We're taking a bit of a breather while the world rearranges its underpants. Meanwhile, the other blog is here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Madame De Farge's discourse on office lunchtimes reminds me that I've been meaning to explain our mid-day régime...

The first, and some days only, priority is to get out of the damned building, even only for ten minutes. This is easier said than done:
  • "I know you're just going on your lunch but..."
  • "You'll have to take the back stairs, the lift's broken again."
  • "Can you be sure to be back for one? We need someone to cover the 'phones."

And then there's the business of actually getting out of the building, which is built like a maze. It's generally easiest to escape via the fire escape onto Abattoir Lane but this is generally frowned upon. So that's what we do.

There are still a few butty shops left in the town centre and they're generally very good (the girl in the shop on the corner has the nicest eyes but the bread's better at the shop on Jimpo Road). These are all well and good but you then end up having to go back to the staff room for to eat them (the company's good and the banter's fun but you're still in the building and available for interrupting).

There is a staff canteen in the Town Hall. The food's OK, a bit school dinners but OK. Very few council staff actually eat in the staff canteen. By the time they get out of the office at twelve o'clock all the good stuff's been devoured by the pensioners who've been to the morning tea dance and the remainders have been prodded heavily by passing councillors.

So we scuttle off to one or other pub or tea room. For many years the favourite bolt-hole was 'The Dreaded Tankard' on Hilpot Lane. The food was cheap and excellent and the landlady, a madly-energetic little bird of a woman, fussed over us like a mother hen. We very seriously tried to make the bottle room an official meeting room but were heavily overruled by Mary.

These days we split our time between 'The Duck & Pullet,' 'The Liberty Horse' and Nancy's Tea Room. It's important to get that time out of the building.


Happy Frog and I said...

Lunchtime routine is so important. You need to get out for as long as possible or else you might lose your identity to the machine completely. That and also it is very nice to get out for a drink and a pie!

Madame DeFarge said...

I long for the Regency Cafe or the Laughing Halibut, both excellent in their own way. Pubs are completely out, as I go pink after a swift half. Our butty shops are all Italian delis, who have no concept of a good cheese and onion sandwich. But escaping is always a good idea. My tunnel needs some work.

Ellis Nadler said...

thank you for reminding me never to leave London

Anonymous said...

those passing councillors need a good prod up the backside

Gadjo Dilo said...

I gave up on lunchtimes as my attempts at jolly conversation were generally met with either a yes-or-no answer or a little nervous laughter. I now prefer the graveyard.

Macy said...

Ha! As every fule kno, lunchtimes are for SHOPPING! Nothing like a quick flex of the credit card to take your mind off the day job :)

Kevin Musgrove said...

Happy Frog and You: the council's record for a lunch hour is thirteen months. There were questions in the local paper.

Madame DeF: I forgot to mention that staff are banned from drinking alcohol at lunchtime. Which explains the state some of them get into in the Monkey's Arms of a Friday night.

Ellis: you need to once ina while, you'll not prosper otherwise. And think of the relief when you arrive back home!

nursemyra: that's a given...

Gadjo: one of our libraries is like that.

Macy: careful girl, that new job's going to your head! (-:

Major Tom D'Omo said...

HFI is Utterly spot-on. You need to get out as a matter of principle. Resist the little tetra-paks of juice and the Tupperware. I did here some real specimen here suggesting that staff should not be allowed out at lunchtime. Now conceivably some of my lot should not be allowed in public, but that's a different matter.

Major Tom D'Omo said...

Fudge. I did HEAR some real specimen here. Sorry