They say an army marches on its stomach, so it is just as well that my family have not been called on to defend the nation.
It is not that we do not eat, far from it, but when trying to get a meal-based event organised, it sometimes feels that logistically at least, it would be easier to invade a small country.
My brother’s last day in Perth will be Monday and he is leaving the following morning on an early flight. I thought it might be nice for the remaining family members to go out for a meal in their suburb, which has a few restaurants on his last night.
The problem is Monday nights is when most restaurants are closed.
So, after a brief discussion, I proposed that we shift plans, go out to eat tonight and then have a home-cooked get together the following day. By way of thank you to my parents, who have been doing most of the heavy lifting in terms of hosting (in particular my mother), I offered to pay for the meal and proposed a well established restaurant just up the road from their house.
‘That will be expensive,’ my mother said.
‘Well do not worry about that,’ I assured her.
‘It is eleven dollars for a glass of wine!’ She said.
‘Don’t worry,’ I countered,’We will drink it by the bottle.’
‘What about the other place?’ She asked.
There are basically three restaurants within walking distance for my parents from their house: the one I proposed, the one we had already eaten at for my brother’s birthday and another one that I shall refer to as the House of Fun Pasta.
My mother loves the House of Fun Pasta and to be fair, it has a varied menu, caters for vegetarians like me and my parents both like it. The only problem is I received extremely rude service there a few years ago and walked out, vowing never to go back.
Still, this was not all about me so when my mother hinted that the House of Fun Pasta was the place she preferred, and it was the closest to the house to them to walk to, I agreed to ring them.
In the past they had a stupid, groovy no-booking system, which is what caused me to have a row with them about a decade ago, but thought I would ring and see if they had changed, or would allow us to book, given that we had two older people in our group who were not going to fare well if made to stand around and wait for some hipster to finish their garlic bread.
In the meantime, I spoke to my brother who was concerned it would be noisy (it is – because it is such fun, and because it is so groovy it does not use soft furnishings so noise is bounced around rather than absorbed).
With a heavy heart, I dialled the number, consoling myself that breaking my vow of abstinence from the place had so far in ten years failed to drive it into bankruptcy, that it may well have changed owners by now anyway, that the woman who was rude to us almost certainly had left and that the dent to my credit card would be a lot less at the end of the night. By the time the phone picked up, I was almost looking forward to my meal there.
‘This is the House of Fun Pasta,’ said a voice, ‘We are closed for Christmas and New Year until the 11th January.’ We look forward to fun times in 2017 with our clients.
So I am currently typing this on a train and on my way to eat at the original restaurant I proposed. I guess in the end fate made the decision, and now it will just be a matter of trying to get my parents up the slightly longer walk in one piece, surviving the cocktail that my non-mixologist brother is creating and making sure I am in bed nice at a reasonable time for the early start I have tomorrow.
Onwards we march…