Two EE stories this week had my life flashing before my teary eyes.
Two wonderful landmarks of my generation gone.
Thousands of us have virtually a lifetime of golden memories about them; meals, music, dancing, parties, weddings (including one of mine), laughter – so many happy times.
The future of the Treetops site is still a mystery. Ticky-bets, hoosies. Surely there’s no prospect of Ardoe’s mini Balmoral being bulldozed, but here’s hoping it might live to fight another day as a hotel.
All because the Covid crisis (following on from the oil slump) has played particular hell with our hospitality industry. Given a desperately needed leggie-up by various local campaigns – like North East Now – some venues are managing to cling on.
But it’s a sair fecht.
Crossed fingers the ones which have had to give up will still be able to reopen when restrictions are lifted. Aye, but there’s the rub. When on earth will that be?
I’ve done my tiny bit towards supporting eatooteries by lunching several times with different (single) friends over the past few weeks. However, some places really don’t help themselves – no names, they’re going through enough.
Take the hotel I went to twice for lunch because, first time, the service was outstanding. Super attentive, charming staff. The PR-savvy waitress – querying why I’d left most of my beef when I wasn’t going to bother complaining it was too tough – who immediatley volunteered: “No charge.” That’s the way to do it.
Except… second time round, the service was funereal; eons to take our orders then serve. When I asked for tartare sauce, then lathered my battered haddock, it turned out to be garlic mayonnaise. Gads.
Last week to another hotel about whose nosh my pal raved. Nae cheap, but affa fine. She ordered the same main course, telling the waiter: “I had it last week, but could I get a little more of the delicious sauce on the chicken this time?” He served the dish with a tiny jug of extra sauce. Only when she got home and checked our bill did she discover she’d been charged a whopping £4 for the wee potty, presumably filled from the chef’s ample pan of the stuff.
Nae a happy bunny, she emailed the hotel to complain. Comes a reply explaining their “side dishes” are all £4 (but she’d only wanted a suppie mair gravy). Concluded the email: “It is not our intention to deter guests from returning, so your feedback will be shared with the kitchen team for consideration.” Gee thanks. We’re a learning aid for the chefs! Some incentive to go again would have been welcome.
So, yes, we have been deterred from returning. In these difficult times, surely complaints have to be dealt with like a masterclass in public relations.
Right royal show takes Crown for accuracy
Fit an excitement – the fourth season of The Crown started on Sunday. Couldna wait – but had to because I did something wrong with my fiddly wee Netflix silver device and didn’t manage to figure oot my boob (because my loon’s on holiday) until aboot midnight.
But boy, was it worth the wait. Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin as Chazzer and Di are superb. Of course the Moanin’ Minnies and Dismal Jimmies were soon blasting into the ether, claiming it was all more maakie-up than truth.
Allow me to dip my oar into the debate. As a super-nosey royal-watcher for decades, I’m pretty damn sure the majority of the series is bang-on the way things were. According to his biographers, Lord Louis Mountbatten did indeed encourage Charles to “sow his wild oats” – including with married Millie – when he was young, then demanded he marry “the perfect virgin”.
My main criticism is the series missing out on the crucial “plotting” between the Queen Mother and her beloved Lady-in-Waiting Lady Fermoy – born in Bieldside, mother of Diana’s mum Frances. They were the ones who first identified young Diana as the heir’s perfect princess.
My problem is resisting binge-watching. So I’m limiting masellie to an episode a day. However, it’s still clear the scene-stealing performance of the whole shebang has to be Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret.
Class acts who follow Covid rules
The good news is that maybe – just maybe – we’ll be allowed to gather together in groups of six-plus over Christmas.
Let’s hope that between now and then nae neeps let us doon. If the Central Belt dafties don’t merit a festive free pass, let’s hope oor strict heidie clamps down on them.
Meanwhile, Miss Sturgeon spies her top pupils at the back o’ the class. Sittin’ up straight. Hands up wi’ the right answers. Stickin’ to the rules. Affa prood o’ oorsellies. We can do it.