It was writing up the events of the most exciting weekend ever that put this in my mind.
This was a few weeks ago now, but the memory is still fresh.
We don’t get out much as a couple, my husband and I. The last time we had a babysitter arranged in the form of my friend Lizzie, we were so flipping tired that when she arrived we decided we’d all stay in and have a takeaway instead.
My sister took the kids on Saturday… but we both worked. That’s what life is like sometimes.
Anyway, it had been perhaps a little too long; the last time we sat down for a meal, just us, at a table, was quite some time ago. Possibly last year. Possibly more than a year. I’m not after the sympathy vote here; it is what it is.
We are fortunate that our parents live in the same town.
We didn’t meet until we had both lived away for a considerable time, and didn’t end up getting together until we were living in entirely different cities, but our parents live in the same town we both grew up in. It means we can visit all the grandparents in one trip, which is handy. When there was a family birthday we thought rather than doing the 60-odd mile trip there and back in a day we would stay with my parents overnight. We decided this on the Friday, and went up on Saturday morning. It’s a good job they lead a similarly unexciting social life as that was no problem.
Come the evening, the kids were in bed (not asleep, but in bed, and that’s half the battle) and we realised we had the opportunity to go out! My dad drove us the few miles into town, and dropped us off. We realised we had no idea where to go; the first two places we tried were fully booked so we ended up wandering up to the sea front in search of somewhere that would be able to seat us. It started raining. There is not a lot more miserable and univiting than a sea front in the rain.
Eventually we stumbled across a fairly average-looking Mexican restaurant.
It had a cocktail menu, and moreover, free tables, so we went in and sat down. The food was OK, the cocktails too expensive to contemplate (I had an expensive, singular, glass of wine instead) but it was nice to be out, on our own, without the kids (even if we were sat next to somebody else’s).
When we had finished though, the bill took a RIDICULOUS amount of time to arrive; normally it would be annoying, but a single childfree minute is worth at least five normal minutes and I could see them ebbing away in front of my very eyes.
When, a hundred years later, we had finally managed to summon the waitress and pay, we decided that as it was still fairly early we’d head to Wetherspoons; the pub in which we had met ten years (or so) previously. Romantic, no?
It had closed down.
There was a different Wetherspoons pub over the road, and so we went there, sat down and got drinks and probably discussed how the music was a bit loud and surely that girl would get a chill dressed like that and staple other old-people topics of conversation.
After a few minutes I decided to pop upstairs for a wee, and when I returned, Doug was stood at the bottom of the stairs holding the drinks. They had cleared the tables to make way for a dance floor. We got the hell out of there.
‘I know, we’ll go up to the pub near the library!’ we said, and wandered up and out of the town centre.
That had closed down too.
We’d now walked out of the town centre, so we thought we’d keep on walking towards another pub we knew of about a mile away.
Upon arriving, it was distinctly not open.
Ho hum, we thought. As we went to cross the level crossing to get to the next-nearest pub which we strongly suspected was still open, the barriers came down signalling an approaching train. This would take us at least a little bit nearer to where my parents lived, so we hopped on and travelled one expensive stop.
At the next train station, there was a pub which we used to frequent in our student days before things like ‘legal drinking age’ and ‘ID’ were a thing. We had a drink each, walked just over a mile uphill to get back to my parents, and went to bed.
Lesson learned really.
You can never go back.
Next time, stay in and get a takeaway.