I asked Steve if he would join me for lunch and suggested we both give some thought to a venue. When we next met, we had both come to the same conclusion – Uplands Diner.
I met Steve in the Uplands Tavern, just opposite Uplands Diner. At the time he was the partner of my friend and colleague Helen and she suggested that we go to the pub for the weekly pub quiz. Steve worked in the pub at the time, and was often in charge of running the quiz. It was much more entertaining when one of the other staff was reading the questions, you could puzzle for hours over an apparently obscure place name only to find out that the poor dab had taken a relatively straightforward word and mangled it beyond recognition – a memorable example was “St Petersburg’s HuMITarg is an example of what?”. Good fun, but frustrating if you are in with a chance of winning the quiz, which we sometimes were.
Four years later and Steve is now the husband of my friend and colleague and the absolute cornerstone of our quiz team. He stopped reading questions, joined the team and we have never looked back. It is quite remarkable how much trivia he knows: sport, TV, music, films, popular culture – there’s a very good chance Steve will know – or as he puts it, he’s got a head crammed full to the brim with useless shit. We are now so successful as a team that we have managed to amass enough money for the entire team to have Christmas dinner in a very good local restaurant, and enough booze to put us all in hospital afterwards.
There’s more to Steve than the quiz team however, he has become a very important part of my life. Again, cornerstone is the word that springs to mind, this time not because he knows lots of shit, but because he seems to be able to tolerate it from me. It doesn’t matter how drunk, moody, tired or silly I get, Steve is always there. He’s calm, good humoured and generous. When your parents are dead and your family is so far away, the following becomes very important: I trust him.
As usual, Uplands Diner was heaving and we had to wait for a table. No worries, Steve and I are never short of stuff to talk about. I was a bit nervous when I realised we were being led to a table deep in the bowels of the restaurant – the kitchen area is open plan, massive and right next to our table. The ventilation and airconditoning must be good though as it was neither overwhelmingly hot or smelly in there.
This was the first lunch I have had where my co-consumer and myself were not alone. Our partners and one of my children were there too which means that the conversation is difficult to report without including their contribution. I let off steam endlessly about a training course I’ve just endured, Steve talked about his new car, we all discussed the fact that several internal organs, including 90% of the human stomach are now redundant. The irony of this, when we were busy ourselves and surrounded by people who were enthusiastically stuffing themselves stupid wasn’t lost on any of us. We talked about rock music, politics, psychology and physics. As usual, the conversation jumped wildly from one topic to another and was highly entertaining.
18 October 2014
Uplands Diner, Swansea
Uplands Diner is famous, or perhaps infamous, as the home of ‘The Beast’. For £8.20 you get a HUGE fried breakfast with enough saturated fat to give heart disease to a small country. If you can eat the lot on your own, you get your money back, your photo is put into the ‘Beast Hall of Fame’ and you get a free ride to A&E to have your arteries flushed with industrial drain cleaner. (Two of the above are true.)
Steve and I didn’t take on the challenge but instead opted to share a ‘Beast’. At £4.10 each it’s a real bargain. Restaurants get good at what they do most of the time, and fried food is what the Uplands Diner has been doing for years. The food we ate is definitely not haute cuisine, but for what it is, it is extremely well done. Bacon – tasty, thick slices, some crispy, some rare. Eggs – sunny side up, white just cooked, yolks creamy and warm. Lots of mushrooms and fresh tomatoes. My only criticism would be that I found the half a loaf of sliced white bread around the outside a bit too much. We ate it, but in the end it was pride alone that kept us going. When you are eating most of a farmyard, you don’t need to fill up on carbs.