Suffice to say, the lunch was one of the best in more than a decade of festive revelry.
Wilde’s Waifs & Strays began in 2000, when we realised that many of our regular customers were free-lance, very small businesses, partnerships or retirees. They missed out on the big corporate Christmas events to which we play host each December.
So, each year, we allocate a lunchtime and afternoon to these waifs and strays. We re-arrange the restaurant to facilitate one big party in the bar area. We place some bottles of various wines on the tables. We serve a Christmas à la carte menu. We play a festive game or two. And we end up with a gig.
Yesterday, the band was The Swaps.
Regular readers of this blog and that at www.everysmith.com know that The Swaps are a favourite of management and customers alike. Yesterday showed why.
They played a superb set of smoky contemporary blues, which had us older folk grooving in appreciation, and the younger ones dancing in the bar, the restaurant and subsequently in the streets.
Beth was in terrific voice. James was electric on the acoustic guitar. Tommo played the harp like there was no tomorrow. And Tom, filling in for Dave, gave us a percussion masterclass. Best of all, for me at least, was the triumphant return of bassist Chris, who overcame neurological issues to lay down some great grooves.
Thanks guys. And thanks to all the waifs and strays for contributing to a memorable lunch which, being temporarily deprived of red wine, I can remember vividly.
There are some compensations for not drinking after all.
Happy holidays, everyone.