This morning I decided that I needed to have a relaxing lunch, perhaps a glass or two, read the papers, write a bit and just enjoy the day. I went to The Swan, another favoured local of mine. They have a garden at The Swan, shady in part, with luxurious foliage. It is a place where a blawger may relax and drink; sometimes with others who pop in with the same idea.
I fell in the door as The Swan opened at 12.00, took a position at table 47 in the garden, ordered a pint of ‘Numbers’ to quench my thirst after the great trek from my staterooms, and opened the Guardian to read of the events of our times as seen through the eyes of a Guardian journo or features writer. I then ordered a glass of Tempranillo and the pasta of the day (large).
It was then that I heard, not the beating of spears against animal hide shields, but the sound of babies and investment bankers getting out of SUVs. The women poured in first, wrestling oversized prams through the rear doors of the pub, onto the decking. The babies in the prams were already crying. And then came the men, almost to a man, dressed in adolescsent cargo pants cut off at the knee, polo shirts, or ordinary work shirts with no tie, sleeves rolled up and shirt tails left hanging out. To my jaded eye, they were a mix of City types, and, probably the odd City associate or ‘of counsel’. Some had shades, others appeared to be doing deals on their mobiles.
A friend of mind, leant forward and said “MILFs” and said that he had to go. There were Americans, South Africans, a few New Zealanders / Aussies and a few Brits. Given the number of introductions, it was clear that they did not know each other. If they did, then I think they need to consult their doctors and get treatment for attention deficit disorder. Quite a few of the men were holding beer bottles with slices of lime in them. Christ on a bicycle… so late Eighties as to be laughable.
It was like an updated version of ‘Happy Days’. The modern day ‘Fonz’ sported jeans, a Turnbull & Asser shirt, and aviator shades and kept saying ‘Hey…. readies behind the bar, brother.” Maybe he was the head honcho… I was beyond interest or caring.
And still they came… like Zulus… thousands of ‘em. A ‘smugness of bankers”?
I could take no more. I went up to the Bar to pay my bill and escape. A lovely Aussie adventurer, doing the European grand tour and working at The Swan, laughed and said “Like the babies squealing?”
“It is like Montessori meets a City lawyers or bankers conference out there… and I can’t listen to any more forced bonhomie and corporate merde du boeuf. I’ll be back at 6.00 when, hopefully, the men in cut off trousers, and the babies and eager parents have gone.”
Aussie adventurer laughed.
I am now back at my Staterooms – improving my mind listening to Italian opera and thinking. I have a glass of Vitriolla to my right, Silk Cut to my left and I am looking at a sign on my private office door, in my own home, which reads “It is against the Law to smoke in these premises.” I did not steal the notice. I was given it by a publican friend of mine.
I have, this day, become a grumpy old git… again.