OK, so ignore the title of this blog. It’s to keep two of my friends who have dared me, happy. Ladies, you may now whoop, and watch as I get arrested for being rude. Please come and visit me in prison, if only so I can stick my tongue out at you.
No, this blog is actually about why you should never ever ever ever ever ever EVER eat out with children in the vain hope that it will be fun.
It will not.
Here’s why not. Tonight, I reach the end of a humungous writing day – and a third (ish) of my novel is finished. Hurrah! – and it’s dark and it’s cold and my kids, who have had friends to play, have cut up 50 sheets of paper to make mice and cheese, complete with holes, leaving their bedrooms looking like a snowstorm only without any of the charm or ski-ing potential, and there is no food in the fridge and I am so hungry I’m digesting my own internal organs, and my husband is off on a business trip.
SO…….I do what all sensible people would do under these circumstances: I suggest we eat out.
Good plan: no cooking, no clearing up, nice family time, we can talk, and play hangman, and eat chips. So, just like Sophie in The Tiger Who Came To Tea, we put on our coats and go down the local boozer.
Problem: the pub is full. So full, that a family with 3 kids is about as welcome as thrush. After instructing my daughter to look woeful and deathly, a kind couple shove up a bit and let us use five of the eight seats they were previously occupying.
Not long after, drinks arrive. A festive glass of prosecco for me – I take a sip and feel approximately 4 billion times better the second it hits my tongue. This WAS a good idea.
And then the bickering starts:
‘Mu-um! She’s sitting on my side of the chair.’
‘Ems, move over please.’
‘But I can’t. My bum’s already hanging off the edge. Look!’
‘OK, Phoebs, she can’t move over. See, her bum is hanging off the edge.’
‘But I’m squashed. Hey, Charlie get off my drink. You’ve got your own.’
‘But I’ve finished it!’
‘Well, that’s not my fault. You should’ve waited.’
‘But I was thirsty. Mu-um! Phoebe’s not letting me have some of her drink.’
‘Phoebe, could you please give Charlie a sip of your drink?’
‘No. I can’t.’
‘Because I’m squashed. Ems, move UP!’
‘I CAN’T. My bum is hanging off……’
And so on. By this stage I’ve necked the whole glass of prosecco, hoping it’ll have an inebriating effect. It does, but not enough to kill off all desire to stab my children with a fork and run off with the French bloke in the corner eyeing up my succulent breasts (the chicken ones on my plate – jeez. Can’t take you anywhere.) And that’s before someone kicks someone else under the table, my husband’s pint is spilled into his steak and Charlie has choked on a fish bone.
The squabbling reaches a peak when one of the more mathematically inclined members of our merry party spots that they have shared three more chips than anyone else. This is apparently as bad as having one of your kidneys removed. There follows the kind of petty arguing usually reserved for the House of Commons, and I lose the will to live.
The second the meal is finished we pay and leave.
Well, that was fun. Next time I suggest going out for a nice family meal, please remind me to stay at home and do something more fun, like plucking my eyelashes out.
Thank you, and bon appetit.