I got a text from a friend this week. She was offering to babysit while my husband and I can go out on a date. Since I could not recall when we were on a date last, I thought it would be mad to miss an opportunity. So I quickly agreed.
As usual, the day went like a rocket, looking after the children. After a prolonged winter, we were happy to be in the park, soaking up the sun. At 5 pm my friend was at the house, ready to take over. But I was not ready. By 6 pm during dinner’s noise or lack of it, everyone were eating chicken soup in great concentration, we slipped out. Towards freedom & silence!
Almost one foot out of the door, my husband asked our friend: ‘Any suggestions for places to eat?’
‘The pub in Buxhall is good.’
‘A meal under a tenner?’ We all laughed.
My husband knew the answer well, but it is ALWAYS good to hope for the impossible!
The evening was still sunny. Still rather early to eat out. The village was just around the corner. So we went on a long drive in the country, listening to a comedian on a radio. No children. An amazing experience if you haven’t done it for a long time.
After driving for about an hours on country lanes, watching the sunset, watching out for rare sports cars zooming by, we spotted our pub.
‘A bit small,’ – my husband, a city man could not help noticing.
‘The smaller, the better quality,’ – I overruled as our family nutritionist pro.
Still, we sat there looking at each other, deciding who is going to make a choice.
‘It is going to be so much money.’ True.
Because I didn’t fancy spending my only free evening in the car park, I started rapidly calculating in my head : ‘Let’s see. Last time we were out, it was my husband’s b-day which is July, it will be about 9 months since we were out on a date!’
Look, we have not been out on a date in 9 month. That is full term baby! (Since I’ve five children it is easier to count in babies sometimes to get the point effectively). That was the last straw for the argument to eat out. I don’t think my husband (definitely not me) is ready to even think about another baby!
A tranquil looking pub, going back to the 17 century stirred my imagination. Would be amazing to pip through history spyglass how life used to be here. To enter, we had to bend out heads. Are humans taller now, must be! The first thing that greets you was the fire! There is nothing more desirable than cozy fire on a fresh April’s night. Especially this year! After getting our drink, we sat on the sofa right next to it, ready to go to sleep. Also, no one is about to ask: ‘Dad, look at this case on ebay. That’s what I need. Can you bid, please?’
The food was heavenly. We ordered ‘beef bourguignon with dumplings’. The meat simply was melting in our mouths. The pub was almost empty on a Friday evening. All villagers probably snag near their own fires. A few locals came in with their beautiful dogs, probably just to get out of the house for the dog’s sake.
I was surprised they let them in. ‘No, you don’t leave a dog like that outside. It would be gone in a moment.’ That was my husband’s verdict.
After we practically licked the plates, I was sure, no matter what the cost, I can’t leave until I’ve tried the ‘chocolate pot’. It was advertised as six pounds per any desert. The main dish was that impressive. At last, after 12 years in Britain, I’ve found a pub that can produce impressive food. It is not some ‘unidentifiable mash’ or ‘everything over fried’.
The ‘chocolate pot’ was so tiny, I had to look at it for 3 minutes or so. I expected a massive pot with chocolate rolling off the edges. Why good things often come in small portions?!!!
Anyway, the experience was unforgettable. My husband had a few pints of local beer, good thing I could drive us back home. I checked on the children & got a text back: ‘They’ve been great so far. No need 2 hurry back.’ But we did anyway. What can you do in a village after 9 pm except drink more?
The minute we walked in, I began to share our dinner experience & answering all the questions that children had at the same time. My daughter was baking and I glad she did. So we sampled her cakes and biscuits. My friend looked at me, laughing: ‘You are so bubbly. Have you been drinking as well?’ Guess what? Not a drop. Just one glass of pure orange juice. I think it was the joy of the Lord spilling over as the chocolate from that pot should. I was so happy to be out in public, treated to a perfect dinner, not worrying about the children (my friend is not only capable, she is a Christian, deeply spiritual woman you can entrust your children), having a good time. Somehow this reminded me of Jesus’ return. Right now, as we carry on with our lives, going out to restaurants or not, some of us Christians are in prisons and under severe persecution. Only because of spiritual convictions. The dogs are treated better today! Can you imagine not being able to go out and see sun when you please? No eating the food that you like? Not touching your children as you used to? Their love for the Lord had cost them everything. That gives me an idea how these brothers and sisters are praying from the depth of their hearts: ‘Come, Lord Jesus, Come Quickly!’
This analogy of going on a date also reminded me that those who are imprisoned & suffer all manner of difficulties, will enjoy heaven, God, so much more. As I did, because I haven’t been out without the children to enjoy myself in nine months. But I only have a faint idea myself, when compare my life to theirs. At least so far… But if all good things come in small portions now, they will never end in God’s presence!