Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dinner at the Boganville Hotel

I had the dubious pleasure of dining last week at one of Melbourne's suburban hotel/pokies/childcare centres.  It was specifically selected by my friend because there was a play area for her five-year-old.

It scares the hell out of me that I may in a few years see this an acceptable dining venue.  I doubt it but...


I have a lot of ethical problems about supporting suburban gambling venues but didn't want to argue with a worn-out parent.  There was only a moderate amount of stale cigarette butts at the entrance but once we stepped into the foyer it smelt like it hadn't been aired out since smoking was outlawed in food venues.


The family-friendly bistro was separated from the pokies room by a bar where one could order meals, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.  The annoying sound of the poker machines was well and truly drowned out by the sound of kids screaming.  The presence of kids in such a venue disturbed me even more than the existence of suburban pokies.  The place was packed with young families having a 6pm dinner.


Besides the play area, wall of pictures that had obviously been coloured in by young children and the fact that kids could scream with abandon, it wasn't really that family-friendly.  One had to go up to the bar to order and pre-pay which meant each party had to include at least 2 adults – one to order the meal and one to supervise the kid(s).  Or they could just let their kids run wild unsupervised (a number of people seemed to have taken that option).  Drinks had to be ordered and paid for in a separate queue. The meals came quickly and were generally of an acceptable quality (although the frozen chips could have done with another 5 minutes in the oven to ensure they were thawed properly).  The prices were comparable to those charged by a small family-run suburban restaurant that in my experience generally provides a much higher quality meal (and ambiance).


For the first time in my life I could understand the perspective of inner-city yummy mummies who take their babies and toddlers to trendy cafes and annoy the crap out of non-parents.


Surely there has to be a better alternative for young families than these two extremes.  Is it too much to ask for a family friendly restaurant that offers a safe play area, full table service and a decently cooked meal for both adults and kids?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pregzilla - or just standing up for myself?

Well, I finally have an explanation for all the lethargy that has led to a constant need for sleep and huge difficulty in knitting, writing, getting out of bed - it's called an iron deficiency. A common issue in pregnant women (31 weeks now) of all ages, shapes and sizes but one that took a while for the doctors to pick up because don't-you-know, a pregnant woman of my size and age will of course feel more tired than usual.

Did I mention that I stopped driving about 2 months ago following a minor bingle because I was so tired I lost focus at 3 o'clock in the afternoon? Alert to all people, pregnant or not - this is NOT normal and should be taken seriously (by yourself if you can remember) and certainly by your doctors. I've been on iron supplements for less than a week and already feel infinitely better.

But pregnancy has definitely made me more grumpy and sensitive than usual - and I have never been known for my patience - and I find my ability to tolerate stupidity, thoughtlessness, selfishness, pointless meetings, etc is at an all time low. And the volume of all the above seems to have sky-rocketed over the past few weeks.

Am I being unreasonable in saying that a suggestion to have dinner, starting at 8pm at a restaurant 40km from home on a work night is just not on in my condition and state of tiredness?

Or to be deeply offended that someone wants me to use my valuable and limited time and energy to respond to a complex question in an area I have no expertise in for the friend of a friend that he has lost touch with? (Let's not even go into the fact that they couldn't even provide definite contact details).

You know the most annoying thing about that second example - the person involved didn't even understand why I thought this was a completely unreasonable request! (At least in the first case it was quickly conceded that I had a very valid point and we had a lovely earlier dinner on my side of town.)

I want to get a t-shirt made up: "I'm pregnant: It's my turn to be the prima donna".

But now I'm wondering if it's more a case that I have spent too much of my life accommodating others and being helpful, and it's only now that I am in a position that I must say 'no', that I realise how much certain people have taken me for granted.

I thought I had found that balance - between being helpful and being used - but the events of the past few weeks have forced me to re-look at and reassess my relationships with some people. If they can't or won't consider my position now, I am dammed if I will be going out of my way for them in the future.