This was the first one that I had real misgivings about; especially when I phoned up and booked a table, with the inevitable question ‘How many is that for?’ Er, just one. I feared there was a bit of stigma about it, and felt quite self-conscious about presenting myself on my tod, in a public place. I expected it to be highly uncomfortable and probably expensive.
But imagine my delight; it turned out to be an enormous pleasure! Excellent food, time to myself, and not in the least bit awkward. I went far enough from home to not fear bumping into a crowd of school mums, and found a lovely pub/restaurant http://www.thevillagepub.co.uk. The staff were friendly and betrayed no hint of an attitude that I was a slightly tragic figure for dining alone.
I found a corner-ish table where it didn’t feel as if the whole room were staring at me, I made myself comfortable, ordered a drink, accepted the menus, and only then realised – quel horreur – there were two men at the next table having an intensely personal conversation, loud enough for me to hear, and what could I possibly pretend to be doing that could hide the fact I was there???! Argh! I busied with the menu. I checked my phone. I went to the toilet. They were almost finished. But then! They ordered dessert! Help! The catalogue of personal tragedies ran on and on. Thankfully I had brought pen and paper, as I’d had the inspired idea to knock off another of the 100 challenges while there. So I could ignore the distressing chat, and instead absorbed myself in writing several of my 10 letters to tell people what I love about them, which was a delightful experience in itself.
I ate delicious cod filet with an olive oil mash, drank sauvignon blanc, and enjoyed the ambient lighting and rustic feel of the place. Since I didn’t feel at all awkward or out of place, I agreed to the dessert menu, and followed up with a splendidly delicious banoffee pie sundae. I was enjoying the time and space and letter writing so heartily that I ordered a coffee afterwards… In fact I was the last to leave; the waiters were hanging round the bar at the end of their night, and one clearly thought the place was empty, as he let rip with a ma-hoosive belch. His colleague hissed at him in reproach: ‘we have a customer’; which I thoroughly enjoyed.
So that is excellent; I am very pleased to report I have sufficient poise and self -assurance to go out and dine alone. I am officially ready to be 40!