Last night Guido and I were in bed. I am getting a bit worried you might be thinking that there may be parts of my blog which are inexorably slipping towards innuendo describing Guido and me in the sack. I do apologise if it’s beginning to have a rather familiar ring to it. However I thought you might be interested to know that statistically I had more hits on my blog called, “Faking it,” than any of the others put together. I think this must mean there is a disproportionate number of people surfing the net for whom faking orgasms is more of an interest than having them, so they must have been pretty disappointed when they read my blog. To boost healthy search engine figures from now on I am considering tossing in a reference to sex in the title of all of my blogs so perhaps this one should be renamed “In Bed With Machiavelli.”
Just to explain why we were in bed but not sleeping or having sex, I like to watch TV there. Last night I was trying to decide whether or not I was really enjoying the latest Scandanavian drama to be imported over here. Although the TV in our bedroom is only at the end of our mattress it’s still too small for me to read subtitles and unfortunately I can’t speak Danish. They talk fast in Denmark and keeping up to speed with the plotline was impossible. Guido was propped up next to me flipping enthusiastically through the pages of a glossy new cookbook he has added to his collection. This one had an ominous photograph of a meat cleaver and a headless chicken on its cover. As you can tell the two of us really do have some pretty exciting evenings at home these days.
“We should start to think about organising our wedding.” I announced. Taking this kind of approach was quite a bold tactic for me. My strategy for raising difficult topics to discuss with Guido has always been to slowly reel him in, like that great British idiom, so he’s done up like a kipper. Apologies to my international readers, I realise you may have to go look that one up. What I mean is that whilst we might start out talking about one topic, like say Spanish football, in my mind I’ve already mapped out where I want the conversation to end, and that invariably involves agreeing that we should wallpaper the bedroom. Trust me my comment about marriage planning was said without any hint of Machiavelli plot or anything which might eventually involve having to rent a waterproof marquee.
“Yes you should,” Guido replied still reading.
“We have to start thinking about a date and get it in the diary.”
“Yes you should,” Guido replied still reading.
“We have a complicated bilingual Spanish reception to organise which must absolutely not under any circumstances involve flamenco dancing or the banging of heels in time to guitar music.”
“Yes you have,” Guido replied still reading.
“We have to think about a venue and seating plans. We urgently need to identify who amongst our family and friends has the strongest constitution to sit next to your Great Aunt Angelicas with The Big Nostrils.” Then, I went in for the kill. “How about going up to Marylebone Registry Office tomorrow?”
“I can’t tomorrow. The Twins are taking the day off,” Guido said quick as a flash.
Guido has two nineteen year old brothers who help out at The Spanish Onion café. One helps out back in the kitchen and the other helps out front waiting on tables. They are known as The Twins. This is because, not surprisingly, they do happen to be twins. They have names but we only ever refer to them as, The Twins. Even when I ask one of them “Where is? Or how is?” I always say “Your twin.” As they are identical it is probably just as well one works front and one back otherwise it may get very confusing for the customers. The customer might remind the wrong twin about his or her order and this would utterly confound The Twins. They would probably reply saying something completely inappropriate like, “It wasn’t me.” When The Twins are in the same room together they sometimes stand next to one another and it makes my eyes go all funny. I have to blink repeatedly like I am seeing double – which of course I am.
“Oh?” I said, ”No help front or back in the café? That will be difficult for you?”
“Yes. I am afraid so, but I couldn’t say no. They are going to audition for Britain’s Got Talent” said Guido. I really did have to hand it to The Twins. They may not have talent but they certainly had guts. Guts and the capability to throw a spanner into the finer workings of my fledgling wedding plan.
“Talent for what?” I said pensively. I honestly didn’t have a clue.
“They told me they were gong to perform some sort of original rap which they have written together,” said Guido. At that point I felt a strange pang of sympathy for Simon Cowell but I kept going – I wasn’t going down this early without a fight.
“Why can’t Rosa and Juan help you?” I asked.
“They are dying their hair,” Guido said, flicking his own. Whilst I realised dying ones hair properly could be a time consuming affair, taking all day long to do it seemed to be egging it to me. I don’t know, maybe that is the sort of thing you do when you are retired. You string things out, like hair dying, to fill the cavernous void which your life will have undoubtedly become.
“Why didn’t you tell me and I would have made alternative arrangements to help you out? I’ve done it before. Remember?” At that point Guido closed his cookbook and then he closed his eyes.
“Yes. I do remember. And ever since that day I have been trying to block it from my memory. It’s the very reason you helped out before I have never asked you to help out again.” I was mildly hurt. It was true, certain memories of that occasion did include Guido getting very red faced and shouting in Spanish. Poor customer satisfaction also rang a faint distant bell in the recesses of my brain. “I really don’t think you are cut out for a career in the catering trade,” he said. This made The Twins sound like a couple of brain surgeons. I had just assumed every customer I met that day had loved me. In fact I had fully expected Guido to report back to me that everybody had missed me and had been asking where I was and, for goodness sakes, when would I be back because they couldn’t wait to be served by such a personable and able young man.
“You didn’t take food and drink orders when you should have because you were too busy being distracted by a bunch of muscular builders. When you did take an order you wrote it down incorrectly or wrote it so badly I couldn’t even read it. Those customers who did actually get something out of my kitchen witnessed you inexplicably serving it to those at the table next to them but they were too embarrassed to tell you. This meant that the “Sausage Bap” surveyors got the “Bacon Bap” caretakers breakfast and visa versa. The “Ham and Cheese Croissant” had to be renamed the “Tuna Melt” and the “Salt Beef Sandwich with a Gherkin” (on the side) had his gherkin on the side temporarily displaced. You couldn’t work the coffee machine so the only choice everyone had was a straight black or white coffee and even then you gave the “White Skinnys” whole milk and the “Whole Whites” skinny. Never before have I had to listen to such a litany of complaints about the density of froth. Oh and you left the back door open and the dog from the laundrette next door almost urinated in the oven.”
We agreed that if I agreed not to help out then he will agree to agree to a date. Are you still with me? Machiavelli plot or being kippered, you have to hand it to me it was a great outcome.
“How about the first dates we can get towards the end of October?” I thought the vagueness of that question was a stroke of brilliance on my part. As Guido tended to operate in a time and calendar free zone I knew the imminence of that time frame would mean absolutely nothing to him. I might as well have said, how about 2020?
“OK, but let me know as soon as you can. I suppose I will have to close The Spanish Onion for business on that day?”
Laugh? I almost came apart at the seams. It was classic Guido. If he honestly thought we would be changing into white suits for a quickie in Marylebone Town Hall between the breakfast and lunch hour rush, then he literally had another thing coming.