Anticipating an easy drive, we set off at 1.45pm, travelling to junction 8 of the M4 - no problem, then, eek, we were in the countryside … not our natural habitat. But we have GPS, no? Well, yes, but with EaZyD driving and me hanging onto my wheelchair, we had no hands free to look at the Google maps directions that were up on my phone. D pulled over, snatching the phone from my shaky grasp.
“Where’s the blue dot?” He demanded. Blue dot … what freakin’ blue dot?
“The blue dot … you know, the blue dot.” Me - no, really, no idea.
“That tells us where we are … the blue dot …” His voice was getting very loud as he frantically pressed buttons and flicked pages. “What’s the postcode. I’ve lost the instructions. Postcode?”
Very aggressive. Don’t know about you but I don’t as a rule respond well to aggression … er, meaning that I reply in kind, matching tone to tone.
“What the hell have you done? The directions were clear and now you’ve lost them.” Pause for breath. D giving me daggers. “I’ve no frickin idea what a blue dot is. I don’t get out much. Never use sat nav, GPS, whatever.”
Stony silence. Me thinking.
“If it’s relevant, my geographical locator is off [I have real big brother issues with those things plus, I NEVER GO OUT!] because everyone knows where I am - at freakin’ home!” D ignores me.
“What am I? Eff'in’ Google. Do you think I just remember these things (actually I quite often do, I’ve got one of those memories for numbers but I was so mad… )? … look it up.”
Suffice to say, we were fifteen minutes late, the last two or three miles taking twenty minutes of travel time, and barely speaking on arrival. Fortunately our friends have a similarly volatile response to their own crises and quickly defused the tension by laughing their heads off as me and D bickered over who was in the wrong! I even discovered what that damn blue dot was! Knocking back some drinks, equability was quickly restored.
Our friends live out this way and I’d found Luke’s Dining Room from the restaurant review by Jay Rayner in The Guardian. We all like going somewhere we haven’t been before and, Jay Rayner was right: nice place, nice people, good lunch. Not massively busy - you’ve got to wonder how they make money but I guess it’s a quiet period, post summer madness. The restaurant was completely accessible from car park to table - there was deep gravel in car park but it wasn’t too bad and we could’ve unloaded straight onto paving if we wished.
The menu choices weren’t huge but the veggie options were good - I had beetroot salmon to start and the mushroom gnocchi; the seabass looked good as did the roasts. It was pretty good value too - with drinks and coffee - at about £35 per head. Everyone was helpful and pleasant.
Leaving, we all thought it would be fab in the summer. They have a marquee up for parties and weddings and stuff.
Then we drove back … into West London with all the weekend traffic going in. At least we knew the way but, hell … it was just a hell of a journey back home too. Two, painful, tense hours to travel about twenty miles. Not a lot of talking that evening in our home …