The year when it all went pear shaped (part 1)

I’ve just finished reading a post in one of the blogs I follow:

Their post today was about the lightbulb moment when Joanna and Jonno  committed to their vagabonding lifestyle.. Read what they had to say about it here:

The Coffee that changed our lives

Joanna and Jonno call themselves vagabonds. They sold up everything two years ago and now travel the world doing bits of this, and bits of that. It’s worth reading about their lifestyle and how it’s working out for them.

We chose a similar lifestyle for ourselves approximately six years ago. Our plan was to live our Grey Nomadic life for a minimum of seven years, but we hoped it would continue on for much longer. We had purchased our rig, sold up most of our other possessions, and in May 2014 we hit the road.

The beginning of 2015 found us in Tasmania with a doer-upper house purchased that we planned to rent out after we’d spent some time doing it up. We had a fantastic holiday booked in Europe for May to celebrate our 60th birthdays, after which we would return to Tasmania and spend the the summer plodding through the house renovations.  Our life’s journey was going well. After the house was finished and tennented we were to be back to the mainland and continuing on with nomad adventures.

The main part of our planned holiday was to be a two week small bus tour of the Amalfi coast and Puglia in Italy. First stop though was the UK to see Paul’s dad. The plan was to celebrate Paul’s 60th in early May with his dad in the UK, then we’d head off to Italy for the tour, which was to conclude prior to my birthday at the end of May. We would then be in Rome for my birthday.

But first,Paul’s birthday needed to be celebrated. There’s a lovely little Italian restaurant not to far from where Paul’s dad lived, almost on the banks of Hollingworth Lake,   near the village of Littleborough in Lancashire. Paul didn’t know the name of the restaurant, so looked it up on trip advisor – and found the Italian restaurant in Littleborough.The booking made, Kelvin our son, came over from Australia for the celebrations, his close friend, Kerriann, was in the UK at the time, so Kerriann came over from the east coast. Also Paul’s cousin, Margaret, and her husband Geoff came up from Portsmouth.

The 8th May, Paul’s birthday, arrived. This is how the grand celebration went:

Margaret and Geoff set off with Paul’s dad in their car, and a surprise birthday cake for Paul. Margaret had baked the cake in Portsmouth and carefully transported it up to Lancashire, and had kept it secret from Paul. Paul’s dad knew the restaurant well, so directed Geoff to the planned restaurant beside the lake, despite Geoff’s Sat Nav trying to take him somewhere else.

We set off in our hire car, also with our Sat Nav set for the booked Italian Restaurant (keyed in by name). Only it wasn’t the restaurant near the Lake. What were we to do, we’d given the name of the restaurant to the others, this was the one booked, and we didn’t have a phone to contact them. Never mind, thankfully we’d given them the name of the restaurant rather than just the directions, so we were sure they would arrive.

Meanwhile, Margaret, having been assured by Paul’s dad that the restaurant by the lake absolutely was the correct place, they went inside. No, there wasn’t a booking – but mistakes happen.  Yes,  they could rearrange a few tables and fit us in  The surprise cake was smuggled out back to their kitchen, and Margaret, Geoff and Paul’s dad sat down to await our arrival. That’s when Margaret noticed the name of the restaurant. Investigations revealed they were in the wrong place, and the restaurant by the name provided by Paul was a short drive away from the lake.  She explained the mistake, apologising profusely, collected the surprise birthday cake, and headed to the place with the correct name.

Meanwhile, Kerriann, Kelvin, Paul and myself were assessing the place booked in error. Yes it was Italian, but it was more like a Pizza Hut than the swanky place we’d thought we were booking. Paul was mortified!

Margaret arrived, cake carefully concealed, and after seeing us seated and waiting for them, had the cake smuggled away to the kitchen for the surprise later. We ordered drinks, and had a laugh over the mix up. Paul continued to be embarrassed.

Kerriann took control – whispering to everyone – do not order any food yet. She phoned the place near the lake and explained the situation. Yes they still had the table hastily found for us earlier. Geoff,realising what was happening was almost hiding under the table with embarrassment. Paul’s dad, partially deaf, was only hearing bits of what was going on. He was convinced that the mix up was of his making.

Margaret and I then sent everyone out to the cars while we went and explained our mistake. With big apologies, and an even bigger tip, we collected the surprise cake and headed off to the Italian by the lake.

The cake hidden away in the kitchen once again and the rest of the night went off brilliantly. The food and the service was amazing!

The night was like a comedy of errors. Poor Paul, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so embarrassed. But the laughs we had. All’s well that ends well, and the night certainly ended well. I wish I could say the same for the rest of our 60th birthday celebrations. But you’ll have wait for part two to see what transpired next.

10 thoughts on “The year when it all went pear shaped (part 1)

    1. It was funny on the night, at the expense of one very embarrassed husband. That cake was very well travelled. The beginning of the night felt like an episode in the three stooges or something similar. I’m sure it would have made a great comedy skit.


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