Well, here we are six weeks into parenthood and it's really going rather well. Oh sure, we're up every three hours without fail, I've lost over half a stone thanks to simply not eating properly, and we've a new found hatred for any parent who tells us that their darling child is 'already sleeping through the night'. Oh how blessed and lucky they are - the bastards.
Well as luck would have it, 'er indoors and I decided to take ourselves out for a nice, and what we hoped would be, romantic meal. We'd got ourselves one of those lovely vouchers and decided that would leave our three year old son Felix at home with the keys to the toolshed and liqueur cabinet, and simply take Tami with us in the pram. She sleeps soundly in public places and clearly has not yet developed a sense of shame. I wonder at what age we get that? I'm still waiting for mine.
Well the first thing we did was to make sure that the restaurant had baby changing facilities. Trust me, no amount of fine dining can make up for having to lay a changing mat on the floor of a public toilet and pray that there are no nasty surprises.
As luck would have it, they said that they did, so we were all set. Now the restaurant is in Chelsea, and whilst that it is only 16 miles away and should therefore take around 40 minutes according to my ridiculously optimistic sat nav system, the drive took close to an hour and a half. That, however, was not the problem...
The problem was that, as we entered, we were greeted with the sounds of lots of people talking. In and of itself that really doesn't seem so bad. What I failed to mention is that these people were attempting to have a conversation over music being played so loud, it was a wonder that they were not pouring into the streets with blood spouting from their eardrums.
Now don't get me wrong - I'm not some 40 year old prude who doesn't appreciate a bangin' tune, but this place was louder than the runway of a major international airport. Oh sure, Tami stayed asleep for the 4 minutes that we were in there, but at what cost to her health?
Naturally, we left, but it did get me to thinking - why would anyone create a restaurant where people could not talk over dinner? Surely any dining experience is about more than just the food. If I have to destroy my vocal chords just to speak with someone sat 3 feet away from me then I just can't see the value in that.
Clubs are loud, pubs are sometimes loud too, but does all of our modern technology mean that the only way I can ask my wife if she's enjoying her meal is to send her a text message? It seems that in every decade, something new is blamed for killing the art of conversation. I never thought a meal out would be one of them.