AS exclusively revealed previously, I dislike eating out. It’s the rigmarole. The class distinctions. The waiter-customer relationship, like boxers circling each other or a brooding detente ever likely to erupt in war. The noise. The stupid menus. The stupid cutlery. Fish with bones in. Absurd prices for wine and for dishes that are just spaghetti topped with some variant of ketchup.

Everybody pays through the nose, because that’s the way it is. It’s like lawyers’ fees or company directors’ bonuses: financial insanity, but bovinely accepted – because that’s the way it is.

The restaurant is just a place to meet that isn’t a pub. Eating spoils the conversation. You must drink wine, a soft southern libation, when you’d rather have beer like a northern pleb, but all they ever have is Continental rubbish in wee bottles.

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Worst of all: the tip. You have to calculate 10 per cent of the bill, an unofficial tax that taxes the brain. You pay tips even when the service is risible, same as you say a meal was good when it was rotten.

I write in the wake of a hoo-ha. In yonder New York City, a waitress went viral, if that’s the expression (though, in this context, “went nuts” would do) after a large group of European diners left her a mere $70 tip. The bill had been $700, and so they had calculated 10 per cent.

But, in America absurdly, the tax – effectively – is 20 per cent. So much for low tax America.

In a now deleted tweet, this wumman said: “LMAO. I f***ing hate Europeans sometimes.” For those of you out of the loop, LMAO indicates that during a bout of cynical laughter the woman’s bottom became detached.

She complained further that an actual American was part of the group, making her wish: “Bitch, do something.”

The controversial incident follows debate in NYC about tipping culture being “out of control”. Even beyond restaurants, it’s now an expectation rather than a reward, and is seen to make up for employers underpaying in the traditional capitalist manner.

At any rate, 70 dollars – on top of wages – for bunging plates hither and yon for a couple of hours seems pretty decent. As ever, my remedy for the situation, the nationalisation of all restaurants under benign state control – same as I’ve advocated for book publishing – is commonsensical, fair and, consequently, unpopular.

The well paid workers would be unmotivated, the service slovenly and the food deplorable. But, with tipping banned, at least there would be no need to make that irritating calculation at the end of every meal.

Unusual bliss

SHOCK news: I’ve been happy. The experience has been fleeting and will doubtless end when Jehovah the Merciless gets to hear about it. But I’ve been working in the garden, on sunny days, in perfect peace and quiet, with only the blissful sound of the birds occupying my ears. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.

Everywhere I’ve lived I’ve brought birdsong, in pursuit of my ideal life based on those of my heroes, Tom Bombadil in The Lord of the Rings and Beorn in The Hobbit; a sort of Garden of Eden, if you will. Well, ye ken, a G of Eden before yon daft lassie couldn’t resist scoffing a Granny Smith.

I am not alone

NOT just me part one. American comedian Sarah Adelman struck a chord with fellow wummin online on expressing surprise at how little men know about their mates and their families.

We don’t know how many children they have, or their names or genders. We don’t know our mate’s favourite colour or his birthday. I used to get grief for this and am relieved to learn it isn’t just me.

“He’s one of your closest friends. You must know how many children he has.”

“Well, he has some. More than one, I think.”

“Unbelievable. Well, what’s his wife’s name?”

“Not sure. Gerald? Not Gerald. Geraldine. No, not Geraldine. Harriet maybe. Betty? Something like that anyway.”

Not just me part two. Many decent ratepayers now listen to audiobooks to help them sleep. Just like I’ve done for years. And boffins have found that so doing can boost slumber by 30 minutes.

Rarely takes me a minute to nod off. But I always wake up in the middle of the night, shouting: “What am I doing on this wretched planet?” Then I comfort myself with another story.

Usually, it’s Tolkien, classic sci-fi such as The Twilight Zone and X Minus One, or Conan the Barbarian, ken? I dislike “sounds of nature”, 90 per cent of which start off with tap water running – supposed to be a stream. Just makes me go for a pee.

Stephen Fry’s voice is comforting, as is the sound of Swedish which, again to my surprise, other folk find relaxing too.

It’s comforting to know one is not alone, but part of a community listening to sounds such as “Ingen ko på isen” (“There’s no cow on the ice”, which is always reassuring to learn) or “His axe wove a shining wheel of death about him.” Aye. Night-night.