Thursday 9 July 2009

UK: Time to visit the babies

The departure lounge at Muscat International has a new concourse sporting a typical array of shops, ubiquitous coffee chains and fast-food outlets, including a Cream & Fudge which doesn't sell fudge, or cream for that matter. Mrs M covered herself in hot chocolate before we headed to the gate to board the cattle containers at the back of the Boeing 777. In Abu Dhabi, we had to wait for the flight loony who fumbled to her seat shouting, ‘There aren't enough chairs!’ She was not wrong. During the flight she adopted a clever strategy of upsetting nearby passengers who relocated to avoid her ramblings. While the rest of us tried to sleep in insufficient space, she was able to stretch out across three seats in perfect comfort.

After a long night of napping in an almost vertical position, I fiddled with a rubbery breakfast omelette while questioning the strategy of providing the coffee and tea (it's the same thing) with the breakfast tray so that passengers can finish the meal with cold brown liquid in tiny plastic cups. The loony lady had to be coerced into sitting up for the landing. We saw her later in the queue for the car hire bus - she was either very confused or intent on driving on British roads.

With Al on board, we began the drive to Falmouth to stay with our Flossie. I took a nap after three hours while mother and Al investigated the alleged improvements in the ‘Little Chef' in Podimore. After somehow spending £22 on lunch, their conclusion was that Heston hadn't yet reached this branch. I had to see for myself. Yep, no radical changes there; tired decor, lard-based food, disinterested staff and high prices (the first of many occasions we would utter, ‘How much?').

We plodded on accompanied by the banality of BBC Radio Devon until we reached Falmouth. After a quick cup of tea, we drove to the B&B where the nice landlady finished every sentence with a laugh.

At the opposite end of the culinary spectrum from our lunch venue, we spent the evening at Tabb’s in Truro. The emphasis is on quality rather than quantity from the elegant decor to the beautifully crafted, locally sourced food served by a knowledgeable and charming host. We began with a complimentary starter of mushroom soup with truffle oil followed by lamb (quite exquisite) for the girls and duck for the boys. A good clean Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne supported the early rounds, but Al and I noticed another customer with a local bottled beer which married well with the richness of the duck. The deserts were quite delightful as was the plate of local cheeses. A meal to remember.

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