Gordon's touch was needed

IF there's one thing I've always hated it's causing a fuss. Call me chicken or typically British if you like, but I prefer to keep the peace. Or I did.

IF there's one thing I've always hated it's causing a fuss. Call me chicken or typically British if you like, but I prefer to keep the peace.

Or I did. I don't know if it's an age thing or what but since hitting the big 5 0, I've been filled with a new confidence.

If I think a stand needs to be made then I'll make it. Woe betide anyone who tries to palm me off with shoddy goods or services. They're likely to get a tongue lashing - or a letter at least.

I'm the first to admit though that sometimes it's best to treat adverse situations with a touch of humour to get the most positive results. Which certainly proved to be the case the other night when my hubby, some friends and I went out for a meal. There was no way we wanted to risk crossing swords - or knives come to that - with a chef who was doing a brilliant impression of Gordon Ramsay!

We'd arrived at the restaurant in jovial mood looking forward to sampling food that had been highly recommended. And it certainly seemed from the aromas wafting from the kitchen that our tastebuds were not about to be disappointed.

Indeed the chef's melodrama served to heighten our sense of anticipation, as we stood waiting to be taken to our table. If Gordon's programme is anything to go by the standards must be pretty high, we thought.

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Even when we were eventually lead downstairs to a room devoid of other people, we continued to look on the bright side. By the numbers mingling upstairs, we assumed that the only other table would soon be filled too. But no. It appeared that a couple of waiters and a display of dusty bottles were to be our only company. You see we'd ended up in the wine cellar - the room used for overflow!

And while you might imagine that to sound like a dream come true, believe me it's not when you can only gaze at the contents. There's also probably more atmosphere in a space capsule.

We continued our friendly banter with the staff for a while - or more exactly, the length of time it took to exhaust our supply of jokes featuring wine and corkage.

Then we decided to make a protest. Well, it didn't seem fair that we'd been stranded down there when we'd booked weeks in advance.

Our polite remonstrations fell on deaf ears. It seemed our original table had, for 'business reasons', been given to somebody else which meant there was absolutely nothing that could be done. We were promised however that chef would come and talk to us later. Frankly I wasn't sure whether that was supposed to make us pleased or just plain terrified.

What was clear however was that we were expected to accept our lot. Until that is one of our party, who was seated where two tables joined, pointed out the discrepancy in height between them. As he jokingly demonstrated it totally ruled out any chance of him having the cream of broccoli soup.

And that's when we like to think our good humour finally won the day.

For not only were we immediately offered a place upstairs but a free bottle of wine to boot!

I see that Suffolk Coastal District Council has greatly upset a number of Felixstowe residents by having gardeners remove some shrubs and bushes near the cliffs in Old Felixstowe. Apparently they need to cut down on maintenance as part of their drive to save £1,000,000 a year.

It makes me really mad when I hear SCDC bleating on about money like this. You see 20 years ago my husband and I, along with many other families, had to remove our perfectly placed, newly fitted and much loved beach hut from its site at Manor End on their say so.

And if you consider that we paid about £150 a year ground rent way back then, that means that they could have raked in at least £3,000,000 on these payments alone. It doesn't even take into account any annual increases or all the other revenue that they've lost out on as a result.

Instead the land has just been left barren all that time when it could have been a source of great pleasure and enjoyment.

Is it any wonder then that SCDC gets absolutely no sympathy from us?

Hubby and I endured a nightmare journey the other day, as we battled to make our way to a dance lesson. We'd set off in good time but we had no idea that the area around St Matthew's Street was due for a bout of late night resurfacing. Emotions were therefore running high as we discovered that almost every road in the vicinity was closed off to traffic.

Eventually the huge round-the-houses diversion, meant that we finally turned up over 15 minutes late.

Now it was bad enough being deprived of some much needed valuable tuition, but of course we also missed a chunk of our allotted dancing time. And who can ever put a price on that?