I’m lucky that I live in a small village with a great community shop and an excellent pub – the Half Moon. Thinking of the RDI principle of ‘same but different’ I thought that as Ellen has been ordering her lunch from McDonalds for several weeks now, it may be time to see how she gets on ordering her lunch elsewhere. I confess, I may also have been motivated by the fact that in the last couple of weeks there have been two separate incidents where cars have come off the adjacent bypass and rolled down the bank right by our regular McDonalds – it just doesn’t seem a good place to be this week for more than the usual reasons.
Today has also been a wonderful Spring-like day and the pub has a fantastic log fire which is very enticing. It’s also just a few metres away from the shop where Ellen and I do our regular Wednesday shelf-filling job, so it’s convenient and I manage to sneak a bit of extra walking and fitness into Ellen’s schedule!
Just a year or so ago I would have been extremely nervous about taking Ellen into such a public place for lunch. The pub does tend to get quite busy and the tables are packed closely together and should her anxiety levels rise, so could her verbal levels.
I had told her that we were going to the pub for lunch and I pointed out the pub on the way to the shop. We have been to eat there many times before, but never just the two of us and never in the main pub – in the past we have hidden away in a side room called the 19th hole.
Ellen seemed to take everything in her stride, completed her shelf-stacking and cardboard disposing-of list in record time and was out of the shop before I could finish paying for my purchases. ‘I’m going to the pub’ she said when I finally managed to catch her up and asked where she was going. Confidence was obviously not an issue!
Luckily it was quiet when we first arrived, just after 12. In fact we were only the second people in there. Ellen chose where we were going to sit (near the fire 🙂 ) and then we looked at the menu. Ellen was torn between the Jumbo sausage meal and the Farmhouse Ham but finally made her decision and we went up to the bar to order. I had managed to have a quick word with the landlady beforehand to tell her that Ellen was going to try to order her meal and she was more than happy to play along. So up to the bar we went and the landlady asked what we would like to eat. ‘Sausage’ Ellen said. She had to repeat herself once but in the end the landlady got the idea that she wanted sausage, egg and chips. I placed my order and then Ellen was asked if that was it. ‘A blackcurrant’ she asked. The landlady nodded. ‘Would you like any ice?’ Ellen shook her head. There was a pause and then Ellen said ‘And what would you like to drink Mum?’ Yay! For me that was the best moment of the whole lunch
The lunch was enormous! Far too much for us – even Ellen didn’t manage to finish all the chips which must be a first! Phoebe the dog will be very happy with the leftover sausage she will get for her supper.
By the time we got our lunch the pub was full but Ellen coped with it very well. So did the clientele. Despite the fact that Ellen had a yellow face and a large trunk painted on her face, no-one stared or acted in anyway out of the ordinary.
The only potentially awkward moment was when we stood up to leave and Ellen swung her coat right into the lady who was sitting at the next table! ‘I do that all the time too’ the lady confided.
It’s such a great feeling to have Ellen so accepted in her local community and only makes me more keen to repeat the experience – but perhaps to order fewer chips next time!