time in the late 80s, my Penny farthing,
velocipede and bicycle collector client and
friend American Pryor Dodge came to stay at our
Noting Hill residence in the parallel road to the
Portobello Road market, Kensington Park Road.
I had met
Pryor in Paris when we both had been living there
in the early 80s before he moved back to his
native New York. Later in 1982 I stayed with him
in his Soho loft on Broom Street which housed his
vast important collection.
We didn't see
much of our guest as he was out every night
dancing Tango on the London Tango circuit.
Classical music and Tango were his other passions
having been immersed in this world since
childhood. His father, Roger Pryor Dodge,
had been a professional dancer and Pryor had
studied the flute to a high professional level.
He was also visiting bicycle collections dotted
around the UK and doing research for his lavish
coffee table book in London to be later published
by Flammarion in Paris.
Pryor invited Martin and I out for a 'Thank You'
Christmassy dinner. I chose a restaurant in
Bayswater that specialised in old historic
British recipes which was in walking distance on
a cold winter's evening. The owner catered to
film companies during the day on their shoots but
at night was the hostess but not with the mostess.
festive food but when it came to the desserts,
Pryor could not choose from the 5 Victorian
desserts, even though he was especially tempted
by the traditional very British Christmas pudding.
Instead he suggested we share all 5 traditional
fayre. The waiter was Brazilian and so I ordered
all 5 of the desserts. I don't know which
language school he had gone to or whether he was
'loco', but eventually 5 waiters turned up with 5
dishes for EACH of us laid out up each arm.
We howled with laughter, almost wetting
ourselves until we were almost crying. Mr Brazil
was not amused and nor the owner who sided with
the waiter and not her guests! How could any
mortal consume 5 desserts? She must have been
No one said 'Good
night' and 'Thank You' or showed us to the door
with a polite 'Merry Christmas.'
return so we thought!
Martin started to receive special promotional
offers. Eventually these constant monthly
promotions irritated him, as although the food
was good, the attitude of the owner was zero. One
day he decided to tell her what he really thought
and so, in my presence, called her telling her to
delete our address as we were never never coming
back. He told her why in NO uncertain terms.
Horrified, she apologised profusely and offered
us a complimentary dinner with wine to make up
for her behaviour. We HAD to accept even though,
frankly, we didn't really want to.
But what a
difference in service and attitude that night as
the red carpet had been laid down for us and all
the staff in attendance smiling. I didn't see the
Brazilian waiter that evening, perhaps he was at
night school learning better English!
on the train from Brighton to London for 'The
Colour Walk' at Spitalfields Market on 17.8.2017.
at New Writing South's Spoken Word evening 'Come
rhyme with me' with Dean Atta 10.11.17.