Dinner at Zafferano With Jamil and Souad On Friday Evening, Followed By Little Tennis Next Morning, 14 January 2017

Ice Stops Play: The Only Safe Form Of Tennis That Saturday Morning Was The Table Variety

The headline is the diary note; the rest is delightful detail.

Jamil and Souad very kindly and generously wanted to treat us to dinner at Zafferano on the Friday evening. It would have been hard to refuse such a kind offer.

They usually like to treat us to Lebanese food, but they love Zaffs and we had never all been there together. Indeed Janie and I hadn’t been to Zaffs for yonkers, so it seemed like an excellent idea for a change; it was.

The other three were all talked into a delightful veal cheek dish. I felt a bit “vealed out”, having spent much of the midweek eating the most wonderful leftovers from last Saturday’s Daisy special – click here. So I tried a delightful roast guinea fowl dish.

Jamil and Souad are always both delightful company. Jamil likes to pick my brain and debate matters of political and economic importance; gently but shrewdly. You need to keep your wits about you when debating with Jamil; he usually sends the odd curve ball into the discussion, not least a playful tendency to do the devil’s advocate thing unexpectedly and see what happens.

Souad is much quieter but you can tell that she takes everything in. When she does chip in to the discussion, her points are always incisive, decisive or both.

Jamil is a very keen tennis player (proudly so despite advancing years), so we chatted about modern and real tennis – mostly the former. He had seen the latter (at his club, the Harbour Club) but never played it.

Both Jamil and Souad seemed mighty impressed that Janie and I intended to play tennis (modern variety) the next morning at 9:00. It wasn’t an especially late night, but we’d certainly had plenty to eat and drink by the time we left Zafferano and agreed that we should all meet again quite soon.

But of course it was too cold for tennis the next morning. I say “of course”, but Janie and I couldn’t resist going down to the courts just in case; it was borderline temperature-wise but definitely just below freezing and therefore still like an ice rink on the courts.

Only one thing for it; emergency rations on the outdoor table tennis table. We always carry the equipment in our tennis bag for just such an emergency.

Janie usually wins at table tennis, having mis-spent more of her youth on that game than I did, But on this occasion, I was victorious three games to one. Perhaps the extra speed of reactions and cocked wrist needed for real tennis has had unintended benefits on the table variety for me.

Janie doesn’t look angry, even though this photo opportunity came post-defeat.


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