The big issues of the day up the health club the past couple of nights have been Fancy Cakes, Binge Drinking, Crap Customer Service, The Difficulties of Obtaining Goat (as a cookery ingredient) in Surrey, The Dangers of Buying Used Cars, and The Importance of Buying New Swimming Trunks Before They Go All See-Through and People Can See Your Bum.
Why can’t the health club bar sell those nice flaky creamy French patisserie-style pastries, they were complaining in the steam room. I’d been reliably informed that the club’s own hotel employs a pastry chef, which got us to wondering why the only cake options are those nasty mass-produced muffins wrapped in plastic like those you get in train buffet cars.
Over in the sauna, the talk was of irresponsible consumption of alcohol. People of the Finnish persuasion, one chap who’d been there informed us, chuck vodka down their necks for breakfast and then run outside and fling themselves into the snow, idiots. Rugby players were worse, he said – explaining how as a lad he’d been made to suck a piece of lime, sniff a pinch of salt and then pour a shot glass of tequila into his own eye, in a practice apparently known as “extreme tequila”.
Meanwhile, another of the boys was complaining about being unable to get decent customer service anywhere. He was particularly irked at having been jocularly called “buddy” by the club receptionist. He was not the receptionist’s buddy, and even if he had been, the British “mate” would have been far less offensively familiar than the American version.
Goat came up in the spa pool during a discussion on what we were all having for our tea. I told how I’d made a lovely goat curry the other night and they all wanted to know where I got it – was such an exotic ingredient available in these parts? I lavished praise on the local Asian shop in Redhill, where such things can be got, and we moved on to Rory’s new used car (broke down before he’d gone 50 miles) and Lee’s new trunks (a wise move since the old ones were getting a bit threadbare, apparently).
If you sat in the steam room long enough, you’d amass a huge fund of knowledge on all kinds of trivia – you might get a bit wrinkly though, and sooner or later you’d all run out of things to talk about and they’d start talking about you.