We had driven for quite a while through the remote Welsh countryside. Now we had passed through Snowdonia and through Gwynedd and were entering the Powys district on our way to London. The sun was shining, the fog burning off – it was a beautiful day.
As soon as we arrived at the diner we both filled with immeasurable awkwardness and what I like to call ‘foreigner insecurity’.
There were a number of people there, and it was clear immediately that this morning breakfast was part of their daily routine – they knew each other and they knew we were ‘fresh faces’.
Pulling in we could hear conversation in the parking lot that stopped as soon as we arrived.
No one pretended not to be looking at us (which is what we would do here – sure we are looking, but we don’t want you to know that and feel uncomfortable!).
No, no – they stopped talking and stared. We giggled our heads off like red-faced teenagers while parking the car in the busy lot;
“OMG, are we really getting out?”
“Oh ya, I am so embarrassed – we aren’t even going to be able to understand them! But we better stop, we have been driving forever and I am starving.”
“I am not even going to read the menu – I am just going to order the first thing I comprehend!”
Of course I couldn’t take a photo in this state!
We walked in and went to the front to order our meal, which was a fiasco in itself, and then sat down as quickly as we could in the awkward silence that fell upon our arrival.
Fortunately there were only a few other customers inside – and they were not speaking English – so we didn’t have to understand what they were saying about us!
Once seated, we took a moment to process what we had ordered. My husband realized his meal would include blood pudding (also known as ‘black pudding‘). In this case, oatmeal with pork blood.
We could actually smell it cooking, and though I appreciate the traditional and historical value it has in this part of the world (and others), my GOD did it stink!
“Smells like scabs in a frying pan”
My husband said. Not good! Once it arrived at our table, we couldn’t stand the stench – it was ruining our appetites! We actually panicked about it for a moment. We came to a conclusion;
“We have to get rid of it.”
Which of course meant I had to get rid of it. I made a plan while my husband sat with a stunned look of horror on his face.
We couldn’t rudely leave it on our plates untouched, neither of us could handle the idea of (openly) disrespecting our hosts – their culture or their cooking, plus – the smell – we had to get rid of the smell.
I had to dispose of it.
First I thought I would wrap it in napkins and dump it in the garbage outside, but it was located in plain view of the register where the cook stood staring at us.
My only other discernible option was the toilet, located outside and around the corner.
I wrapped the blood pudding(s), put them in my pocket and headed outside (under the close watch of our patrons).
Once I got into the small washroom I started breaking up the blood pudding into small scabby bits, and put them into the toilet.
When it finally came time to flush, it wouldn’t. Panic!! What would I do now? Fish all of the bits out of the toilet with my hand and find somewhere else to dispose of this bloody stinking mess?
I frantically pushed, pulled and yanked the flush handle, and realized (after breaking it) that the handle worked in the opposite direction I was used to.
Yes, I broke the 100 year old toilet while panicking about being caught trying to dispose of my husbands stinky blood pudding – that he accidentally ordered because he was too embarrassed to take the time to read the menu.
AND I didn’t have the courage to report my accident. I still feel guilty about that – hence my embarrassing confession.
Of course they knew it was me. I am sure the next person to use the facilities went back into the restaurant and reported my misfortune – adding in Welsh words like ‘stupid’ and ‘tourist’.
We finished up and paid our bill, leaving enough tip to replace the broken toilet handle (and apologize), and just as we thought we were heading to the ‘home free’ zone (back into the rental car and onto the highway), we were stopped by a group of burly Welsh men…
Our hilarious horror show had only just begun!