Sipping on a cup of tea, Bendy starting sniggering.
“What are you laughing about?” asked Tash.
“I was just remembering a story about my eccentric Auntie Betty,” replied Bendy.
(Hmmn, eccentric eh, now I know where Bendy gets it from thought Tash). “Well, what was so funny about her?” she asked.
“Well, it all happened in England, years ago. Auntie Betty lived in the country and her friend Carol suggested they give themselves a treat and have lunch at the Post Office Tower in London. It had a revolving restaurant and was quite famous at the time.”
Bendy smiled to herself. “Betty was a bit eccentric and used to put henna in her hair, and that was before it became fashionable!” she explained. “She always wore the same old nylon raincoat and a bright red beret.”
“I’m getting the picture,” replied Tash, trying to sound interested, “anyway, go on.”
Bendy frowned at Tash and said, “Well here’s the story: The best way for them to get to London was by train. The journey took an hour and a half and they ended up sitting in a small carriage with four other people who were quietly reading. They had only been there for about fifteen minutes when Betty opened her huge bag and rummaged around noisily. Her friend Carol’s eyes widened when she saw that Betty had taken out a packet of crispbread biscuits, and quickly glanced at the other passengers. Betty was struggling to get the packet opened and was making a lot of noise.”
“Another inherited trait, not being able to open packets,” thought Tash.
Eventually Betty took a biscuit out and started eating all around the corners of it until it became a circle that was small enough to cram into her mouth. The noise she was making was very irritating to the other passengers but they just kept reading, occasionally looking up and frowning. Betty must have been a bit peckish because she devoured the whole packet. Carol was relieved to see her finish them but was then horrified to see her thrust her hand into the bag again and bring out another packet!
“That must have been so annoying,” said Tash.
“Yes,” replied Bendy, “but it’s nothing compared to what happened later.
They arrived in London and made their way to the Post Office Tower and waited in the reception area to get their table reservation checked before getting into the lift. When they arrived at the top floor, they got out and made their way through to the restaurant.
Once inside, the waiter took their coats and hung them up on the coat rack. Carol winced as she looked at the old raincoat and beret hanging on a hook right next to the high class designer coats that the other diners had been wearing.’
“It’s a bit posh in here,” thought Carol. “I’m glad we’ve already paid for the set menu which is supposed to be nice, because I know Betty is a bit fanatical about her food.”
The waiter came up to the table and handed them both a menu. Betty put her large thick rimmed glasses on and started to read each item out loud whilst using her finger to outline the words.
After a few minutes, Carol was dismayed to hear her say, “I can’t eat that……I can’t eat that either……Oh, I don’t like that at all!” Eventually, Betty exclaimed, “Well, there’s nothing I can eat on this menu!”
Carol was getting very embarrassed as Betty had a rather distinctive voice and people were staring.
The waiter had been watching them and could tell there was a problem so he approached the table and asked, “Is there a problem madam?” “Yes!” Betty retorted loudly so everyone could hear, ” I can’t eat anything on this menu, so I’ll just have a bread roll and an orange juice please.”
“Well madam, I do have to inform you that you paid for the set menu so regardless of what you eat you will have to pay the full price.”
Betty’s voice went up an octave and she loudly exclaimed, “I’m not going to pay the full price for a bread roll! We’re leaving and we’ll eat elsewhere! I’d like a refund and please direct me to the stairs.”
“Madam,” the waiter said quietly, “you can’t go down the stairs, you’ll have to get the lift.”
“What!” said Betty, “But I can’t go down in a lift.”
The waiter replied, “But madam, you came up in the lift!”
“Yes I know.” replied Betty. “I can go up in a lift but I can’t go down in one!”
The waiter continued, “Well I’m afraid you’ll have to madam.”
Carol knew Betty was eccentric but she hadn’t known about the lift problem. “I want to speak to the manager!” Betty shouted, which made all the other patrons turn their heads to see what all the fuss was about.
The manager duly appeared and tried to appease Betty.
“Madam, what the waiter told you is correct, you are not allowed to go down the stairs. There are 814 steps, and even if you did go down them, which you are not allowed to do, you would be very ill.”
By this stage Carol was so embarrassed that she just stared at the floor wishing it would swallow her up. After half an hour of arguing, and with the manager at his wits end, Betty finally agreed to go down in the lift……. but only if she sat in a chair and the manager went in with her.
“Oh gosh, I feel so sorry for Carol,” Tash said. “How embarrassing to have a friend who gets into trouble and causes chaos everywhere she goes.” Tash couldn’t stop grinning and had to pretend to look out of the window so Bendy didn’t see her laughing.