Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Die on Your Own Time Please

When exactly did (some) people become so uncompassionate? It's long been the norm that one daren't take leave to recover from illness without fearing the wrath of the boss, leaving us with a workforce performing consistently below best, coughing and sneezing their germs around til even the usually most hale and hearty succumb; what about compassion that should be due all of us to deal with bereavement?

Standard Leave of Absence policies seem to indicate that one might have paid time off work for the funeral of a close relative (parents, children etc) with perhaps a day or two longer if one has the responsibility for making the funeral arrangements, but then it's expected that you chivvy yourself along back to work. No allowances made for wanting an extra hour or two to attend a wake and offer sympathies to other family members, share a moment remembering the good times.

And woe betide if it's the misfortune of a less 'close' relative to pass away (how dare they, what were they thinking). Uncles, Aunts, in-laws; hey, if it's not 'your' relative, don't even think about putting that LOA form in, never mind that these relations can be just as close.

Today's lifestyle - social mobility can mean that a friend, a neighbour, could be closer that some relatives, but again we're expected to be robots - take 30 seconds and then get back to the grind - work will save you. It's belittling the life of a Mother, a Father, a Son or Daughter, a Friend.

Try to ensure your loved ones die in as uncomplicated a fashion as possible, have the funeral at the weekend (assuming your not working then as well).

In a world where we're constantly striving to put meaning in our lives, in the eyes of some, life has ceased to have any meaning at all.

DEATH RIDES AN UNCARING HORSEIllustration: Sherwin Schwartzrock & Jonathan Koelsch

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Wrinkled noses at Rasa

So this review is a bit late - ok, read very late, having gone out on Valentine's Day, but you know, sometimes life just gets in the way.

With high hopes we set off to Rasa on Newcastle's Quayside. Our usual fail-safe is Sabatini's but having been there twice pretty recently and as I'd not long since read the Secret Diner's glowing report, we thought a change of scenery in order.

We declined the 'special' menu, opting for their regular option, and to begin with things looked quite promising. The staff were attentive but unobtrusive and knowledgeable, providing extra information about the dishes and as I polished off my Konju Fry starter, I was feeling confident about the choice we'd made. Unfortunately it was all downhill from there. The service all but disappeared, they staff seeming to prefer standing around the corner chatting to paying attention to what was happening in the restaurant, whilst my main dish was very nice, my partner's was completely tasteless and although we wanted coffees, the staff took so long coming back to the table that we just asked for the bill and went for a drink in the Akenside instead. In fact, I can probably say the best thing about the whole experience was the Malabar Paratha bread. Far nicer than the Naan breads one usually receives with Indian food, but I didn't go out to just enjoy bread.

Do the restaurants reviewed by the Secret Diner know he's coming? Do they up their game during the visit? I absolutely cannot see any reason for the 5 stars awarded in his review. My view? I'd be struggling to give it 3 out of 5.
On a positive note, the pre-dinner drinks at the Slug, and the post-dinner drinks at the Akenside were just lovely.