The music was very fine but I was glad that the last piece had melody, something to hum on the way home. Showing my age, I daresay.
What Snape has got wildly wrong this year is the food. Last week, we arrived at 6.45, for a performance at 7.30, which should have given plenty of time for a light, one course meal. We didn’t quite fancy the roast beef and other hot dishes, on a warm evening, so went to the salad bar, where there was just one helping of salad left. So we said, that’s okay, we’ll share it. She lumped the potato salad and the beetroot salad on one plate. So I said, er, can we have two pieces of crab tart, please? And she put two pieces on the one plate. Er, two plates? She was embarrassed to say that she only had the one plate. But she then found a small side plate and we were, of course, kind and polite, and I then went to pay and – unasked – some charge was taken off for the absence of salad.
Anyway, this time we cannily left quarter of an hour earlier, but could see that the salads were just about sold out again and they only had cold sliced meat to go with them. So we thought we’d check out the hot food. We both liked the idea of the fishcakes and joined the queue. “Only three fishcakes left,” I said. Tim thought he’d have the vegetarian lasagne otherwise. But, as we neared the front, we could see that was sold out. And the person in front of us chose one of the – by then two – fishcakes, so I said I’d have fish pie. The only other option was a beef curry. And, once we’d been served, there were only enough helpings of anything for four or five people. As we sat eating our supper, we could see people being turned away.
Years ago, the food was one of the appealing things about going to concerts at Snape but it’s been wayward for quite a while now. I don’t think it’s acceptable to run right out of food, 40 minutes before the concert starts. Sure, gauging how many theatre-goers will want to eat there is always going to have an element of guesswork, but they knew it was a sell-out performance and so surely experience should have given a good idea. Plates of sandwiches in reserve might have been a good idea. And anyway, a vegetable lasagne and a potato-topped fish pie are really cheap to make, if not to sell at £13 and £14 respectively, so a bit left over wouldn’t have been a great problem.
We’re going again next weekend and we’re taking our own food. I think it’s pretty sure to say that the people who went hungry and didn’t have an opportunity to eat anything until after 10 pm won’t take the risk either.