Now I know how Basil’s patrons felt

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone

I used to laugh till I cried at the old TV show ‘Fawlty Towers’ and memories of it were brought flooding back last week in a restaurant.

My friend and I decided to get away from all the cup final excitement for a couple of days and chose the bonny banks of Loch Lomond.

We booked into a hotel with views right on to the loch and were lucky enough on one of the days to have decent enough weather for a stroll around the picturesque villages like Luss and Balloch, taking in the breathtaking scenery not too far from our doorstep.

On our last night we booked a meal at one of the well known hotels – I’m not saying which – and were expecting a nice dinner and to sit and have a few drinks in the bar afterwards.

We did have a relatively nice meal. The food wasn’t the problem, well, apart from my dessert which was terrible, but the service was something that could have made the bumbling Basil Fawlty look half competent.

The starters were fine, no problems there, but trouble brewed when I asked for ketchup for my main and was assured by our young waiter it would be with me “right away”.

After waiting about 10 minutes I finally got fed up and asked another youthful waitress for the ketchup. She came back with it promptly and then apologised for her colleague who had thrown it all over himself when opening the bottle 10 minutes previously – hence the wait.

The couple at the table next to us, unbeknownst to them their waiter was playing catch with an open bottle of ketchup in the kitchen, then complained that their drinks were taking too long so one of the other waiters hastened to fetch their beverages.

Seconds after arriving at their table he then poured the lady’s drink all over her and shortly after that the original waiter appeared – ketchup stains all over his white shirt – to apologise.

By this time, giddy after a couple of wines, I was giggling like a teenager and had to excuse myself to the loo before I did myself a mischief.

It all happened so quickly that I really did think I was in a scene from Fawlty Towers or a spoof show and was eager for more calamity.

I am usually generous with tips but I just couldn’t bring myself to leave one this time. I should have paid them for the entertainment though. Laugh? – I nearly paid my licence fee.