Dee Lish Shush! 1982
The Night’s Young But Long!
“Yes, l have but l can hold it, like l can hold lots of things, so worry not, come on let’s go, l am absolutely starving. I need to eat and get my energy levels super charged for tonight – you should eat well too, you are going to need your stamina with me!”
She wasn’t wrong!!
Burke and l worked for a family run catering business that operated within council run buildings and in Guildford they had their catering in the Civic Hall where l would eventually manage in 1985 and they ran the catering operation for the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre which had a restaurant attached – which l can’t remember if back then it was called as it is today the Riverview Restaurant – it may well have been, it was the first and LAST time l was ever there. I never worked the restaurant, l only ever found myself managing the bars in the theatre complex itself, however it’s still nearly forty years ago, things change.
Whilst l had been out for ‘dinner’ before it wasn’t my forte, well let’s face it … l had been out for ‘dates’ but not specifically dinner dates and not usually in fancy restaurants and not usually … okay never with women of Louisia’s age and most assuredly l had never been on a double date with mother and daughter let alone a double date with a mother and daughter with the former reputedly there as a chaperone to her daughter! If l had thought l was nervous or … apprehensive in the car … l was about to learn that they were nothing!
I knew more about banqueting layout plans, catering, cutlery and menues than l knew about about women – however this too was about to change. In the years that followed that date Louisia and l would laugh about that first night out… she would go on to teach me about all sorts of things – the finer and intricate arts of women, eating out and ‘other things’, that one doesn’t normally ‘just learn’ without years and years of hands on experience. She was above everything else a very patient and highly skilled teacher!!
Louisia was also a skilled and experienced diner and knew her way around more than just male thighs l found out! She suddenly declared to us all as we sat down that evening, that she would treat us and would cover everything with her business account and with that she said that as it was going to be a special promising night out that we could drink and eat what we so wished. She looked at me and winking, said “I like eating you know, l like sampling different foods and things!” With that she promptly leaned forwards and kissed me on the mouth!
To say l was astonished was an understatement – and l had to suddenly start thinking of brick walls again … sadly back in those days l had a problem with ‘functioning’ or rather restraining certain functionality! In truth, l haven’t much changed, but these days there is usually a reason l wear longer jumpers when out with Suze than just liking them, plus l can now arrange my body language more appropriately too!
It would be safe to say that Louisia was very much a man’s woman – she would even go on to say that she likened herself to Mae West and admired her spunk, and had a thing for spunk which wasn’t lost on even lil ol’ naive me at the time! She preferred the company of men over women and had more male friends than female ones and even had more male employees working for her on her team than women. She knew what she wanted and whilst l tried all night to be polite and diplomatic, she wasn’t having any of that and every time l looked across at Burke he was just smiling at me and smirking whilst running his hands over her daughter of which she wasn’t worried by that and neither was her mother?
I gave up thinking of those damn walls during the main course, Louisia had her right hand constantly on my left thigh and knew exactly what was going on down there and would occasionally manipulate her fingers into a sly ‘itsy bitsy’ spider movement! I would smile and gently move her hands off, but as soon as l did that, they were back! In the end l just thought ‘Oh well!” It’s not that l hated it, but l could see my area manager who was restaurant manager for the night looking at me from the reception desk looking at me quizzically and mouthing “How You??” Awarding me a silent thumbs up!
Probably the only time he ever complimented me on my performance whilst l worked for him in that company was whilst l was receiving some kind of fabric handjob under the dining table cloth! He certainly never praised me years later on with the safe incident in the Civic Hall!!
In all the night was ‘sort of okay’ , that hand action aside and it was only during desserts that l think l became seriously red faced .. l don’t embarass easily and the amount of times it has happened – well l still can’t turn down all digits on one hand. But the thing that got me so red faced , speechless and all sorts of crazy at once was when after we had between us demolished perhaps four bottles of red wine, that Louisia who ‘sure’ could hold more drink than l could was slightly tipsier to my already practically drunk.
I was not a big drinker in 1982 and so it didn’t take a lot to drink me under the table, not that l would have taken that challenge on board in the first place because l wasn’t a drinker – but you know, isn’t it funny how when you are having a meal that you can drink and eat and NOT know how it affects you until it does?
If l thought l was ”’tipsy”’ bordering on way worse, l came to realise that we all were and l was suddenly thinking how on earth we were going to get home? There was no way l was going to get into a car with Burke who looked sober, but l knew wasn’t and when l raised that question – he slurred in answering and said “Taxi Rory, panic not already organised everything with Pete [who was a kitchen porter we both knew who worked the restaurant] He’ll drive the car home for me .. but l have a sneaking suspicion l’ll not be home tonight and there is a goodly chance neither will you be either!”
“What, what do you mean l’ll not be home, where am l going to be?” I asked .
Louisia answered for me, “We can share a taxi or you can spend the night at ours …” More winking followed by a more than gentle nudge in the middle of both thighs! “However, we have desserts yet to come and then we will be dancing and who knows what the night’ll bring after that?”
“Sure, that’s fine Louisia, no problem at all.” I answered with more confidence than l felt.
The dessert trolley came around and l discovered that Louisia and her daughter alike had very sweet tooths. I have a sweet tooth, and back in those days l had eyes way bigger than my stomach! It was a tough choice, the trolley had nearly 30 assorted sweets and desserts to choose from and in the end, we all agreed to share a huge knickerbocker glory!
Four long spoons later and a huge, l mean HUGE dessert arrived on the table and we all tucked in …. it was great! But it was here that l truly discovered Louisia’s playful childlike fun behaviour and more so when she started in a slightly louder voice than l would have preferred describing how she liked to lick ice cream off certain parts of the male body and anatomy whilst looking directly at me and licking her spoon seductively! It was at this point, that l believe the term ‘beetroot face’ came into play and would stick with me for a good year afterwards as a nickname!
Years on from that moment, she and l would deliberately play that game in restaurants in London as a giggle to see how long it took for the manager to step in and suggest we lower our voices! But 1982 was not 1985 onwards!
John the restaurant manager and my and Burke’s boss tolerated her raised voice for as long as he could. The restaurant enjoyed quite a few well heeled clients as well as celebrity patrons … well he stepped in to the conversation, bent down, smiled and said “Listen guys l do find this funny personally, and just to see Rory squirm like he is doing is making my night … but we have the Chief of police of Surrey in tonight with his family and he is looking fit to arrest you all – so can you quiet it down please?”
“Absolutely John not a problem, sorry.” I answered quickly and John walked away.
Louisia smiled and leaned into me and whispered … “Mm, that needs to change Rory, you should be more relaxed and not so much a yes man, but on the other hand l do like men who say yes quickly too!” With that she dropped her spoon of whipped sundae into my lap!!
Before l could even react she was down beneath the table and trying to lick it off!
I was mortified and quickly got up and made my way to the men’s room with Louisia laughing behind me and before l reached the door to the toilets, Burke was beside me saying he would join me and ‘freshen up.’
Inside he just laughed his socks off whilst l attended to my trousers.
“Rory you so need to chill, you are in my son, well in. She is totally into you 100%! She has just said she is going to pay the bill and we are going to head off to Cinderellas for dancing and drinking! The nights young my friend, the night’s young but long!”