The Gosport carvery without any food – Rick Jackson

Rick's new toy
Rick's new toy
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It really does feel like good old-fashioned customer service has disappeared. Sometimes you’re made to feel your mere presence is a complete annoyance – even though your cash is keeping them in a job.

For me, some of the worst offenders are the major restaurant chains where food quality and service is something very much to be desired.

A meal out on Sunday turned into a comedic farce. At one point, I was expecting someone from You’ve Been Framed to appear with a camera crew.

So we walked into this pub in Gosport, part of a national chain which markets itself heavily for it’s carvery –  no, not a Toby.

We ordered four carveries. ‘Sorry, carvery is off until 6pm,’ said the girl behind the bar. It was 4.45pm.

We checked the menu and re-ordered, along with two pints of Pepsi Max. ‘Sorry, we don’t have any Pepsi, only lemonade,’ the girl informed us.

More than 35 minutes later, our meals arrived, but one of the kids’ meals was missing. Apparently the girl did not hear me say ‘two kids’ meals please’.

Then, no cutlery or napkins. A further 10 minutes later the missing meal arrived just as a large queue formed at the carvery, which was serving again. It was 5.30pm not 6pm.

We fancied cake for pudding, but all cakes were off. Then we overheard another customer order a pint of Peroni. Guess what? No Peroni, only Fosters. It was turning into a comedy. No food, drink or puddings!

As we left, three large slabs of meat were sitting on an empty carvery counter with no queue.

We overheard the chef telling a customer she was welcome to it, but that it would not be very good as it had been sitting there for ages and was ‘as tough as old boots’.

We felt the staff were annoyed with us for asking where things were and no apology of refund was offered. We checked its TripAdvisor score. It is awful. However, we Brits are a funny lot. Why was this place with a poor reputation and bad service so busy?

From now on, we will avoid the chains and keep it small and local.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Fratton Park rite of passage awaits my innocent Freddie

The new season starts on Saturday so now is the time to introduce Freddie to live football. He’s now four but still hasn’t managed to sit through the whole of Frozen or Despicable Me without getting bored. 

He is as bright as a button too. He has a watch and tells the time, knows every letter of the alphabet and counts to 100. With that in mind, I need to think how to answer questions relating to football chants. ‘What are they singing daddy?’.

‘He’s a waiter Freddie. They clap their hands to get his attention.’ Or, ‘he’s only a poor little plumber, son, he’s not got a lot of work on at the moment’.

Once that initiation is over, when do I introduce him to Mick’s Monster Burgers?​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Olympian effort to spruce up new toy has not impressed

I’ve finally got the keys to my new set of wheels, a Leyland Olympian double decker bus from 1982. For the past decade or so she’s been taking children to school at Emsworth and Southbourne, but now she’s my pride and joy.

She was new to Southern Vectis on the Isle of Wight and I remember her well from my school days and my first job as a coach painter. I repainted her back in 1990.

My wife, however, is not so impressed. I’ve spent all week sprucing her up ahead of Sunday’s Stokes Bay bus rally. Never has she seen me sweep, polish and paint so diligently. I never seem to take such care at home. It didn’t help that I used the broom, polish and paint from our house!​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​