliver of recognition?
For those for whom this earth-shattering event did not register, you can find the gory details (which include a spot of drain-unblocking) here.
If you can't be bothered to check out the whole story (you really should, it's quite amusing) then the gist of it is contained in this quote:
" I noticed, on the Specials Board, that they had Steak Pie, Chips and Gravy and I decided to plump for this. "I will have Steak Pie, please" I announced to the young chap taking our order, to the considerably surprise of my wife. "Ah" He responded "I'm not sure if we have any left, I'll just go and check" My heart sank. From experience, whenever a waiter comes out with this phrase, it means 'I know damn well that we haven't got any but I'll pretend to go and check so I can shift the blame onto the invisible denizens of the kitchen'. Sure enough, after a few minutes, he returned and apologised but there was no Steak Pie to be had. Predictably, I reverted to the all-day breakfast but somehow felt cheated of my Steak Pie."
Common sense should have told me not to revisit this experience, but since when was common sense any fun? We went back to the cafe and our conversation went something like this:
Mrs. W: "They've still got that steak pie on the Specials Board, do you think they'll have it this time?"
Me: "They must have, surely? Even they wouldn't leave it on the Specials all this time if they didn't have any"
Mrs. W: "Ok, we'll go for that then, shall we?"
Enter, stage left, a waitress.
Mrs. W: "Last time we came here we ordered the steak pie from the Specials, but you didn't have any"
Waitress: "Oh yes, I remember" (very much doubt this, we're really not that memorable, but still...)
Mrs. W: "Do you have any steak pies?"
Waitress: "Oh yes, I'm sure we do"
Mrs. W: "Ok, we'll have two steak pies, please"
The waitress vanished and we waited, with some trepidation, for her imminent return, steak-pieless. Time passed and we began to feel more confident, our conversation turned from the existence, or otherwise, of steak pies and moved on to more pleasant things. We settled into our seats and relaxed, anticipating our steak pies, when...
Waitress: "Erm..." (you can see where this is going, can't you?) "You're not going to believe this but I'm afraid we don't have any steak pies. Some sort of problem with the suppliers."
So, this wasn't the outcome of a frenetic morning of steak pie selling, nor a temporary glitch with the daily steak pie order. No, this was a 'problem with the suppliers' which sounded pretty chronic. Had it been the case that there had been no steak pies since our last visit? Was the absence of steak pies a permanent feature? If it was, why were they still included in the Specials Board?
What I want to know now is, is the Specials Board just an aspirational list, a review of the dishes they would like to serve one day? There's Plaice and Chips on there and I'd love to order it to see if that exists, only I'm not that keen on Plaice and, knowing my luck, it would turn up if I ordered it.
We finished up with the All-Day Breakfast again. I have a sneaking suspicion that that's all they actually cook and everything else is just a figment of their imagination. I'll let you know :-)