I went out last night.

I went out last night. I didn't want to. Ask Freya and/or Mike and they'll tell you I went reluctantly (they will probably tell you the truth in that Sue and Karen force me and I winged and bitched and YELLED at Sue when she arrived and she told me to shutthehellup) first to Karen's, (brandy and dry) then to dinner. Of course, first stop is to drive past Seymour's to see if Nigel is behind the bar (cos we all love Nigel) and yes he is.. so that's our (Karen's) decision made. We park. We enter the Restaurant/Cafe/Bar/What-have-you and Nigel who is by this time serving at a table, turns to see us single file into his quiet but very popular eatery. A smile tinkers with the sides of his mouth and he points to the door and mouths the words "get out" we laugh. He loves us really. I mean, what's not to love?

He's tall, and keeps his hair very short. He has kind hands and sharp eyes. He is the most diplomatic man on the planet, but he doesn't put up with any crap. He asked two people to leave our table because they just wandered in off the street and sat down, and he told them he was holding the table for us (at the bar, where-else) and they left in a snoot. He's fair too I spose.

So we sit down. I snuggle into my chair. I love those chairs with the wrap-around-backs. Then I realise it's not so much the back of the chair I am snuggling against as the shoulderblades of the man sitting close behind me. I turn and apologise, he smiled and suggested there was no need.

So to cut a long story short, we all had a nice time with the two men at the other table. He and I in our own little conversation and Sue and Karen ruling the other poor soul. It's so weird.. we were so close, because of the chairs, because of the turning of our heads to talk.. but we were close, and there was ease, and there was laughter, and there were a couple of personal questions because I suppose, we got to that stage. our shoulders and upper arms were touching the whole time. I didn't eat. My food arrived, I didn't touch it. Nigel put it in a doggie bag for me to take it home.

After they left, and the restaurant emptied out, Nigel came and sat with us. He has the most robust laugh. It's absolutely wonderful to hear. He puts up with Karen haranging him about golf and things. He shares his cigarettes with me because he says "we here at Seymours encourage smoking" Sue and Karen scowl and he tells me to help myself.

Is this the part where you say "I told you so" and tell me "I knew you would have a nice time" and I did, yes I did.

PS: Thanks to a question Mike asked me before I left the Articulate, "If you were an animal, what would you be?" I got some startles and some abacks/smiles/thoughtful looks and here are the answers (cept i forgot to ask the two guys)

Sue : Lion "Because I am a Leo" she says, I tell her she has no imagination.

Karen : Lion "Just cos" I tell her she is useless and unoriginal.

Nigel : Panther - I smile, "of course."

I might add that Mike wasn't as judgemental with me as I was with my dinner companions and didn't make rude comments when I told him I would be a Penguin. And the thought of me being a Penguin put a perplexed look on Nigels face, and a robust laugh to end the evening when I gave him the image (complete with gestures) of sliding around on my belly (as you would, if you were a penguin)