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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Surprisingly for someone who likes to bring up pretty much everything he eats, Toby looked a little apprehensive as we left for The Swallow's Return yesterday lunchtime...

To be honest, I think he was less concerned by the vomit-themed restaurant we'd chosen, and more worried about the fact that we'd dressed him in the same outfit he wore last time we went out. Unfortunately, due to his ever burgeoning appetite and the fact that he has the ample thighs and bingo wings of a morbidly obese American, it's actually the only ensemble that fits him. We had to make an emergency dash to High & Mighty on the way home.

At the time, I thought that picture of Lisa was the most gorgeous photo I'd take all day, but as it transpired, I was wrong...

That's Tilly, the cat formerly known as Bad Eye, who looked like this before we farmed her out to a better neighbourhood...

They grow up so fast. It seems like only yesterday I was scrubbing her poo out of the carpet and trying to stop Amelie from smothering her with love. In a literal, and fatal, sense.

She's now matured into the kind of cat that can jump up onto high kitchen units to steal your food, and cause hundreds of pounds worth of damage to your home. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, but she fell from grace pretty quickly. She's cost them a fortune in repair bills and turned their home life upside down. Truly she's her mother's daughter.

H wouldn't be without her though...

As she posed for that photo, I commented that Tilly's clearly quite happy to be held. To which H responded "No, I've just got her by the neck".

Anyhoo, catching up with Tilly was only half the reason for visiting H and her husband in Worthing yesterday. The other half was to eat a meal without Amelie insisting on sharing my pudding. So having enjoyed our feline meet and greet, we headed off down the road to The Swallow's Return, which looked less like a vomitorium, and more like a garden centre...

Not only is it housed in an old farm building, but it's situated in a field, and has the clientele of a Saga holiday. The only thing keeping the average age below ninety was the presence of Toby. I also felt slightly misled, as I'd been told it was a pub, when it's far more like a restaurant. I was expecting the 'two meals for £7.95' deal of The Jacob's Post in Burgess Hill. What I got was a wild boar burger for £10.95.

When he booked the table, H's husband had requested a highchair (for Toby, not himself), but the one they presented us with was so highly varnished that it might as well as have been coated in Teflon. Despite strapping him in securely, Toby was sliding about so much he couldn't stay vertical for more than ten seconds (he's so like his mother), and we soon gave up and stuck him under the table in his car seat. He started crying after twenty minutes, but we'd forgotten he was there, and assumed it was someone else's child.

To be honest, he wasn't the only one crying within the first half hour. They took so long to take our order, I could have wept. Admittedly, they had a bit of a pensioner rush on, but it was thirty minutes before we even got our drinks, and longer before we were allowed to order food. By the time it arrived, we were on the verge of an evening meal, and I understood why they'd chosen the name Swallow rather than Swift Return.

Admittedly, my Wild Boar & Chorizo Burger was very nice, but the portion could have been bigger, and the waitress removed our rack of sauces halfway through and gave it to another table, just as I was about to dip in. The meal was redeemed by the expensive desserts, which were very nice, and featured so much cream that I came close to fulfilling the name of the restaurant, but overall I felt disappointed. Although on the plus side, the painfully slow service meant that the forty quid I spent worked out at a reasonable hourly rate.

It also gave H plenty of time to bond with Toby...

He was about to slap her in the face for tickling him too much, but other than that, they're good friends.


Poirot said...

Phil you certainly produce gorgeous kittens - and the baby's a real cutie too!

Phil's Mum said...

I am amazed at the likeness between Tilly and her Mum - nearly as close as that between Toby and his Dad.

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Madeleine_swann said...

Our DD lives very near this restaurant, would be walking distance if it weren't for such busy roads. Like you we have found the service slow so maybe that is wh y it is always so busy.

So we were very close to you on Sunday as she had invited us down for a traditional Sunday lunch, excellent local lamb from "a proper butcher's shop" quote. Plus Eve's Pudding and Custard so I think we did well.

Further along from Swallows Return to the west there is a farm with an excellent shop, on summer Sundays they hold boot fairs but one does need to be there fairly early.