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Uncle Fester lives

September 17, 2012

This man needs a health warning. Not because he is unhealthy himself, it is just that Currencies Direct client and friend “Norty” Norman Philpot aka Uncle Fester is a dangerous individual. It started with a couple of pre lunch sharpeners at The White Hart next door. Thereafter we wandered down to the Black Rabbit, a pub restaurant in an idyllic setting on the banks of the River Arun just outside Arundel to get lunch underway properly. At his age he is able to get away with being at the same time disarmingly charming whilst also being incredibly rude. The secret is in the smile. He was correct in that the water served was in a jug half full of fairy liquid, but asking for ‘the fat man” behind the bar to come and explain himself was pushing just beyond the borders of good taste. He was however determined totally to breach any semblance of good taste with his subsequent suggestion to the young and pretty waitress, which had me intervening to say that I would be returning my naughty uncle to the old people’s home as soon as he had been fed. It was that or the police may have been called.

With the food order subject to a pre warned 40 minute delay, and the roast beef off the menu, due to the earlier unscheduled arrival of a massive chapter of motor bike fans on their Harley Davidson’s, doubtless on the way to the Goodwood Revival who had all ordered the roast beef, he ordered…..the roast beef. The waitress was very patient and explained quietly and calmly again why he could not have the roast beef and listened patiently to my explaining to her that my father was slightly demanding.

Eventually he made a choice of food, with some considerable help from his wife and friends. His dubious “charm” continued throughout the meal, delighting himself, amusing me, but irritating that nice lady decorator. Personally I found his naughty Uncle Fester act, somewhere between the Munsters and Terry Thomas to be a very amusing part of lunch, however there was one dissenting voice.

It would seem to me to be an acceptable part of his character to be a little, shall we say, hands on, and he did not disappoint. He was however disowned at one stage by his lovely wife Suzie. Calming down a little as we tucked into the second bottle of quite acceptable Argentinian Malbec, he decided on a coffee but refused to believe a double espresso was just that, two espresso’s and sought clarification from first the pretty waitress and then “Billy Bunter” as he described him from behind the bar. Billy was most helpful and took the frankly quite unacceptable abuse in his stride and with a smile. He was not prepared to be drawn for instance on the subject of who ate all the pies. When it was explained to Uncle Fester that a double espresso was as we had said, he refused to accept he had been wrong, preferring to describe it as being poorly advised.

The ridiculously long bill for lunch

Having extracted ourselves from the pub without casualties, except for the damage inflicted by the bill, the delivery of which is pictured above today, and having made as much recompense as possible to the still smiling staff in the form of over generous tips, we popped into the wonderful Arundel Castle Cricket ground on the way back where Uncle Fester further tested his humorous (in his opinion) comments upon the West Indian and England ladies cricket teams who had just completed an international T 20 cricket match. Suffice to say that I shall wait until the dust has settled next year before I make my application for membership.

Chris France

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