If you are from the UK, then you will know what ‘gutting’ means. If you are not, let me tell you. You are said to be ‘gutted’ when something does not turn out as you want. This a football player may say “I was gutted because we was robbed in the 90th minute”.
I enjoy how the restaurant business describes its various segments. KFC, McDonald’s and Burger King for example describe themselves as Quick Service Restaurants. Harvester, Beefeater and Toby Carvery are in the Casual Dining segment. I was due to be a customer of the casual dining segment today, but our plans were thwarted due to the fact that Kings Langley experienced a rare electricity power outage for 30 minutes this morning. This meant that the good people at the Toby Carvery were not able to provide their signature roast dinner at our planned dining time of 1 PM. We were gutted. As a result of this, we had no choice but to go to the local deli, a pleasant experience in itself.
Prior to departing the Toby Carvery, we asked what they may be able to serve. Due to the fact that the majority of the dishes are meat-based (carved, hence the name carvery), they were able to offer only either a cheese sandwich or a prawn sandwich. Good for the staff for even offering something, but it reminded me of the dead parrot sketch by Monty Python. After the frustration of complaining about the dead parrot, the customer asks what other animals the pet shop may have. The shopkeeper, rather hopefully says “well, we’ve got a slug “.
Today I was visited by my barber, for my monthly shave and haircut. It was the first time that my barber had ever cut anybody’s hair while they were sitting on a toilet seat. What made this even more different to the norm was that the toilet seat was in our lounge. Let me explain. I have raised toilet seat with legs which sits over the normal toilet, and we brought this downstairs. I placed a cushion on it and the barber cut my hair, with the clippings falling onto the wooden floor.
Power cuts were a feature of growing up in the 1970s, and every household had candles at the ready. When I worked in Turkey between 1996 and 1998 we sometimes had power cuts in our office. This became quite annoying because our staff would lose their work on the computer, so I remember that we invested in a back up generator. However this did not solve the problem of a lack of water supply. Somehow or other the furniture shop next door retained its water supply when ours disappeared. As a result we would use the toilet facilities of the furniture shop. Everyone seemed to be okay with this.
These days waiting has become part of my life. He gives me time to think and just be. I typically wake up at 7 AM and my carer comes at 10 AM. During this time I will use the toilet, have breakfast and do some exercises next to my bed. Waiting teaches us a lot, especially in a world where we like to be in control.
So what is the lesson from today? What wisdom can I impart to my children? Perhaps it is this. If there is a power cut in the location where you plan to have lunch, then do the wise thing and call the dining establishment to verify whether they will indeed be able to offer their normal gastronomic experience.