Monday, September 24, 2007

A Very Important Discovery

As William and I were returning from Liverpool to Munich, we were cordially invited to stay at my mate Dave's place in London on the way.

I wasn't quite sure how long it would take and what time in the evening we would arrive, etc. so Dave decided to wait till we got there and do a fry up - sausages, beefburgers, bacon and general sort of breakfasty stuff.

As it turned out, this was just as well, since at around 4.30 pm, just after the M5 leaves the M6 there was sound from the back of Buzzy (my bus) as if we were suddenly dragging along 25 sets of aluminium pots and pans behind us. I was kind of hoping that it was being caused by "someone else's" car but after we had been flashed by various motorists and waved at by people passing in the right-hand lane and who pointed to the back of the bus and mouthed "e-x-h-a-u-s-t!", we pulled over to find the exhaust pipe dangling precariously from Buzzy's underside.

So we did all the usual things; phoned the AA, waited as 1000s of cars and huge trucks whooshed past us and SMSed everyone who might wish to know about our predicament. The AA guy who finally came after 2 hours didn't seem that keen on doing too much and he said, " you should be all roit, moite (this was Birmingham) ... I'll droive along a few miles with you and if it's ok you can just drive on and have it fixed when you get home.

So we drove a few miles and it was ok, so he buggered off and we drove on to London.

By this time I was feeling pretty keen on a drink ...I mean, a DRINK ... but when we got to Dave's he was well into cooking his fry up and I have always thought that the only drink that goes with breakfast type food is tea.

Now, we had seen a TV prog in Liverpool in which some patronising bloke who has a restaurant and knows about wine drives around France with another bloke, who seems to be very "one-of-the-lads" and tries to show him what wine goes with what food and gets extremely frustrated by his companion's plebby "I'd-rather-have-a-pint" attitude. However, during the episode we saw, PlebMan has some sort of epiphany and starts to appreciate the philosophy of certain wines going with certain foods. This culminated in the two of them cooking spam and beans on a camp fire for a very smart (and extremely disappointed looking) French wine expert madame who had got all dressed up expecting to go to some flash restaurant.
PlebMan, however, succeeded, thanks to PatronisingGit's training, in choosing a wine which brought out the best of his spam fritters and Heinz beans.

"Codswallop", I had said to William.

Anyhow, there we were in London, snaffling sausages and so on, with Daddies brown sauce - and Dave poured out a Merlot. I tried it and ... gaw blimey, if it didn't just go perfectly!

This, though, is A Very Important Discovery as I finally now know after all these years what wine to drink with breakfast!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wake Up and Smell the Carpets

You know that feeling when you do something you have done 1000s of times in a place you have been to 1000s of times and something is not quite right but you just can't put your finger on it?

You do?


I went to the Nag's Head in Thornton, where I have been 1000s of times stretching back to when it was a real, uncomfortable spit'n'sawdust country pub and through various transmigrations of its soul to the present fully-carpeted, flatscreen-barnacled food&family pub, and went up to the bar to order a pint which I have done 1000s of times.

I took my pint over to a table and sat down on the round stool. The table looked...different... but why?

I raised my glass and quaffed my first two-fingers of beer and as I sighed that beer-lovers sigh, I looked across the pub. The light looked... different... but WHY?

I set down my glass with a puzzled frown on my face. I breathed in through my nose, a deep breath to help my ponderings... and I SMELT THE CARPET!

Never before have I smelt a carpet in a pub - never, ever.

Table/light/smell... what the...?

Some punters got up and went outside in a huddle. Soon I could see smoke rising; cigarette smoke...

The table - no stinky ashtray, the light - not grey and foggy, the smell - not hundred year-old ciggy smoke...

The BAN, the smoking ban in pubs in England which came in on 01.07.07... oh yes... oh YES!!

OH YES!!!!!!!