In a bid to make the evening more special we decide to go to the pub before the restaurant.
The bus journey is a mile and a half, two pounds each one way, a bargain. The pub we choose is one we used to go in when in this town, run by no-nonsense middle-aged women.
Oh well, not any more. Younger bar staff, loud male punters everywhere, swearing at the tops of their voices.
And the tellies are on. And here comes the football.
I see John Terry's gormless face in the tunnel. Oh well, Chelsea. I look around and see Chelsea memorabilia on the walls. Great. Just what I wanted.
Chelsea score two goals, one bloke shouts his appreciation. Most people are ignoring the football. As they should. Televisions, karaoke, live music and tv game show machines should have no place in pubs in a civilised society. But they do. They're everywhere, we're supposed to need these distractions nowadays. Ever since the 80s when it was decided by the Pub God that jukeboxes were not good enough any more and the hated video jukebox made an appearance with Michael Hutchence wanting to make us sweat greasily like him and Sting and Dire Straits screwing with our minds and starting us on the road to buying our Sky dishes.
So we leave this pub and head for another, distracted on the way by a pub that looks as though it's closed down. But it isn't. It's no longer the haunt of desperate alcoholics but it's now a Real Ale Pub, recommended by CAMRA, winning awards.
We go inside. There are Union Jacks everywhere, posters telling us about a Battle of Britain Day on Saturday, dressing up in Wartime clothes required, kids very welcome to come along as long as they're dressed as evacuees. That'll teach the kids what the War was like, except of course they'll be with their pissed-up mum rubbing Bisto into her legs and their paralytic dad moaning about how long it takes for him to get his willy out of his uniform to go for his half-hourly piss, not hundreds of miles away with smiling, welcoming strangers and glasses of creamy milk straight from the cow's udder.
Next week there's an Irish night when the theme is Green and leprechaun children with large heads and false ginger beards are welcome.
Meanwhile on the telly, we have Top Gear with the odious Jeremy and his mates.
So we leave this pub and head for the Turkish restaurant.
The restaurant is busy for a Wednesday night. Big men are getting stuck into big steaks, cramming chips into their big mouths. Out of the front window of this tastefully decorated very pleasant establishment I see the bookies over the road, bereft of customers, next door to the greengrocer's, which is next door to the Londis which doubles up as the local Post Office. The heart of the town.
The background music is awful 80s. Young at Heart, Eternal Flame, (I've Had) The Time of My Life, you get the picture. Pure shite but loved by everyone of a certain age, the age for coming out on a Wednesday night, stuffing your face with your partner.
So we leave the restaurant and, oh fuck, it's the bus: "RUN!"
Cross Country Couch
2 hours ago