We took the girls out for an evening meal last night. After our recent camping trip, Tom and I are thriving on the fact that Dolly (now 17 months) can now cope with being up later than 6.30pm, so we thought we would take the bull by the horns and dine out. It was a much anticipated dinner date with our children. We had heard that the food was good and that there was a lovely family atmosphere. As we pulled up after a hard afternoon's den-building on the beach, we were very excited to see a well-designed sign outside the pub-restaurant.
Despite our slight nervousness that the evening would descend into chaos, and knowing full well it wouldn't compare to an evening out with just the two of us (ie relaxing and indulgent), the girls behaved pretty well thanks to a few bribes - crisps on their plates before the meal arrived and felt tips and toy cars to shove across the table.
With hindsight (perhaps we were too busy trying to distract the little ladies to notice), the carpet should have sounded the warning bell. It was pure McPub. That and the soundtrack, which either was, or was the equivalent of, Best Love Songs Of The 80s Ever, on repeat until the end of time. When the food arrived, it was horrible. No more to say about it, just horrible. Even Dolly turned her nose up at it. I had two glasses of wine to numb the pain, and Tom (who was driving) had half a cider and kept shaking his head in despair at his overcooked trout. We were guttted, and the children cried.
It was the drive home that made the whole outing worthwhile. It was late, so both girls started moaning and whingeing. Clutching at straws, I turned on the stereo full volume, and out blasted 'Little boxes' (by Malvina Reynolds). We all laughed, and clapped along and heartly sang 'Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky...' all the way home. It was a memorable moment and one that I won't forget. Our car was a very happy and jovial place.