Daisy

Background

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I see her every day and I still find it difficult to believe that this is my daughter. As you can see, she is gorgeous. She’s also clever, funny and, somewhat alarmingly for a size eight, clean living young lady, can sing the blues like Bessie Smith.

Today’s lunch was a celebration for me – after a year of toil and six weeks of stress, I had just finished my DipTESOL (for more on this see the lunch with Martin and Nick) and had been looking forward to a weekend in Bristol for months. What neither Daisy nor I realised when we booked it is that this weekend would coincide with the start of her GCSE mocks – the beginning of her troubled time rather than the end. Nevertheless, the weekend was amazing. It must have been on her mind, but I saw no evidence that Daisy was worried, she was a joy to be with and made no mention of GCSEs at all – my daughter can be very kind.

Daisy chose Wagamama for our lunch as it’s Japanese and therefore good. The nearest one to Swansea is in Cardiff and it is a testament to her steadfast determination to eat there whenever possible that I now know their menu very well. Having resolutely ignored any culture beyond the Urals for fifty years, I have recently been given a crash course in all things Japanese because Daisy simply loves it. She speaks a surprisingly large amount of the language and can even read and write some of it. She loves manga and anime (and has taught me the difference between them), listens to the music, talks to her Japanese friends via Skype and whenever possible, eats the food.

The Lunch

Bristol was very crowded. Despite it not yet being December, the shopping centre where our restaurant is located was festooned with glittery plastic tat (or cheerfully decorated to celebrate the season if you prefer) and was very crowded. This was the day after ‘Black Friday’, that latest consumerist obscenity, and the mall was full of people looking for bargains in the aftermath.

We shopped doggedly for what felt like a lifetime and then headed up to the restaurant. I was depressed to note the length of the queue – Wagamama in Cardiff is always busy but queueing out of the door? Ugh. Lunch got off to a good start when we told the waitress there were just two of us and were ushered past all the people who were presumably waiting for larger tables. We were taken to the very table that I would have chosen for us – by the window and in the corner – the best possible spot for people watching.

We spent a very happy hour studying our fellow guests and making up life stories for them to explain why they looked so happy, sad, angry etc. Daisy has a great imagination and a ready wit – she makes me laugh far more than someone so young should be able to.

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29th November 2014

Wagamama, Cabot’s Circus, Bristol

Food

We ordered our usual favourites – ramen for Daisy and yaki soba for me. We usually try to order a couple of side dishes that we’ve never tasted before, but we’ve been to Wagamama too often for that now and so ended up with some guoza and a dish of spicy pork and salad.

All of the food in Wagamama is cooked to order and so doesn’t necessarily come in the order you might like. I’ve never been sure why the former must automatically lead to the latter, it doesn’t in many other restaurants, but it’s one of the features of Wagamama that you have to accept if you want to eat there. So too is the haphazard way drinks are served – I have known the coffee to arrive in the middle of the soup. The Wagamama in Cabot’s Circus, Bristol is huge and was very crowded so I wasn’t surprised when the glass of Merlot I had ordered didn’t arrive. I asked, gestured and finally frowned our lovely waitress into fetching it for me but when it arrived, I almost wished I hadn’t – it was huge. A balloon sized wine glass had been filled with what must have been half a bottle of wine. I wasn’t driving that day and so happily took the medicine which would ensure that the afternoon’s shopping would be much more pleasant, at least until the bank statement arrived, but be warned – if you have to drive anywhere within about 12 hours of lunch, don’t ask for wine in Wagamama.

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