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After a couple of weeks of ‘settling in’ it was time to venture out and about and meet some new people, and by coincidence, I found myself at the same restaurant four times in as many weeks.
By now, I don’t have to even read the menu, or wonder what their paella tastes like. But at 9e for a 4 course meal including wine, it would be churlish to refuse an invitation.
I think I mentioned before that the ladies of the village are very BIG on fundraising for good causes, and so on visit 3 to the restaurant, I found myself at a lunch with 23 complete strangers, to raise funds for a ‘much needed white board for the local school’.
The group were all very welcoming, an even mix of mature couples and some single women. I chatted with a couple of ladies, and we swopped numbers with good intentions of meeting up for coffee.
It was all very nice and kind of well, ‘safe’, nobody swore, and nobody got pissed.
But then I’m not in Essex any more.
Things did get a bit more interesting when they had what us common people call a ‘whip round’. This was in fact a little basket, which was passed round the table for everyone to donate something towards the ‘much needed white board for the local school’.
You can never be sure, at times like this, what is the right amount to throw in. It’s like the collection after a funeral at a church. Do you put in all your old shrapnel, or is it only polite to pop in some bank notes at the appropriate moment.
I know the 72 virgins waiting thing won’t apply to us lot, but if there should be 72 fit blokes waiting, then I don’t know about you, but I want to be in with a chance, and you don’t know whose watching from on high.
So anyway, I’m thinking, OK, this lunch is for a ‘much needed white board for the local school’. There are 24 of us here, I’m not sure how much a white board is, but collectively, we could get some helpful cash in the kitty, so I chuck 10e into the mix.
The 4 course meal, (including wine!) is only costing 9e, so worse way, along with my donation, that’s a total of about £15.00 in old money and in the UK I’ve spent more than that on JUST a posh sandwich and a couple of glasses of Prosecco, and the only ‘board’ in site is the one saying ‘Specials’.
I know, I KNOW, champagne taste on my lemonade salary.
Using my fingers and toes, I do some elementary sums in my head, and I reckon that with 23 other people round the table, conservatively, we could end up with in excess of 200e and in my mind’s eye I can see little Maria and Jose being dazzled by their new, all singing, all dancing ‘much needed white board in the local school’, very soon
The ladies who organised the fund raising lunch, play it dead cool and to abide by the charitable rules, decide for some reason NOT to count the money at the table in the restaurant, but to count it privately in front of a chosen few.
Don’t get me wrong, the fundraising ladies are doing a fantastic job, but I have to point out here that we were in fact the only people in the restaurant at this point, it wasn’t like we were in Maccy D’s in Dalston, the risk of a mugging was fairly remote.
The results of the count up were to be posted on Facebook (where else) and I found this hilarious; anyone would think it was some kind of haul, to be tipped out of a swag bag and counted over candle light, somewhere in a dark tunnel. Talk about making a drama out of a whip round, it’s a wonder Securicor wasn’t summoned to oversee things.
Later that night, the scores on the doors were indeed freely available for all to see, and it turned out, that with 24 people in attendance, the 4 course fundraising lunch that cost just 9e per person (including wine) raised just 98e for that ‘much needed white board for the local school’.
WHAT THE FUCK?
I personally put in 10e of that, which left 88e, raised between the 23 others.
Now YOU do the sums!
At this rate, it looks like Maria and Jose will be using chalk and a slate for some considerable time yet. Bless their little sombreros.
And visit number 4 to the same restaurant?
Surprise, Surprise, it had the lot, tears, laughter, camera’s and the very same Paella, BUT the very same 4 course menu (including wine) costs 3e more in the evening.
Bloody Hell, I won’t see the whiteboard fundraisers there after dark then