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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Touch...Pause...Engage : Harrods and lunch at the Fish Counter.

Don’t you just love Harrods? It is as familiar to us as our own homes and has been a welcoming haven since our childhood. It has also been the preferred meeting place for us and our dear and cherished friend O:
“Where shall we meet O?”
“The Harrods bookstore...?” he would ask knowing full well our reply. Whenever we felt like messing with a good thing, we would try to find an alternative to our tried and trusted stomping ground:
“Shall we meet some place else today?” I tentatively ask trying to sound convincing.
“Okay ...” O would compliantly reply.
“How about Harvey Nicks for a change?”...I suggest, hopeful.
“Okay...” replies O non committal. 
“So ...on which floor ...?”I persist.
“On the second floor...at the Harrods bookstore!” he would reply sarcastically.
                                              Good Cod!:
The Fish counter at Harrods is a great place for lunch, as are all the other counters for that matter, we have tried them all. On this particular day, my sister, her husband and I just came off a flight to London and we were absolutely starving. We managed to get stools as soon as we got there and we quickly ordered some food. My brother in law asked for steamed cod and vegetables, while my sister and I ordered fried scampi and fries. We were sipping our wine while hungrily eyeing everybody else’s food when the waiter popped up wearing rubber gloves and brandishing a large cod fillet... that he proceeded to drag  across the counter towards my BiL (brother in law)with gusto...as though presenting him with a fur pelt:
“Is this to your liking sir?....”
“Yes, yes yes...”replied my BiL...wanting to put an end to this unnecessary public display of potential infection. He absolutely loathes anything that involves public scrutiny almost as much as Madonna loathes... Hydrangeas!
A split second later, a young woman wearing a gaudy Rolex watch the size of a newborns head...you know the kind with diamond bezel, diamond face and leopard print so tacky that no one in his right mind would buy except... her sugga daddy. She settled beside me and was asked by the same waiter what she would like to eat...she dutifully replied: cod. Lo and behold...the gloves were back on and the cod was dragged out for an encore .The question on our lips: Was it the same piece?
                                  “I ask you nice...for some F’rice!”
Back at the Harrods fish counter, give or take a month after the cod incident. My sister and I having eaten a very satisfactory meal once again: the chowder was heaven (served in a scooped out bread bowl...yum!) were entertained by the goings on around us.There was an American lady from New Orleans sitting next to my sister  (we know this because the 2 other American ladies sitting next to her got chatting). The waiter came to remove her meal and asked her whether she wanted anything else:
“Could I have some f’rice please?”
“No problem Madame, but it will take 20mns....” She nodded and the order was placed.
We thought that it was a little long for fries but maybe the cook was being meticulous.

“Here we are Madame..Sorry about the wait” said the waiter as he placed a bowl of steaming rice in front of her.
The lady looked down puzzled and  then back up again into the face of the beaming waiter :“ I asked for f’rice?... Not rice!"
We looked from lady to waiter and saw him wearing the same look of puzzlement until his "Aha" moment visibly changed his demeanour:
 “I am so sorry Madame... I haven’t been feeling very well...” he gushed pressing his hands to his ears for emphasis. “Would you like me to get you some fries?”
“No that’s fine. Just the check please.”
Time ticked on. The waiter popped up again:”Is everything ok Madame?”
“I asked you for the check...?”
And the hands went up again; to indicate the presence of left over symptoms of the malaise that was holding him back from understanding a solitary word she said.