A backless dress and an exposed manky black bra. The restaurant hostess, and Maitre D' flirted with a party of four English golfers slapping down four large glass goblets of lager laughing out loud at a golfer joke she neither heard nor understood.
A four day short break in Quarteira Portugal.
We discover resentment directed at the backless Maitre D', by the two waiters, one tall, and toothless but articulate, the other short sweaty and harried. We note that Backless bullies Toothless and Harried and blames both of them for lost custom. Toothless claims that Backless favours Harried. Maybe Harried is more compliant with her demands than Toothless, but then Toothless knows his stuff.
It is the custom of Portuguese restaurateurs that they demand of their staff that they hustle passers-by to dine at their place and nowhere else. This is a dire unseemly and undignified process to all but the Portuguese. Tourists, including and especially this affronted Monk, would have to endure the constant hustling if they dared stray out of their hotel lobby.
You might escape restaurant hustlers by the simple manoeuvre of walking on the opposite side of the street. On that first day of our short break Toothless recognised us and noticed that we were avoiding the hustle at some distance. He ran, yes ran across the road to greet us. It was 3 years since he had seen us before. Back then we had played him against the other restaurants and teased him about the quality of his fish when compared to the pizza at Mamma Mia's, or the better fish deal at Antonios.
Toothless was a real free market economist just like those posturing unreal Etonians, Cameron and Osborne, selling empty promises, and not so fresh fisherman's yarns, blaming the consumer when the market gets stinky with greed.
Toothless may have greeted us like old friends but he never failed to have an eye for other passers-by who might be prepared to vote for his dead fish.
"Ladies, allow me to show you to your table," Toothless would say to passing middle aged women. They would ignore him and pass him by. Toothless would then re-engage with us seamlessly as if we were the only friends he ever had.
As we dined I observed the spectacle of Backless failing to drag customers off the street. Some were embarrassed into accepting her offer and would sit at a table and be overwhelmed by her obsequious unfunny but laugh out loud banter, so annoying that they might change their minds, get up and leave. Backless' smile would then evaporate and she would set about blaming Toothless. Beyond Harried would keep his distance or look busy walking to and fro’ the kitchen.
Like Backless, Toothless was also full of shit but he did at least accept the disappointment of a lost customer with some grace.
On our return home I notice an E-mail from Theresa May attempting to re-engage with me as if we were old friends.
Some iffy fish to sell apparently?