The activity that generated my ‘bucket list‘ was driven by Majella, perhaps with some assistance from the other wives, so it was no real surprise that one of the items was ‘take your beautiful wife out to dinner’. That seemed like an easy inclusion for me, especially since we were planning to travel for 3 months and would need to be eating out more than usual during that time.
A little more than 6 months on I’m confident about claiming this one even if I apply some criteria that I suspect were implicit in the item. I’m reasonably confident that Majella would have intended that to count for this item,
- the occasion should be dinner rather than lunch, breakfast, or some other meal,
- the two of us should be eating together rather than with another couple or group, and,
- I should be paying rather than cooking or securing a meal by some other means.
Looking back across the 3 months we spent together in Europe I’m sure there were several occasions that qualified but there are others that would miss on one or more of those criteria.
On our first evening in Paris we walked around the local streets, had drinks in a bar, and then shared a platter of cold meat and cheeses with bread at a nearby café. That was dinner for two but perhaps not sufficiently ‘special’ to count. The following evening we enjoyed the grand dinner and show at Moulin Rouge. That was dinner for the two of us but would not qualify on the third criterion because it had been given to us as a gift from our generous children. The following night Majella was too exhausted from walking and fighting a sore throat to eat so there was no dinner together and our last night in Paris was spent with Therese and Chris watching the Bastille Day fireworks from their apartment.
Then followed 3 weeks at Trébry with John and Pauline. We ate out, mostly for lunch and less often for dinner, most days but those occasions would not qualify. From Trébry we moved to Croisy sur Andelle where, after taking John and Pauline to Paris, were were joined by the Salamins. The two nights we had without guests across that time we ate dinner based on whatever we had to hand. Nothing to count there.
Our next dinner out with just the two of us was on our first night in England when we ate at a pub near the guesthouse where we were staying. Neither that meal nor the one in another pub in a village up the road on the next night was one that I’d want to count on my ‘bucket list’. The meals did sustain us but, after a bit more than a month in France, our palates were spoiled for English food.
We had enjoyable meals with the Michies while in and around Edinburgh but they were in good company rather than just the 2 of us so don’t qualify for this item. Beyond there we did manage to eat out with just the two of us more often for a while. Our first night of Kombi glamping followed a substantial lunch and dinner was a low key affair but our second day near Inverness included dinner at the historic Cawdor Tavern.
As we drove around the north and west of Scotland we ate out at Scrabster and Ullapool but the high point was in the walled garden at Applecross where Majella ordered what the menu described as prawns and was served langoustines. I’ve described that as her Meg Ryan moment akin to the diner scene in When Harry Met Sally. Needless to say the walled garden at Applecross comes highly recommended though it is a long way from anywhere.
As we proceeded through Scotland and England we ate dinner occasionally in our accommodation and in a variety of places including a café in Fort William, a castle near Stirling, a pub near York, an Indian restaurant in London, and a pub in Port Isaac. After that it was wedding and fun with family or friends, other than a night in Belgium and one in Dijon, until we left Switzerland for Germany in mid-September. We ate dinner each night but in the company of family or friends so not qualifying for this item.
From there we were on our own again and mostly eating out for dinner in Nuremberg, Berlin, Warsaw, and Krakow, though I did manage to cook dinner on one of our nights in Budapest. Many of those nights out might have counted. Our meal from the market stall in Krakow might not have met the standard but the next night in Piano Rouge was up to standard.
For sheer adventure our Austrian heuriger experience would take some beating and it was dinner out but we fell into the company of Othmar and Miriam and that took it out of contention for this item. From there until home we enjoyed dinners out in Česky Krumlov, Prague, Dürwangen, and Jarny near Puxe. The enforced nights in London are probably best forgotten.
Since arriving home we have been out to dinner more than once but I rest my case for ticking off this item on what I’ve outlined above. On balance I think I’ve earned the right to tick off ‘take your beautiful wife out to dinner’ on my ‘bucket list’. If I had to pick a winner it must be the night out in Applecross. Majella thoroughly enjoyed that meal and I just as thoroughly enjoyed watching her enjoy it.