“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer, but wish we didn’t.” – Erica Jong
I received a call from a fellow retired golfing buddy last Sunday evening, one who I had not seen for several weeks, this communicative/physical void was realised for primarily two specific reasons, one being a family bereavement on my side, the other as a result of his extended annual vacation to Wales.
As we chatted, I enthusiastically suggested that we should tie- up together for an overdue rendezvous on the golf course, with a view to dining in the newly refurbished restaurant within the clubhouse.
Pleasingly, he shared my fervour to engage in the proposed sporting encounter – to say nothing of enjoying the culinary delights of the establishment in question, following our eagerly anticipated 18-holes of golfing combat.
Before concluding our conversation, my friend stressed that, he particularly, would relish the thought our post-match repast – adding further, that he would never wish to repeat an astonishing dining ‘incident’ that occurred during the recent vacation to Wales – he then expanded – and I must say, what followed, reduced me to tears – for that sole reason, I share his highly descriptive recollection here.
Complete with caravan, this holidaying couple spent several idyllic weeks, weaving their way through the narrow rural Welsh lanes, undeniably intoxicated by the magical splendour of the quaint villages and verdant countryside in which each hamlet nestled throughout South Wales.
During one particular outing, they decided to stop for a meal at a fast-food outlet, one exquisitely positioned atop a large knoll overlooking a stunning coastline.
The eatery in question was positioned on the periphery of a sizable township, one with a seemingly unpronounceable name – consisting of exactly twenty-five letters – thus starting with an ‘L’ – and also ending in one, the vowels and consonants that lay in-between these two letters, formed a title that appeared utterly impossible to articulate.
Being a Gaelic community – and unbeknown to my friend at the time, it was common knowledge amongst local folk that the vast majority of tourists who visited their municipality, continually experienced massive difficulty in getting their non-Welsh tongues around the true designation of the town.
On arrival at the bistro, my friend and his good lady ordered a generous feast in order to keep them suitably sustained for the remainder of their day.
The petite, uniformed ingénue who hastily scribbled down their culinary preferences, cordially invited the two ravenous sightseers to occupy a seat as their sizable order was going to take some minutes to prepare, but when ready, she would personally convey their desired choice of fare to the table.
Once seated and then patiently waiting for the cuisine to arrive, my friend, in a somewhat agitated and forlorn state, gazed hopelessly at his road map, try as he may, he failed repeatedly, to correctly pronounce the name of the settlement that had just driven into – “Only the Welsh can pronounce this word properly” he mused mournfully, at which point, the pretty young assistant arrived at their booth with the serving of food.
As she was placing the burgers, chicken wraps and fries on the table, my friend inquired, “Excuse me lass, could you, very slowly please, pronounce precisely for us, the name of the place that we now find ourselves in?” She responded with a polite, ‘Certainly sir,’ and then uttered the following;
“It’s pronounced; – B-U-R-G-E-R K-I-N-G”
The very instant that this wrongful assertion was relayed to the town’s newest sightseers, it quickly eradicated their earlier sense of hunger, thus being replaced with a strong aspiration to visit the toilet, no amount of ‘leg-crossing’ or ‘put-it-to-the-back-of your-mind’ bravado would suffice, to ignore the consequences of their comical hysteria at that priceless moment, would have only resulted in inexplicable wet spots on the floor beneath them – to say nothing of the discomfort of soggy clothing for the remainder of the day.
By the time they had taken stock of themselves and returned to their position within the restaurant – following a much needed ‘loo-break’, their food had become cold and almost inedible…but, in the eyes of my chum, it remained as a very small price to pay for one of the best laughs that both he and his spouse had enjoyed in many years – a wonderful anecdote for all golfers – and non-golfers alike too – no doubt!