I feel slightly dirty about something I just did. I am an egalitarian. I believe all men are equal. But I think I just betrayed my principles. We arrived at a restaurant and the conversation went like this:
“Good evening, sir, table for three?”
“Yes, please, on the terrace if possible.”
“Certainly, sir, do you have a reservation?”
“No, I’m afraid we don’t.”
All fairly straightforward, I’m sure you’re thinking, and wondering what the problem was. Well, what you can’t see written but was all too painfully obvious was that between my first and second sentences is that my accent went up at least two social classes. And it kept going. With every sentence I was getting further from my comfort zone. If the conversation had gone on for much longer, I would have made the Queen Mother sound like someone from The Only Way Is Essex. But what made it worse is that I’m in Canada where the locals struggle to understand my total lack of accent at the best of times. So now we have a very well trained waiter trying to deal politely with a man whose voice is moving backwards and upwards, totally out of his control. I could see in the waiter’s eyes that he was beginning to consider the Heimlich manouvre, since the sounds I was making could only come from someone with a foreign body wedged firmly in a major airway. But just in time I managed to regain some small amount of control and, in a mutual state of great relief, he showed us to a table. Where I ordered by pointing at the menu.
And since you ask, it was the best good I have eaten in Canada – though having only been here 48 hours that’s perhaps not much. But if you’re ever in Niagara, I recommend The Old Winery on Niagara Stone Road. But probably better if you don’t say I sent you…