Out There column

Ingrid and friend Alison.
Ingrid and friend Alison.
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There are some moments in life that are so excruciatingly embarrassing that you can hardly bear to share them with others.

I endured one such moment at the Christmas Ideal Home Show at Event City in Manchester on Sunday.

My friend Alison had suggested a visit to the show and we’d been looking forward to it for weeks. We were especially excited about the Christmas dinner we’d booked at the event restaurant which was run by Gregg Wallace, he of Masterchef fame.

At the event we were shown to our seats and, almost on cue, Gregg appeared. He was circulating among the diners and being an exuberant host. I gave him my most winning smile and Alison asked if he wouldn’t mind having his photograph taken with me. In a booming cockney accent he said: “Alright ladies. No problem!”

All heads were turned our way, but I nearly died when Gregg made his next move. He came right up to me and fiddled with my nose.

“There,” he said. “That’s better.” I’d had a cold and my nose was sore and peeling.

Gregg was like a dad sorting out a toddler’s mucky face. I felt about two years old. Alison was roaring with laughter as I squirmed in sheer humiliation. Gregg put his arms around me and got Alison to take a photo on her phone.

Then he was off, working the room once again. I wanted the floor to swallow me up and for the other diners to cease their sniggering. In retrospect, I should thank Gregg really. I could have spent the whole day walking around with a dodgy-looking beak.

After the ignominy of my encounter with Gregg, it was a great pleasure to sit back and enjoy a Masterchef-standard meal. The star of the show was the main course of Cumbrian turkey ballotine, goosefat roasted potato fondant, squash puree, honeyed parsnip, cranberries and turkey stock. Gregg even returned a bit later for another chat. Luckily that time he left my nose alone.