The venue: Malmaison, Manchester
The Sunday dinner: Was a late tea on Wednesday evening. Moules Mariniére. I have had mussels four times this week. Thanks.
The price: £12
Returning to a busy workplace after a holiday, while your partner continues to read, relax and potter about, can be somewhat challenging if you don’t possess my strength of character and resolve. And many of you don’t. I felt refreshed, revived and raring to go at the start of this week. It’s just who I am. I only cried for two and a half hours on Sunday night, for example. There’s no distress, anger or bitterness to see here. Well, not in this immediate paragraph. It is coming though.
On Monday, several colleagues asked about my travels, told me I was glowing, and said how pleased they were to see me back.
Three members of my team, however, led by Skeletor, called me David Dickinson and repeatedly told me to “GO MAKE TEA, YOU LAZY BITCH”. I love working with predictable, unimaginative bullies. I got my own back by a) boring them senseless with travel tales, b) not making the fuckers a drink all week, and c) filing a complaint with HR.
If you’d like to know more about the calibre of these people, one tried to argue that Basil Brush was a squirrel this week. Another was surprised to learn that your eyelashes aren’t the set you were born with, that there is more than one type of monkey, and that Kent isn’t a city. The third is just a camp-walking, shit-talking skeleton. It was great to be back with the dream team.
On Tuesday, Mr Jus and I returned to The Woodhouse in Dulwich to claim the free fodder and booze I’d negotiated following a fracas over frozen mash. Here, I am, liaising with the zany Mike back in January.
The venue also happens to be meeting place for cyclists after racing at Crystal Palace, so Mr Jus was keen to see his pals and talk about his Transatlantic Way Race experience. I couldn’t contribute to the fun, lengthy discussions about wattage, The Tour De France, or ‘top-tubing’, but I was able to share three stories about Mr Jus, in addition to the one about his numb cock, with members of the cycling community I’d never met. I revealed:
- How he elbowed a middle-aged Japanese woman in the Sistine Chapel, due to crowd-pushing frustrations, his anger management issue and spite.
- That when we had a curry in Rome after nine pasta-filled days, he asked for more popadoms. Which isn’t a crime, but he asked an Indian man, who was just another customer walking past, due to his inherent penchant towards racial stereotyping and his upper class sense of entitlement.
- When was in his twenties, he got stoned and was really freaked out when the wind repeatedly told him to kill himself, due to the wind being a wise force of nature that should not, on reflection, have been ignored.
How we all chuckled. Well I did, which is all that really matters. Mr Jus will never invite me again, and I suspect some of his Lycra-clad comrades feel sorry that he’s lumbered with me, but I did listen intently at some points and purchased a round, so I’m not all bad. The fish had a decent batter, the chips were fat and crisp and the minted, mushy peas, although small in portion, packed in the taste. Of peas and mint.
On Wednesday evening, I travelled to Manchester for an overnight stay at Malmaison. On a previous trip, I’d been booked into what appeared to be an exact replica of the hotel from The Shining, so was quite excited at the prospect of not being murdered as I slept.
I travelled with colleagues and wine, as is customary, and realised I was quite pissed upon arrival when I said to the 6ft 7 inch tall guest who held the lift door for me:
“YOU’RE A BIG ONE, AREN’T YOU? ARE YOU A CAGE FIGHTER?”
“I have dabbled,” he responded, so my weird, inappropriate greeting wasn’t completely off the mark, haters. I grappled him into a half Nelson until we reached my floor. I didn’t. There wasn’t the time, and I’d have needed a stepladder to reach the guy’s neck. There wasn’t one. And yet it calls itself a luxury hotel? You do the math.
After dumping my belongings, I had more wine, along with some mussels and chips in the hotel’s restaurant. My post-holiday diet had already been shot to shit on Monday, so why not? They were DELIGHTFUL. I didn’t even bother to stop using a shell to shovel creamy, garlic sauce into my gob when I was joined by colleagues.
I slept restlessly, despite excellent black-out curtains, plump pillows and wine consumption.
At 3.23am, I was shat on from a great height. Turns out the cage fighter was into some right kinky stuff. I’m lying. He refused to sleep with me. Something about “not really being into old, orange antiques show presenters”, apparently.
I jest. It is merely a metaphor. I just felt like I’d been shat on from a great height, because I was wide awake with a thirst on, and Malmaison had neglected to provide tea-making facilities.
I watched two episodes of Will and Grace, grumbling away to myself, while feeling slightly hungover, and in desperate need of coffee, before getting ready for breakfast.
I had homemade, chunky, nutty muesli with prunes, Eggs Benedict with a bacon topper and three coffees. Why not? I was on holiday, I continued to misguidedly tell myself. The waiting staff were extremely attentive and friendly. Impressively so and worth a special mention. I shall always think of them fondly.
