Wednesday, 6 April 2011

On not regretting

We're in a shed, about to eat some fish. While that sounds a little Bohemian and wayward to you all, I should point out that we're in a seafood restaurant called The Shed.

Well, actually, it calls itself a Fish and Chip Bistro. Only in Britain...

But it's all very nice. Through the window we can see Porthgain harbour, seagulls wheeling in the sea mist as the tide gently recedes under a sapphire-blue sky. It's all very beach-hut-chic inside, red check tablecloths over small wooden tables. There are a few lunchtime diners dotted around, some going for the range of fish and chips (from cod to monkfish), others, like us, opting for one of the specials.

We walked in to be greeted by Edith Piaf. Not the real one. That would have been a little odd. But the chanteuse Parisenne was playing as we were led to our tables. At first it was a little sophisticated, although my O-level French reminded me that her lyrics were never a bundle of laughs. Then it becomes apparent that the proprietors like their Edith. It seems that we were in for the whole sodding album.

As Edith launches into the one song of hers everyone actually knows, our mains arrive. I've had the ling, which is apparently related to cod. Not a close relative, to be exact, probably  the ling and the cod get together at weddings and christenings, things like that. But it's very nice, all the same.

Edith is still not regretting anything as we finish.

We regard the table next to us, newly-filled by two couples and a very young child called Fern. That's got to be classed as child abuse, right there, hasn't it? The adults are clearly no strangers to Waitrose. These are clearly people for whom the bread of life is ciabatta. Elderflower Presse is ordered. And as they clink glasses, one of them says loudly: "Chin-chin!"

Katie looks at me. I look at her. "Ironic," she says. "There's not a chin amongst them." I'm not entirely proud of the fact that I had been having exactly the same thoughts.

Edith is still warbling on as we ask for the bill. Bless her little Parisienne sparrow's heart, but she doesn't half go on. I'm reminded of something my dad used to say. "A little of her goes a long way." It's affecting my digestion something chronic.

We put on our walking boots and try to use them for their intended purpose. This is not a good idea after a big lunch. I see a Big White Thing on the coastline a few hundred yards away. As is the case of Big White Things the world over, we tourists walk over and take pictures of ourselves standing by it.

Maddeningly predictable.

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