Hap­pi­ness (says a new study) is a warm lunch

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION - Ev­ery week BAR­BARA FISHER looks at is­sues that af­fect us all – the is­sues that get you talk­ing. You can join in by email­ing bmail­bar­bara@gmail.com

JUST back from meet­ing friends for lunch, I must tell you that on this oc­ca­sion I had the op­po­site ex­pe­ri­ence from my moan re­cently about lack of veg­gie choices. In fair­ness to the Bel and the Dragon at Cookham, the pub that I crit­i­cised in April, they have since pledged to im­prove the menu af­ter my piece on Tri­pAd­vi­sor (the only time I have felt strongly enough to use this site).

Yes folks, these com­pa­nies re­ally do read com­ments on their ser­vices.

If they are fair and mea­sured com­ments, not silly rants, they take them se­ri­ously, and ac­tu­ally re­ply on the site.

Hav­ing named the place that dis­ap­pointed me (many read­ers asked me to let them know where it was), I will now de­scribe the pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence we had to­day at Amici in Sheep Street, Bices­ter.

This small fam­ily-run Italian restau­rant – an un­pre­ten­tious place, sim­ply fur­nished like the small eater­ies you might visit on hol­i­day – of­fered the tasti­est food I have had for ages, and not just for veg­gies ei­ther. It is not li­censed, but you can take your own bot­tle.

My dish – penne pasta in the most de­li­cious tomato-y sauce, with per­fectly cooked veg­eta­bles, big chunks of sun­dried tomato and a gen­er­ous help­ing of parme­san – was heaven.

Mr F and our friends, all meat eaters, were equally im­pressed with the food and friendly ser­vice.

On my re­turn, still glow­ing af­ter my pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence, I was pleased to read an ar­ti­cle headed Hap­pi­ness for the over-55s is… a reg­u­lar pub lunch.

The re­search by a re­tire­ment plan­ning firm ex­am­ined ways to in­crease con­tent­ment, tak­ing into ac­count what those re­ly­ing on a state pen­sion could re­al­is­ti­cally af­ford.

The com­pany, Age Part­ner­ship found that the three most af­ford­able op­tions were eat­ing out once a month, go­ing on day trips and be­ing in a club – all cost­ing less than five per­cent of the max­i­mum new state pen­sion.

You don’t of course have to be on a pen­sion to en­joy these things, or even be on a small in­come. I still work on a free­lance ba­sis, but I in­tend to find time to go on a few day trips – and carry on lunch­ing!

JUST read an ar­ti­cle ask­ing a ques­tion even the French can­not solve: How do you stop left­over wine from go­ing off ? All I could think was – what left­over wine?

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