It happened years ago, somewhere in England. I was visiting friends; we’d been out for the day and were driving home again when someone suggested stopping for a drink. A hotel sign in the middle of the countryside presented itself, so we drove a hundred metres or so up a narrow lane to the the building, and in we went.
There was no one at all in the bar, and everything seemed more than a little dilapidated. Dusty. Shabby. A musty smell and holes in the carpet, etc. But we were here now, and it wasn’t as if we were going to order a meal… Footsteps on the stairs told us we’d been noticed. A woman appeared, took our order – three G&Ts and an orange juice – and vanished round the back.
Then we heard her voice yelling. ‘John! There’s half a bunny on the floor here – can you get it?’
Cue a grunt, and thumps in the background.
We looked at each other. Get the half-bunny? What were they going to do with it?? It was hard not to think of rabbit pie…
The woman reappeared with our drinks, we drank, and left. And we never went back to the half-bunny pub again. But now, whenever I have to describe a run-down room in my books, that bar’s what I think about.
All this came to mind last week, when I was looking out some jokes in English for a young friend. Here they are:
Customer: ‘Waiter, what’s this fly doing in my soup?’
Waiter: ‘Looks like the breast-stroke, sir.’
Customer: ‘I say, waiter, this water is cloudy!’
Waiter: ‘The water’s okay, sir, it’s just the glass that’s dirty.’
Customer: ‘Waiter, waiter, the service here is terrible!’
Waiter: ‘If you think the service is terrible, wait till you see the food!’
Customer: ‘Waiter, could you bring me burned chips, cold beans, and sausages coated in cold fat?’
Waiter: ‘I’m sorry, sir, we couldn’t possibly do that!’
Customer: ‘Why not? You did yesterday!’
Customer: ‘I’ll have a hamburger, please, waiter.’
Waiter: ‘With pleasure.’
Customer: ‘No, with pickled onions and a side salad.’
Customer: ‘Waiter, waiter, how long have you worked here?’
Waiter: ‘Only two weeks, sir.’
Customer: ‘Oh, then it can’t be you who took my order.’
Customer: ‘Waiter, waiter, how long will my sausages be?’
Waiter: ‘About four inches, sir.’
Customer: ‘Waiter, will my hamburger be long?’
Waiter: ‘No, sir, it’ll be round like everyone else’s.’