And now for something completely different

Ok, the blog is now going to veer off in a slightly different direction and detail some of the antics in the life of the kilted caddie. A kind of diary I suppose but maybe a bit more of a vehicle to vent my frustrations at this ramshackle world, have a few chortles, while trying to avoid being a dreadful bore. No one likes a dreadful bore.

So let me vex on about our recent mortgage application saga, as we’re trying to negotiate the purchase of a wee pied a terre in Edinburgh. Firstly we went direct to the Royal Bank and had a painstaking two hour Zoom meeting with a nice lass from Kelso, who intimated that all was fine and rosy and the mortgage looked a done deal. However the next day we got a phone call explaining that the Royal Bank did not lend on properties under 30 sq metres. Well ok but couldn’t you have told us that before the two hour meeting?! I’m not good at two hour mortgage meetings.

We then went to our lawyer who suggested we use their broker. We did and were informed that there were only three lenders who would look at that size of property. And then there were suddenly two! but they would only lend with security upon our unencumbered St Andrews property. By the way, that means that no lender will entertain properties under 30 sq metres!

In the end the broker said that they would not be able to get us the 110k we needed! Hmm! Really? Our flat is worth much more than that, we have above average income, very low outgoings and zero debt, so I’m afraid that I’m just not getting this security lark? Exasperated, we went back to the RBS who say they will lend on the security of our St Andrews property (pity they hadn’t mentioned that option 4 weeks ago after the aborted first attempt or indeed that the broker hadn’t suggested we go back there and try this route, but never mind. A broker has to make money and no Royal Bank employee is perfect, remember that Fred Goodwin chap).

So, we are now awaiting the outcome of a two hour Zoom meeting with a nice lass from Milton Keynes. How immensely frustrating. And we very nearly lost the purchase as the seller is wary of us given the time it’s taking and was about to take it off the market. She has now agreed to rent us the property at nearly a grand a month until we are in a position to buy it! So we are now rather unwilling renters. Lord give me strength or let me get my hands on a bank mortgage risk assessor. Any bank. Being risk averse is one thing but without brains another.

Now on a more positive note, this new flat is in the West End so I thought I’d try and get a wee job to tide me over the winter and help pay the rent. So last Tuesday I walked into the Pompadour at the Waldorf and met Marek, the general manager of the new Dean Banks restaurant that opened in June. I said that I would really like to work there and we had a good although brief chat. He took my number, texted me later and got me in for a shift on Saturday night. I love that. Bypassed all the CV and red tape nonsense and got me straight onto the shop floor.

And what a shop floor it is! It’s a fab place with really excellent and fun staff all round, offering a superb and uniquely sourced tasting menu (they have their own St Andrews Bay lobster fishermen), all served at a heady rate from a sometimes frantic but amazingly well orchestrated kitchen and front of house team who ran like a japanese bullet train. We dished out 6 courses to each of the 52 guest covers most timeously and even somewhat spritely.

What an outfit they are and it seems a very happy place to work too. Dean Banks seems like a man on a mission and he and his team appear to have all that it takes. Certainly, pitching up shop at the Pompadour is not a shabby gig and St Andrews desperately needs a first class restaurant like this. And what a location they have got at Golf Place! This Arbroathan is a smokin.

It turns out that Luke, the chap that I bumped into in Le Di Vin a few years back and got to set up the wine list at our ill-fated Leopardo, was the sommelier and had just left the previous day to go and help open the new Dean Banks restaurant, Haar, in St Andrews (opening December), which is the exact same distance from our flat in St Andrews as the Pompadour is to our new place in Edinburgh (a 2 minute walk).

Strange old world and small old world. Wait till Luke finds out that I’ve suddenly pitched up at the Pompadour! A tiny wee place is Scotland.

And you never know, I may end up working in Deans’s place in St Andrews and be able to regale customers with stories from the links as a golfer and ex-caddie and my time here as a young nipper of a student. I’ve got a few to tell. But in the meantime, what a week ahead as we await the outcome of the Royal Bank’s decision on our mortgage application. Do I see another Zoom meeting looming?

A further wee coincidence today as I was walking across the Old Course I recognized Jamie Skinner coming off the New. I haven’t seen or talked to him in 38 years since our final year at St Andrews! So I said ‘Hi Jamie’ and he seemed to recognize me too which is a bit of a wonder as I’m rather more aged and changed than him I think. Anyway we had a brief 38 year catch up and I feel he has been rather more prosperous than moi. He had a big number at Martin Currie I think and is now retired apart from a few non-ex jobs and is on the finance committee of the R@A where he is also a member. He is a nice chap.

Small old world.

STOP PRESS. I see now that Stanley Johnson has tried to defend himself viv a vis his comment about Caroline Nokes ‘having a lovely seat’ by claiming that he was referring to her position as the Right Honourable Member for North Somerset.

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