A Distinctly British Evening

Sometimes life is cruel. Very cruel. One day everything can be going just fine until you lose a limb in a bizarre chainsaw juggling accident.

Or you could find yourself forced to work on an IT support helpdesk with the only thing keeping you from quoting lines of "The IT Crowd" at your clients is the steady pay cheque that keeps the roof over your head.

My dinner meeting was to be not with the hapless not-quite-good-enough amputee juggler, but with Dee the helpdesk girl who should by rights be in a rose-covered English country cottage penning some masterpiece with a fountain pen, while a cat gently purrs on her lap. Well, she has the cat, but it was my solemn duty to dump some Englishness right on the aforementioned lap. I had announced that I would be heading for England and invited my nearest and dearest to ask for what their heart desires. Some of my friends had chosen such delicacies as chocolate, a couple of kilograms of strong cheddar cheese, bacon and biscuits. Dee had asked for some typically British food items that were hard to get in Poland or, failing that, some food for the soul. Specifically a book "a nice and cheap one" should perchance I were to come across one.

So, off to England I went, with a spring in my step and a song in my heart. The good ship EasyJet saw me safely to England and, in turn, its bountiful supermarkets. I returned, shopping lists ticked off in full. Oh, yes and I did get that book, but more of that later...

Back in Kraków it was time to distribute the "presents." Cheese... delivered. Bacon... delivered. That just left those items I'd bought for Dee. We arranged to meet at The Dorsz. I would be handing over some British goodies to my lovely Anglophile friend in a distinctly British setting over a fish and chip supper. How terribly British, what could possibly be more apt?

It was whole fortnight after my return to Poland before we managed to meet. I carefully packed my bag. Camera (for photographing my dinner), magic stars, digestive biscuits (heaven knows how well they had survived the trip from England) and, not forgetting, the book. Despite my best efforts to arrive first Dee was there waiting for me. We ventured downstairs and, after ordering food and drinks, began the handing over ceremony. Magic Stars (two bags)... received gladly. Chocolate digestives... received gladly. Then the surprise mystery gift. The book was received very gladly indeed. Upon seeing the book (which was neither cheap nor easy to obtain) her eyes lit up like I'd pulled a blazing torch out of my bag rather than a collection of words printed on slightly off-white paper.

As one not given to false modesty I must admit that I'm really rather good at buying presents (for some people anyway). The more I like/love/adore/admire a person the better the gift they will get. If I ever buy you a car they you should take it as read that I really, really like you and probably love, adore and admire you too. Anyway, Dee got her book and some fish and chips. I had offloaded my gifts and had basked in the warm glow of Dee's presence. It was time to pay the bill and I quietly snuck away to settle up. Then came the usual cat and mouse game of her wanting to contribute and me not accepting a single grosz. This time she even shoved her share of the bill into my pocket. Said money went back and forth between us a couple of times, before she gave up. I had "out-stubborned" her. A difficult and potentially dangerous gambit to be played between two Taureans. In the end we were both winners. For we parted that evening with both of us having something to look forward to. For her, it was that book. For me, it was our next meeting.


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