Woking is a word the instills fear in my daughter and I can’t completely work out why. Yes, the shops are a bit crap, the restaurants are mostly of the greasy-spoon cafe variety and the whole place smells of the great unwashed. But surely she’s too young to notice these things, right?! As soon as we pull into the 1960’s multistory carpark with the too-tight ramps and the uber-low ceilings, a depressed looks spreads across her face that just screams, “Woking? Seriously? Why?”.
Parking being so much cheaper and closer to the shops, I always keep going back for punishment. We had the thrill of an optometrists appointment today and I thought we could grab some lunch outside in the glorious sunshine after, since you never know how long a warm spell is going to last in this country.
As I got out of the car I got the whiff of smoke that permeates the whole town, walking into Boots I was told the appointment was upstairs (sleeping toddler, no lift); so the day didn’t start that well. But the immense effort required to find a place I would be happy to feed Weasel with a sunny window without fear of chronic life-long obesity or instant food poisoning was all too much. The pit that is the shopping centre food-court is, like all depressing pits, windowless. Somewhat decent looking Italian restaurants were dotted around, but I would have felt funny going in on my own (something I should really get over, it would make my life easier!). Even my beloved Starbucks is in a crap location in Woking, and currently next to a lot of chain smoking workmen and pneumatic drills, making eating even by the window out of the question, let alone outside. And in most of the pubs (think Irish chain variety) I have been so paralytic in that a) I’m probably barred b)might have flash-backs and c) they wouldn’t be appropriate for toddlers, so a pub lunch was out of the question.
So which exciting sunny restaurant did I end up in? Nero’s – and it had tables outside! Sandwiches toasted, fruit pot picked out, the worst cappuccino of my life burnt all to hell, babyccino frothed, sandwich toasted, 3 people jump in front of me to pay and there is no longer a table outside in the sun. I hate you Nero. Who names a coffee shop after a sadistic useless emperor who watched Rome burn? People who burn coffee and don’t help you when you’re trying to balance a tray, pram and highchair, that’s who. Weasel managed to eat a square inch of sandwich and half an apple juice box before getting bored and playing with stacking cups instead. And by playing with stacking cups I mean throwing them at the window. The toilets were upstairs as well, so useless for people with prams.
I will swear up and down to not go ever again, but keep being drawn in by the cheap parking and hypnotizing smell of bacon-butties. Damn you Woking.