Four poppadoms, an onion bhaji… and Sir Patrick Moore

17 Oct

Open All Hours, BBCSince moving to Swanage I have been forced to re-evaluate the concept of takeaway food. In London I would go online, order something appropriately artery-furring and wait for a teenager on a moped to bring it to the front door.

Here the etiquette seems to be that you go to the takeaway in person, order your food and then either wait in awkward silence or leave, and return to collect it yourself after a period of time which inevitably doesn’t allow you to do anything useful, like pop to the only late-opening convenience store for more booze.

That store, incidentally, is called Arkwrights. One of the two Ronnies – albeit Corbett rather than Barker – filmed something on the pier here about 50 years ago. There may well be a generation of people unfamiliar with the BBC comedy classic Open All Hours but rest assured that it is remembered very fondly in Swanage.

Anyway, last night we decided to get a takeaway curry. Our local (and only) curry house boasts celebrity credentials – a grip & grin photograph of Jonathan Ross with the restauranteur has had pride of place on the wall for at least 10 years. But I discovered last night that the Wossy pic has made way for a very similar image of astronomer extraordinaire Sir Patrick Moore adopting the same pose, with the same delighted owner.

This is quite astonishing, not least because the last time I met Sir Patrick was in 2007 and he was very charming but also rather housebound even then. I went down to his home in Sussex to interview him about the Sky at Night and we shared a bottle of wine, at his insistence, at 11am.

How on earth he made it down to Swanage, hopped in a cab and ended up at the Golden Bengal therefore defies scientific explanation. But there he was in this photo, larger than life and by the looks of things standing in the very spot where the picture now hangs.

The rest of the Saturday night crowd were considerably less luminary. A group of 15 rowdy teens ordered bottle after bottle of rose wine in the restaurant area (honestly, what happened to Mad Dog 20/20?) and then demanded to pay separately. One of their party was about 3 times larger than anybody else so perhaps that was fair enough.

All of life was in that curry house by 8pm – while the teens were busy screeching about how wasted they were, a man on a stag-do did his champagne-fuelled best to convince the waiters to make an exception and deliver the groom-to-be’s dinner (they didn’t) and a tired child waiting with her mother for a table asked poignant questions about whether daddy was coming home, which really put everything into perspective.

It was like a 21st century Hogarth sketch – much more interesting than X Factor but I was also quite relieved (not to mention down to my last piece of free bombay mix) when my food finally emerged from the kitchen.

I nearly missed my moment though, as despite having given my name and spelled it out, They summoned me by calling for “Joe”.

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7 Responses to “Four poppadoms, an onion bhaji… and Sir Patrick Moore”

  1. J-Ro October 17, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    Did you know that Open All Hours was filmed in Doncaster? I used to go watch the filming as a child and my autograph book was proudly adorned with not one but several signatures from Ronnie Barker, David Jason and Linda Baron :o)

  2. zskdorset October 17, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    I had no idea – very impressed! Did they get to know you then? I think I read somewhere that the original shop went on the market a couple of years ago 😦

  3. almostwitty October 18, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    As someone who spent most of my teenage Saturday nights being the one who took people’s orders and allocating parcels of food to the needy and greedy on a Saturday night in a seaside resort, I heartily recommend calling in advance. Before 7pm on a Saturday.

    You can also evaluate viewing patterns – people generally call in advance, and want to pick up their order before The X-Factor comes on.

    • zskdorset October 18, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

      Good advice that – except it’s only as X Factor approaches you realise that a) you’re hungry and b) you can’t be bothered to cook (at least I imagine so – I’ve never watched it myself!)

  4. Frau Dietz October 22, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    There’s only pick-up over here as well. When we were (eating out at) our local Vietnamese last week a guy turned up with an ENORMOUS cooking pot and gave it to the kitchen to put his curry in?!!

    And whilst we’re at it… I grew up in the village where they filmed Terry and June 🙂

    • zskdorset October 24, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

      brilliant – next time i shall turn up with my tupperware! Loving your Terry & June heritage – am amazed by our collective cultural landmarks!

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    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Zoe Kleinman, Marc Cooper. Marc Cooper said: RT @zsk: Four poppadoms, and onion bhaji… and Sir Patrick Moore – (personal) blog post from me http://bit.ly/cQR4iB […]

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