I thought "he could not eat at her place" would be:
"he konnte nicht bei ihr essen"?
and present tense is "er kann nicht ....."
I thought past tense of "können" is "konnte"
so where does "könne" fit in ??
'could' can express past tense or the subjunctive. It's the latter meaning that's used here. But 'er konnte nicht' is also correct.
Danke schoen fur die Erklaerung wataya!
my head is spinning! So now this is Konjunktiv I ?
"Bei" can't mean "with" in this case? As in "he could not eat with her."
No, that would be 'Er könne nicht mit ihr essen'