Down to Walton-on-Thames, to see Clare’s dad, Mike. I have all day to prepare my 5-min presentation for tomorrow, but there is a pub lunch to fit in, and I want to change my laptop battery that’s conked out. I think it’s doable.

The potted flower in Mike’s living room is now in full bloom and the stalks are drooping under their own weight. Mike, a retired aircraft engineer, has fashioned a solution for this by tying them together with a bit of ethernet cable, that he assures us is much stronger than garden string, which is what Clare is suggesting. Clare seems to accept this without a fight, presumably as she has more important ones to give today. 

I’ve successfully changed my laptop battery despite doing the one thing highlighted as a warning. Luckily Mike noticed so I didn’t rip the connector off the battery, which is what I think I was doing. I think it was the red text warning in the instructions that made me lose my cool. Why are warnings always so stressful to look at?

We head to the pub. It is busy and the staff are struggling with the orders. A lady who has just had her dessert is complaining very politely about the size of her portion. The manager assures her she’ll pass the message on to the chef and walks off, which the lady seems to accept. I wonder how she’ll benefit from this and I think she is wondering too because she hangs around for a while before leaving.

Clare is keeping the conversation going. She’s asking Mike if he ever had long hair or been a rebel, but he responds he’s never rebelled against anything in his life. 

Clare finds this depressing and persists. Eventually Mike remembers he has been on a protest march after all and there is some excitement, but it was to protest the banning of the V-10 bomber, so I don’t think it’s what Clare had in mind.

Clare asks whether he ever protested for the people who were killed by the bombs but Mike explains that someone else would have built the bomber if they hadn’t. Clare asks ‘Who?’ which seems like an easy question but Mike seems genuinely puzzled. I wonder if this is because he can’t think of a country capable of producing the V-10 bomber to the same standard at the UK, so I suggest ‘The French?’. He turns to look at me and says ‘Nah’.

We eat our meals and desserts arrive. Something has gone wrong with Clare’s dessert as it is thinner that the dessert spoon so she smiles and asks the waiter if they’re running short. He smiles and replies ‘Yes, probably’, so it’s clear another approach is needed. 

Clare suggests a discount considering they are running short of this dessert, but our waiter says it’s nothing to do with him because he only brings what they give him. This seems fair enough, mainly because of how he says it and the fact he looks about sixteen. Mike and I are unable to offer our support during this exchange as we have already started eating our desserts and have our mouths full.

Clare looks at the queue leading up to the manager then starts eating her dessert. As a way of offering solidarity, I consider suggesting we never come to this pub again, then remember it’s Mike’s local, so I remain quiet.