Every Sunday night I go up to "The Hammer and Pincers" to participate in their weekly quiz. I join with my regular quizmates - Mick and Mike and Danny. Whenever we are up there there's another regular team - also all men and in the same age bracket as us. There are usually six to eight of them They are our main competitors.
Back in October, the leader of their team kindly asked if we would like to join them in December for a meal. We all said yes but then each of my three mates dropped out. Danny moved thirty miles away to Buxton, Mike developed a serious muscle condition called myasthenia gravis and Mick simply didn't like the idea of going to a Turkish restaurant where of course they serve "foreign food".
And so it came to pass that I was our sole representative at the "Mavi Rüya" Turkish restaurant on Abbeydale Road. We had beers in "The Broadfield" before heading to the venue which opened earlier this year.
I ordered barbecued lamb shish which included sides - Turkish salad, rice and toasted flatbread. It was very good but pricier than similar Turkish restaurants I have visited in North London in recent years.
After the meal, we went back to "The Broadfield" for more pints of beer before calling a pair of taxis to bring us back to our neighborhoods a couple of miles away.
Potentially this could have all been rather uncomfortable for me but the other fellows were very nice. There was no oneupmanship or snide remarks. It was just a bunch of gentlemen getting on pleasantly together and feeling easy in each other's company. I didn't suffer any kind of grilling (like a kebab skewer!) and came home happy that I had not dropped out.