Monday, 13 August 2007

People Who Talk Loudly in Restaurants

Picture the scene. Sunday lunchtime in a lovely country pub, tables outside in the sun, charming views across the village green, cool music in the bar. Perfect. We go inside hoping they can feed us, having just driven back from Lancashire where we’d been to yet another friend’s fantastic 60th birthday party, and we are pleased to find that yes, they have a table for two available immediately, which is a very good thing as we’d been too hung over to eat breakfast and we are now STARVING.

We’ve been to this pub before, it has good food, trendy interior, friendly staff and very importantly, no riff-raff. Now don’t take issue with me here, I like a bit of riff-raff when it suits me, and in fact I possess many riff-raffish tendencies myself, as you know, but sometimes you just want to chill, don’t you? So no screaming babies, no kids roaring around pretending to be Spiderman or whoever, no blissfully unaware parents ignoring the little swine while they themselves enjoy their own meal, no football on Sky TV. Just a quietly sophisticated English country gastro-pub. Nice.

So we get our drinks and sit down, order our free range, organic, chef-cooked Sunday lunch and sink gratefully back into the soft brown leather chairs to wait. What a perfect way to round off our lovely weekend. I even take off my shoe and play footsie with my husband under the table, such is my total contentment. He is so relaxed he even lets me. Wonderful.

And then, in they come. One by one I clock the immaculate Sloaney clothes, the Berkin bags (tan of course, it IS summer after all darling), the perfectly ironed slacks, cashmere sweaters casually knotted around the shoulders, shirt collars turned up – yes, dear friends, it’s the invasion of the Hooray Henries and Henriettas.

What is it about some posh folk that makes them think they are the only people in the world who matter? That it’s OK to talk at a million decibels louder than anyone else? Or to continually lean back on the chair of a total stranger (aka my husband) who is trying to enjoy his lunch, and keep elbowing his head because they are standing TOO BLOODY CLOSE, whilst “entertaining” the whole bar with tales of how they’ve been out shooting and had “blown the bloody head right orf” a partridge, or skinned a rabbit with their sodding penknife. Big deal. I’m as interested as the next person (probably a bit more so, to be honest) in other people’s conversations but not when it totally puts a stop to everyone else’s within a five mile radius. And actually, Tarquin, I don’t really want to hear how annoying it is that your au pair won’t clean windows or how your holiday in Tuscany was such a bore this year because Jemima didn't like the heat, and by the looks on their faces neither do the rest of the pub either. The fact that the well behaved children of the family next to us are looking a bit worried about the rabbit skinning story seems to have escaped you. Which upsets me, quite a lot.

We eat the rest of our lunch in silence – well, I say silence but what I really mean is that the H.H’s are so brayingly loud that husband and I get fed up with lip-reading in order to communicate between ourselves, so decide to take our coffee outside. How bloody rude are they? The waitress comes out to ask if we’d like anything else and I resist the temptation to order a twelve-bore shotgun and a spare box of ammo to take back inside with me. That would sort the buggers out, and show them how the partridge must have felt at the same time.

We pay the bill and walk to our car which is now surrounded by open top Mercs, BMWs and Audi’s. Jealous, I am not. Furious, I am. My husband tells me not to over-react but they’ve spoiled our good time, and if I could rub a magic lamp at this very moment, you know what I’d wish for?

A particularly scarey chapter of Hell’s Angels to turn up, starving hungry and looking for trouble.

Oh yes.

14 comments:

laurie said...

oh what a great post. i know exactly what you mean. i am not above telling these people to speak softer, even though it does not good and if alcohol is involved i can get in trouble.

my husband is more likely to just remove himself from the situation--especially if they're joggling his head, as you mention this lot was.

i feel your pain!

Swearing Mother said...

Oh Laurie, how lovely to hear from you. I was getting a bit disheartened with this blog writing lark, to be honest, and you are one great encouraging voice.

It's weird how things get to me more than they do my husband, don't you think? I blame hormones, of course!

Best wishes.

laurie said...

ah, don't get discouraged. i love your blog. i just can't always think of an intelligent comment.

knifepainter said...

Hey S.M. Great post. I have spent the day in a whole TOWN full of these people. Drop by and have a read.

Don't get disheartened, you're doing great stuff..... and it can't all be girly hormones, 'cos I have been ranting all day !

laurie said...

for what it's worth, i used to write and edit a magazine. feel free to email me (email is on my profile) if you have questions about how that world works. i don't know much, but i might know something....

sally in norfolk said...

Came across from Knifepainter blog
Had a good read and enjoyed it too so will be back to visit again soon :-)

Motheratlarge said...

Thanks goodness, it's not just me! This has happened to us a few times and, like you, I find it completely distracting and upsetting. Young, crass, not overly bright Sloanes who think they own the world; everyone else is a bit-part extra in the drama of their lives. We get some of that up here in Edinburgh - with the less bright but wealthy students who make a nuisance of themselves. What I can't understand is how people like that have survived the Blair era - they seem like such an anachronism. I wish I could be more detached but their presence stops me from relaxing and enjoying my meal, so now I insist we leave if we spot them before we sit down. My husband is so much less bothered by this sort of thing. Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone in my horror of such creatures!

Tina said...

Don't get disheartened SM! I love your blog, it makes me feel like I'm not the only ranting woman out there. I know I'd have sat there & simmered with resentment. Good idea about the shotgun though. Every woman should have one...

Swearing Mother said...

Thanks Laurie, will email.

Thanks for visiting, Sally in Norfolk, your blog makes me want to go out and buy fish - but it's midnight!

MotheratLarge: I feel so much better knowing that it's not just me that gets steamed up about these things.

Have just read your breastfeeding post. Everything you say is SO true. Thanks for visiting.

Tina! Lovely to talk to you again. Have left a message on your blog.

Thanks everyone.

Mopsa said...

Mannerless gits. I'm afraid I would have done some good old elbow banging of the head of my own in return (well, rather the verbal equivalent of same). How dare they spoil your day. But at least you got a great post out of it!

Manic Mother Of Five said...

Don't have the opportunity to go out for lunch - well unless I take my tribe with me, which rather defeats the object of a quiet lunch...... So understand that feeling of seething inside and wanting to scream at someone. Think that's precisely why guns are licenced in this country! Hope you had a gin when you got home and feel better now. Keep up the fab blog. Love it!

Swearing Mother said...

Mopsa, mannerless gits they definitely were, how right you are! Thanks for calling, you made me feel a whole lot better.

MMOF - I feel guilty now at moaning at all, I probably get to go out to lunch a lot more than you do, so I should be more chilled really. Did indeed have the gin, and then another. As you say, good job guns are licensed in this country or there would definitely have been an ad hoc partridge moment! Thanks for visiting.

Mike said...

swearingmother, I love your blog too, just hadn't logged on cos in july you didn't write for ages. Glad to be back.

Swearing Mother said...

MIKE (or Mike's Mum) how lovely to read you. Yes, have been a bit quiet, busy and all that stuff, but I'm having a chatty phase at the moment so please drop by any time.

Best wishes.