This article is taken from Stand 239, 21(3) October - December 2023.

Keith Hamnett Matters of Life and Death
Where shall I dine this evening? The Italian? No, I was there on Tuesday for one thing, and for another it’s far too noisy. No, I think tonight I’ll go to Paulaner’s. There I know my steak will be done as I like it, not as the chef in some places thinks I ought to like it. And it’s a little while since I was there – you don’t like to visit the same place too often. So, Paulaner’s it is. It’s not very far to walk from my small apartment, which makes a difference when you’re my age. Didn’t I tell you, I’m nearly eighty-seven? Well I am.

Mina and I always loved dining out, and we did so as often as we could afford. In those days, although we were anything but poor, it was quite an event, what with the rationing and the shortages and the war. Paulaner’s was a favourite; not the favourite, which was the Augustus, but we loved it. I still do, and nowadays I can go there as often as I wish. There’s a perfectly simple reason for this, but I wish it were a different reason, and I wish that Mina could be here to enjoy it with me.

Enough! I can get melancholic quickly in any case. What’s more, I’m already crossing the market square and Paulaner’s is just on the corner. It’s a good job I can hear the buzz of conversation as I push open the door, for in a moment it will stop. Abruptly. Then there will be calls, not loud or demanding, but gentle, friendly and inviting.

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