Lunch with a friend should be a pleasant occasion. A trip to the usual pub by the canal at Stone, good pub food, drink and long, long chats. This is my usual experience of The Star. Today however it was not to be as the usual staff appeared to have been replaced by Zombies.
First the wait to be served. We sit, and sit. The waiter, if that is who he is, walks past our table, once, twice, three times. His face is blank. Finally we are asked what we would like to drink. We order and we also give our order for food. We wait. Time passes. We chat. The room is virtually empty, no one comes, no one leaves. No meal arrives.
Forty minutes later I go to the bar. Is there a problem? Apparently not, such a wait is common. I point out it's never happened before and that we are regulars. My comment is met by a blank stare.
Some time later, food arrives. No apology, no explanation. It's good, we enjoy it. No one comes to ask if it is OK. No one offers dessert, or coffee, or clears away our dishes.
The room empties. We are alone.
If this were SF at this point the poison in our systems would kick in, we would keel over and be dispatched either for alien experimentation, or to have our vital organs harvested, etc.
Nothing happens. The place rattles with emptiness. Our conversation flags.
Since no one is around it would be tempting at this point to leave without paying. It could have been done; instead we go to the bar. We smile politely, we pay.
The Zombies stand expressionless. One sips coffee. Or is it? The cup he raises to his lips would suggest it is, but by now all we want to do is get out of there asap.
Driving home, I begin to wonder. Is all this a way of shutting down the lunch time trade, or is something more sinister going on?
Whatever the explanation, we won't be going there again.