Feeling as sick as the pig I was, I waddled back upstairs to steal whatever I could lay my hands on. Here’s my haul:
It was during this minesweeping activity that I was left feeling remorseful. Not because I am little more than a common thief, but because I happened upon the kettle, hiding in a cupboard. Turns out they weren’t complete bastards after all. I enjoyed two further coffees and a packet of holiday biscuits to boot. Why not, eh? Trouble soon struck, which I shared on Facebook. As is my way:
After my deft defecation, I promptly checked out, advising the receptionist that Brian would be requiring the company of his best plunger that day.
I hope you know that I didn’t say that. I’m only 80% as grotesque as I portray myself to be. For example, I recently considered having a wee in the garden, because I couldn’t be bothered to walk upstairs. But I only considered it FLEETINGLY. There’s the distinction. Anyway, I enjoyed Malmaison Manchester, although I couldn’t find a plug socket close to my bed, which was annoying.
And, because I’m not properly reviewing a Sunday dinner this week, I shall rate the experience. The Sunday Dinner Diaries now feature travel and accommodation reviews. I’m broadening its scope.
Final score: 25/33
I’d usually stop here, but the week is not over. So let’s continue.
I arrived back in London at around 9pm on Thursday evening. It’s just the kind of time influential business leaders keep.
Mr Jus welcomed me home by telling me how he’d walked an attractive 30 year old woman back to the house to mend her bike earlier in the day. I consoled myself with the fact she’d have considered him to be a creepy, older, predatory stranger and potential rapist. I must admit, however, I felt a pang of anxiety and jealousy. And then sheer and absolute fucking disgust when I realised he’d helped a damsel in distress, but had failed to clean the fucking shower screen. Still, I merely made jovial remarks as I purchased tickets for a local cage fight in the hope I’d see lift guy again.
On Friday morning, Mr Jus didn’t help matters when he looked up from his Kindle, as he lay sprawled out in bed, to ask:
“Is it possible I could get another coffee?”
And, while I’d have loved to have continued to wait on him hand and foot, I had a train to catch.
“Fuck off,” I replied, as I set off, for the fifth time that week, to make a genuine and lasting contribution to the economy and our society.
I was pleased as punch the working week was over that evening, mind.
Mr Jus and I celebrated by dining in the garden among ants’ nests and dried dog piss.
He made a puttanesca – a dish requiring twenty minutes preporatory time, which meant there was little time in the ten hours he had available to him to clean the shower screen.
He’s really taken to his new life of unemployment, wearing the same socks for days and singing the ‘Autoglass Repair, Autoglass Replace’ jingle, roughly every 17 minutes. He can also recite, word for word, two pay day loan adverts. He’s stopped short of ordering stuff from QVC, but I imagine it’s only a matter of days before we have our own machine for making cucumber swans.
He told me he’d had difficulty unraveling washing from the machine. How I should ensure each mop frond is contained within its allotted area if I used it again, as I’d left some out when I mopped up water from the dog bowl. He sang the Autoglass advert refrain again, followed, inexplicably, by a falsetto version of ‘Bright Eyes’.
I asked if he’d be hurt if he logged on to Twitter and read the following:
THAT OLD TINY PAEDOPHILE NEXT DOOR IS SINGING SONGS ABOUT DEAD RABBITS IN HIS GARDEN. I’VE HAD TO COME IN AND CLOSE THE WINDOWS.
He said it sounded like it contained more than 144 characters.
I’ve reviewed his CV this week as I know he’s been busy watching the Tour De France and must be exhausted. In his original, he mentions TWICE that he is CRB checked and can work in schools. I think this just raises suspicion.
The ‘NOT A NONCE’ verification is called Disclosure Scotland now, I believe, so his certificate probably isn’t even valid, let alone a selling point. He’ll look at my amends when he’s finished watching cycling and not cleaning the shower screen.
To be fair, he’s made an attempt this weekend to show more affection and appreciation. He also said he wouldn’t be comfortable if I retired and started up a dominatrix puppy fetish boarding kennel in Spain. So that’s something, isn’t it? He cares, doesn’t he? I mean, my dreams are crushed, but still.
As a thank you, I’ve decided to give him his own section of these posts and elevate his weekly quote into something more substantial. What better gift to him, and to you, than creating ‘The Mr Jus Reviews’ YouTube channel.
The concept needs refinement, so I apologise in advance, but it’s a start. Here, in Mr Jus Reviews’ inaugural week, he tells us all we need to know about sake. Here’s the link.
Insightful stuff. Earlier today he asked:
“You would tell me if you were unhappy, wouldn’t you?”
“Of course,” I replied, as I embraced his tiny frame. It was at that moment I wished I had the upper arm strength to hold him high above my head, like a mange-riddled Simba, and proclaim: “I SPELL OUT MY INNATE UNHAPPINESS EACH AND EVERY WEEK IN MY BLOG POSTS, FOR FUCK’S SAKE. HOW MANY CLUES DO YOU WANT? WHY IS THIS NOT SINKING IN?” before breaking into a rousing rendition of Circle Of Life.
But my arms are weak. So it didn’t happen. Instead, I held him close and silently prayed that he gets around to cleaning the shower screen before 7pm on Tuesday, 11 July, as that is the cut off point before I seriously start to lose my shit. And none of us want to see that happen. Have a lovely week.