August 16th 2018

I needed to go to nearby Hatfield Peverel as someone was buying a laptop from me and I offered to meet them halfway. I decided to have dinner at a place called the Willam Boosey that Gail and I used to go to a lot. A lovely restaurant and bar that was true Gail; full of sparkling things, chrome and quirky furniture, this was a pub Gail could have designed and happily lived in. I wasn’t sure it was wise but what’s the worse could happen, eh?

The waitress stared at a table plan in an empty restaurant before taking me to what Gail and I called ‘our table’. I felt wobbly as I walked towards it.

You see, we had a meal there on Christmas Day and the same table was allocated to us, as it was every time we visited. We used to joke about it ‘having our names on’ and call it ‘our table’. I now have to explain to the poor waitress why the old bloke in the corner is having an emotional breakdown in an empty restaurant.

Another appearance of the coincidence that means so much. This one had a special significance though and brought home the value of social media and how – despite the fact I was having misgivings about opening up my thoughts online – the medium can support and reward.

After posting the name of the pub / restaurant and Facebook had woven its magic by coming up on the Pub’s timeline, the staff contacted me to offer their condolences. Then reading my past posts they contacted me again to say they remembered Gail – most people did once they met her but this was well beyond that – recalling a meal the pair of us had in their garden a few years before and how the staff had all said how great Gail looked and how well we looked together. They even told me what we had ordered! All the staff, they wrote,  were shocked and saddened at the loss of such a ‘beautiful lady’. This was wonderful, the idea that – with all the customers they had through their doors every day – everyone recognised her and had specific memories of a random afternoon some years earlier. I just broke down and sobbed when I read it.

Of an added significance they couldn’t realise though was that afternoon in the garden that they all remembered had been when we had gone there to commemorate the loss of a dear pet – our first Cat Puss-Puss – and the whole thing seemed to fit together in a lovely jigsaw.

I go back when I feel low and think I can handle it. The staff know me now and I always get ‘our table’.

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