The Birmingham Post's Campbell Docherty and his girlfriend were among the 20,000 people evacuated from Birmingham city centre on Saturday night...
?I?m sorry Madam, I?m sorry Sir, I?m going to have to ask you to leave.?
Ah, here we are in the Malmaison restaurant in Birmingham and they have rumbled me. They know there?s no way a journalist can afford these prices.
Mind you, I did get away with half a small black pudding and a blackberry in my mouth and a sip from a glass of Italian white.
My girlfriend did even better, a couple of mussels had been dispatched before what turned out to be the evacuation of central Birmingham rudely truncated our night out.
As we left, I did have an inkling what was really going on though. Twenty minutes earlier I had gone outside to make a phone call and witnessed a Bomb Squad truck with police escort hurtling up the Queensway.
On Thursday, the day London was hit by a long threatened terrorist attack, I had been hearing about all the reported ?suspect packages? in the West Midlands.
A rucksack converted for shoplifting, lined with tin foil and lead weights to fool store tag detectors, had caused Travel West Midlands? Wolverhampton depot to be evacuated.
Another false alarm on a bus in Coventry caused the central bus station and the ring road to be closed. Chaos ensued of course. I made a phone call to some colleagues working for our sister paper the Sunday Mercury. No surprise, it was another suspect package on a Corporation Street bus.
But why then, was Malmaison and the entire Mailbox complex being evacuated too?
We had plenty of time to speculate, the staff had no idea, there was no police in evidence to tell us why either. Indeed, as we milled about, 20 feet from the glass frontage of the Mailbox, it did strike us that if there really had been a bomb in there, this wasn?t exactly a great place to stand.
The crowd was good natured though. There was probably around 100 diners and guests of Malmaison, as well as staff and people from other bars and eateries - some with the wherewithal to evacuate their drinks along with themselves.
No one moaned, no one panicked. I don?t know if that?s testament to the great British spirit we have been hearing about and I don?t know if it was ignorant complacency.
What I can say is the people of Birmingham took it in their stride - remember this is the Mailbox crowd, men with Hoxton Fin haircuts and stupid jeans, women tripping up over the hems of their fashionable gypsy skirts.
If anyone was going to make a big flouncey panicky drama out of this, it was these guys.
Eventually, it was clear there was no point in hanging around.
We weren?t sure about the rest of the city centre and no one official ?evacuated? us further but we had simply had enough of waiting around.
Eventually, a kindly colleague from The Birmingham Post came and picked us up at Five Ways, where for the first time we saw the extant of the cars leaving the city centre.
The ring road was nose-to-tail with cars, some impotently and pointlessly peeping their horns. It was at this point we realised that the whole thing was a bigger deal than we first thought.
We got home and went to the pub, where the bar staff and punters appeared blissfully unaware of the drama unfolding a few miles down the road.
?The whole of town?s been evacuated?, I told the barman, who laughed and carried on pulling my pint.
?No seriously, it has.?
?Oh, I thought you were making a joke about how busy it is in here tonight.?
?Just give me the pint,? I thought contemptuously. Doesn?t he care?
Whether we like to admit it or not, whether we prefer to put it down to 60 years of bombings from Irish Republicans, Nazis and now, we presume, Islamic extremists or just an innate stiff upper lip, the fact of the matter is we have become inured to the pathetic and cowardly behaviour of terrorists.
It wasn?t our propensity to panic that caused the police to evacuate the entire city centre on Saturday night; it was the State?s fear of being seen to do the wrong thing in the current climate. Even when a real bomb went off on Smallbrook Queensway in 2001, they didn?t evacuate to that extent.
Until we find out what the threat was, we cannot criticise the response from the police, although the thousands left to wonder the streets without a clue what was happening is a black mark against their strategy.
A message to those responsible for the ?credible? Birmingham threat.
I may not have got to finish my black pudding and blackberry starter but the only real disruption to our night was my girlfriend?s aching feet, near mutilated by tottering about a mile in high-heels.
There will be other chances to sample what gourmet chefs can do with the humble black pudding, there?s nothing those craven insects can do about that.