We set off last night to meet friends for a birthday meal in a pub near to where they live. Pulling into the car park we managed to bag the last parking space and hurried into the packed pub to find we were there before them.
Having ordered two drinks at the bar, I asked the barmaid to tell us where we were sitting, our friends having booked a table.
Barmaid: OK, what's the name?
Me: It's either ******, or ***** Table for 4
Barmaid: Blank look
Me: Booked for 7pm? Tonight.
Barmaid: Blank look...... No, we don't have any bookings in that name.
Me: Could you check?
Barmaid: Hang on... I'll get the book. No, look, really..... no bookings in that name.
Me: (crestfallen) Oh, well perhaps she didn't ring to book then.
Barmaid: It's no problem, there's a table free just around the corner, I'll go and set it up for you.
Me: (turning to PP) It's OK, they don't have a note of the booking but we can have a table.
By this time we'd been in the pub for 10 minutes and still no sign of our friends, who are usually very prompt.
A tiny niggly naggly doubt takes root in my hindbrain........
Me: Where are they then? They're usually on time. Perhaps there's a problem.
Me: (tentatively) We are in the right pub aren't we......?
In unison we slowly raised our eyes to the huge sign on the wall which declared we were standing in the bar of the Castle Inn, not, as we had confidently assumed, The Smugglers.
Much to the amusement of the packed bar, I sought out the barmaid and explained our mistake, apologising profusely, while PP tried to contact our friends to let them know why we were going to be very late. Having gained directions to the pub we should have been in, in the next village(!) we set off again, finally meeting up with our bemused friends in the correct pub 20 minutes late.
Despite the inauspicious start, we then enjoyed a lovely meal in the cosy restaurant, followed by entertainment in the form of an Open Mike night in the bar, where some of the musicians and singers would have given the X Factor contestants a run for their money. So a good night was had by all.
However, next time we arrange to meet friends in an unfamiliar venue, we'll double check in advance where we're going, rather than assuming we know where it is. D'oh!
In other news, it's a lovely, bright, sunny morning, although we're supposed to have snow by the end of the weekend so we need to stock up on essentials before the blizzard hits. At least we know where Tesco is.......