Friday, July 25, 2014

Too damn hot: A tale of mirth and woe

I once vowed that I would never, ever complain about being too damn cold. It being too damn hot right now, I pretty much stick by this vow, right up to the moment later this year when gets too damn cold then I will forget I ever made that vow and complain like a bastard.

It was a vow made in haste, one summer's evening in Reading, when I and my former wife decided that it was be a great idea - with temperatures somewhere up in three figures - to go for a carvery meal at the local Harvester.

I bloody love a carvery meal. Jane, however, was born with sense and good taste and is trying to wean me off them, so I am forced to resort to stealth carveries, tables at which are booked 'by mistake' and hey - look at the vegetarian option - it's pasta and red sauce! This usually results in the Angry Pinched Face, at which we are both experts.

If I ever end up in hospital, I have already noted there is a Toby Carvery next door to Frimley Park, so I shall be down there, my drip on a trolley, bum hanging out of my gown, demanding that they stack me up with the three-bird roast, and don't skimp on the potatoes.

Carvery meals are up there with egg and chips, cheese on toast, Heinz Cream of Tomato soup, and I will fight any man who says otherwise. The layers of carvery fat will save me as the blows rain down on my pudgy body.

So, a mid-July Sunday, pavements so hot you could cook a steak, and me of the ex decided to go down to Whitley and stuff ourselves with the finest meats that Harvester had to offer.

Now, anybody who knows Reading knows one thing about that part of town: The Whitley Whiff. It was the smell of the nearby sewage works, compared with the delightful stench coming out of the Courage brewery, to make one distinctive pong for which Ricky Gervais got a decent 15 minutes of stand up comedy.

On that day, the Whiff was the worst it has ever been - every turd dropped in Reading in the last month or so was exposed to baking sun, and mixed with the wort wafting off Courage's, grown men were puking in the streets.

I know, because I was one of them.

We sat in the restaurant as waiting staff wilted, the chef stood in front of a grill saying "Sod this for a laugh" as another order for scorched meat came in, and more and more fools turned up to sit cheek-by-jowl in a packed eaterie where there was not one jot of ventilation, but plenty of antique farm implements fixed to the walls. If a fight ever broke out there, it would be a massacre.

Despite ordering everything off the menu, I probably lost a good couple of pounds in weight in there, all seeping out of bodily pores and down the back of my neck. And when I sweat, I'm like [inappropriate Jimmy Savile/Rolf Harris gag goes here].

Emerging from the Harvester, full to the gills with prawn cocktail, well-done steak and chips, something from the dessert menu, and a nice coffee on top of a pint of Strongbow, I was sweating like the proverbial pig as the Whiff caught me full in the face.

"Yarch," I said with some gusto.

"Yarch," I repeated, with rather less gusto, but rather more volume.

Ten minutes later, with the air conditioning roaring away like hell in the old Austin Allegro, I vowed never to complain about being too damn hot. But right now I'm too damn hot, so stuff that promise.

I made no such vow regarding carvery meals, and you will have to hold me at knife-point to get one out of me. And even then I'd have my fingers crossed.


TRT said...

Aircon on an Austin Allegro? Not in the UK market - possibly Australian...

Rowan said...

"I problem lost a good couple of pounds" you're slacking scary :P :D

Alistair Coleman said...

Wrote it on my iPad, so I can blame predictive text for that.

Richard said...

Blaming it also for the distinctive lack of anything, anything at all, being innahedge? It's like the parrot sketch without "it has ceased to be" or the Stones coming on stage and Jagger saying "OK, 2 hours of new material that you can't sing along too". Punchline, get it in, quickly.

Flaxen Saxon said...

Mr Mallard, I can tell you are not of the incendiary persuasion. Or as we like to be called these days, 'Arsonists'. Anyway, I digress. My point being, how can you complain about being hot unless you have been standing next to a 4 story block of maisonettes ablaze? Don't worry, I had an alibi and no animals were hurt. Well not any of the 4 legged variety, anyways. As for 'Lugless Douglas' on the second floor, let us be content with a light singeing- Ava Maria.

Dioclese said...

The Whitley Wiff. Remember it well.

It actually originates fro the sewage works a little further down the road on the left going towards Reading behind where Activision used to have their UK offices. I know, because I worked in that office and by buggery did it stink in the summer!!

In case you're wondering I used to live on the border of Earley and Lower Earley down towards Asda in Pimento Drive. Crap name...

I sold my house to a bloke who was going to cancel the deal unless I reduced the price and buy a place in Whitley Wood. No way was his wife ever going to live in nose reach of the wiff. He bought my house.