Friends by na­ture and now by name at Ital­ian eatery

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

Mrs B and I were dis­ap­pointed when Mas­simo’s in North Street stopped do­ing morn­ing cof­fees and changed to be­ing a full-blown res­tau­rant.

It had been the sort of place where reg­u­lar cus­tomers, hav­ing ex­changed smiles, nods and hal­los, would chat freely be­tween ta­bles, and where first names were widely used.

The place closed for a month or two last year in the tran­si­tion to be­com­ing Amici.

In no time at all, ac­co­lades were pour­ing in. Hav­ing eaten there a few times, it is one of the very few places Mrs B and I rec­om­mend to friends – or, in­deed, to any­one who has some­thing to celebrate.

Although it is ad­vis­able to book, we have some­times seen a ta­ble found by friendly staff for a cus­tomer or two who have turned up on the off chance (in­clud­ing our­selves last Christ­mas when a pair of cus­tomers with room to spare at their ta­ble kindly in­vited us to share with them).

If I have any ad­verse crit­i­cism it is that Mrs B and I have some­times been un­able to fin­ish the large por­tions. As I ex­plained to the friendly wait­ress last week, my ap­petite is lit­tle more than a budgeri­gar’s – one of the few dis­ad­van­tages of in­creas­ing age.

Is there no one on the Town Team who is re­spon­si­ble for the town’s flo­ral ar­range­ments? Dur­ing the sum­mer, the boxes dot­ted around the place with cas­cades of flow­ers looked par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive. Now au­tumn is upon us, some are be­gin­ning to re­sem­ble com­post heaps.

Doubt­less if this were to be pointed out, the piti­ful ex­cuse of van­dal­ism would be of­fered. When van­dals wreck some­thing, it is down to the author­i­ties to deal with it, just as it should be down to the author­i­ties to deal with slalom­ing cy­clists on pave­ments.

Un­for­tu­nately, our Cab­i­net of Coun­cil­lors seem more ex­cited by the prospect of deal­ing with mil­lion­aires and age­ing pop stars than they are with the mun­dane busi­ness of run­ning a town for the ben­e­fit of its res­i­dents. Is a toy rail­way mu­seum re­ally more im­por­tant than the needs of those whose so­cial ser­vices life­lines are be­ing whit­tled away? The largest part of Ash­ford’s history – over hun­dreds of years – was its sta­tus as a mar­ket town. For some rea­son, the (rel­a­tively) few years spent as a rail­way town seem to have had a mes­meris­ing ef­fect on the loud­est voices in the coun­cil.

‘Is a toy rail­way mu­seum re­ally more im­por­tant than so­cial ser­vices?’

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