#97 – In Conversation

#97 - Nandos

On my return to my favourite eating-out place for the first time in just over a month, I find I am served by a face I don’t recognise. The accent is also one I can’t place which is why after I place my order, my curiosity gets the better of me. It turns out he’s from New Zealand – he describes his accent as having the Australian twang and the South African heft.

Apt I suppose, but perhaps more important for me is how much that conversation is an indicator of just how much I have evolved over the past year. Natter, of any sort with a complete stranger, has never really being my strong suit but perhaps this is evidence of progress of some sorts? I’d like to think it is.


Summer’s end, chicken fajitas and cuts at the BEEB

Only the most deluded of persons would deny that summer is well and truly over. Not only does it feel quite chilly, the trees also think so. Hyde park, which by much squinting I can just see from my 13th floor window at MO Corp, is covered in a layer of browns, reds, golds and the odd green patch crafted by fallen leaves as the trees acknowledge autumn. The sun on the odd occasion it manages to peek from behind the dull clouds seems weak, tired and offers no real warmth. Moments like these are those which fill me with a misplaced sense of nostalgia. Mercifully, I have my fleece with me as I head off to lunch with the team from work.

Lunch is at the Soul bar – and I may have unwittingly broken a personal record – the number of consecutive days I have had the exact same thing for lunch. The new record is five – five consecutive days having chicken fajitas. I have recently, thanks to the benevolence of a friend, acquired a taste for them; and soul bar – situated within the former West Church of St Andrew – delivers wonderful fajitas in an atmosphere of soft lighting, music and candle light! (gasp). The menu cards are humongous, and someone jokes that this is a great place to take a date to as the huge menu cards provide something to hide behind if the date goes awry.

It is a going away lunch for Kev who has completed his tour of duty, and the lunch time talk is slightly reserved – almost strained. Its been a great few weeks together on this project and he will really be missed. Whilst tucking into our food, Kev announces that he thinks our waitress is Canadian. For me all North American accents blur into imperceptibility. He, world traveler par excellence, thinks he can pin her accent to Nova Scotia. I make a mental note to confirm that. Kev and I have our plates well cleaned out when lunch ends – clearly we have no regards for calorie counts. The ladies plates though still have varying amounts of left over food. I remark that it must suck to have to bother about waistlines – such good food going to waste – and I get more than a few complimentary glares! At payment time, Kev asks the waitress and she confirms she’s Canadian. How he does this beats us all the time – he says its just being perceptive, the girls think its yet more proof that he’s psychic.

Speaking of cuts, calorie counting and bulging waist lines, leaked documents suggest that the BBC World Service as we know is in for massive change. Regular drama programming, Proms, and the Wimbledon highlights show are top of the agenda for axing… Sigh.