yesterday was a bad day. it had snowed on wednesday, then mostly melted overnight. stalin and fluffy’s morning walk was muddy, slippy and grumpy-making.
back at the flat, enid’s cable modem was blinking sadly at her - no interweb, no interweb, no interweb. enid called voila, her inaptly-named cable provider - neither french nor prone to deliver anything with the kind of speed and flair that demands a “voila!” voila said (to paraphrase) “you are a stupid girly and you know nothing about technology. reboot everything and phone us up to tell us it’s working again.”
enid did so, twice, but her message to voila remained that the modem wasn’t working.
finally voila actually bothered to look into the matter, and told enid that the workmen outside her house had cut through the cable. “we should get it going again today, in not then tomorrow maybe,” they promised, with the kind of dedication to service that got molvania where it is today.
of course this had to happen on the very day that everyone in enid’s company in london was in a big offsite meeting and she had chance to work on the server. enid would like to meet that mr. sod who invented the law of bad things happening when they have most impact, and shake him warmly by the throat.
enid called the man and begged to share his office space. he, being a very nice man, threw some people out of a meeting room and invited her in: enid was saved. she worked hard, and in a couple of hours had managed to achieve what she’d expected to take all day. sometimes computers go right - it’s good to remember that when so often they don’t.
the man suggested lunch. although enid doesn’t usually do lunch, today she was celebrating success snatched from the jaws of failure - and the man had mentioned titanic, supposed to be one of the poshest restaurants in kernib. enid should have learnt her posh-restaurant-in-eastern-europe lesson by now, but she hadn’t.
they stepped inside the restaurant; their coats were whisked away from them. titanic was expensive-looking in that versailles-meets-brothel kind of way that should have made them run for the local pelmeni shop... but it was too late.
they ordered israeli wine; the georgian saperavi, their usual standby, was almost as expensive.
the menu was the usual blend of “european” and “japanese”. enid does not use quotation marks lightly; she means them. no european would recognize “baltimore veal stake* with blue cheese and pineapple souse*”. no native of osaka would choose the man’s starter of assorted spicy sushi - an exotic fusion of japanese-style raw fish mixed with molvanian mayonnaise on nori-wrapped rice pudding.
enid’s pumpkin soup was pretty much exactly as she makes it herself at home - therefore tasty (she claims modestly) but not very exciting.
if every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, the same is not true of kernib high dining. every posh restaurant is bad in exactly the same way - expensive fixtures and fittings, service that's too formal and at the same time inadequate, poor food that is a very odd blend of molvanian and japanese. enid's advice is this: if you open your menu in a molvanian restaurant and see sushi on it, run and hide.
on the other hand, when they are bad, cheap restaurants are bad in very different ways - one might a huge menu of which nothing is actually available, another will char its meat to a black cinder, and yet a third will make enid very ill indeed. but most cheap restaurants are actually quite good - something that can only be said for a tiny minority of the expensive ones.
enid and the man had finished their starters a long time before a waiter came up and told them that their main dishes were delayed and would arrive in seven minutes. his precision motivated the man to start his watch's timer function. after twenty-seven minutes enid and tm had finished their bottle of wine, and ordered two more glasses. at last, after thirty-seven minutes, their fish arrived. bread-crumbed and served with a lemon slice and parsley, it wasn’t exactly 4 star dining. both enid and the man had forgotten to order a garnish (molvanian for vegetables and carbohydrate) so their mains sat sadly alone in the centre of their vast white plates.
the bill came promptly: £90.
what a titanic mistake.
*these were actual spelling mistakes on the actual menu in one of the best restaurants in town. haven’t they considered giving one of the no hoper brits in o’briens a free meal in return for correcting their menu?