Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Henry visits The Feathers

An occasional visitor to this blog, The Wee Hen, makes a visit to a pub that his father was a much more than occasional visitor to, The Feathers (arguably the greatest pub in Britiain). For proof of his underage shennanigans, he poses by the bike on the wall (You know, the pub with the bike on the wall)

The Absolut truth.

The Absolut trophy was inaugerated at some undetermined point in the mid 1990s.

Neither myself nor the other competitor, the old chum, former fellow student and global traveller and professional Bristolian, 'Ringer' can recall the exact details of it's birth. Last night we attempted to piece together some of the mythology surrounding this hallowed, yet empty, glass bottle.

We do seem to remember drinking much more vodka in those bygone days.
We do seem to remember playing an awful lot of Subbuteo, FIFA 97,babyfoot, pool and darts.
We do seem to remember that we brought out a bizarre competitive streak in each other, often to the bemusement of those around us.
We definitely remember that out of this daze of student life and the immediate aftermath grew the Absolut Trophy. An empty bottle of vodka that we fought over in competitive sport.

We fought over it back then.

We fight over it still.

In fact last night, 'Ringer' and his lovely wife and tiny daughter came to stay at Fritz Mansions, we ate, we drank and of course, we ushered the ladies into the parlour, we retreated to the games room, lit our cigars, poured the finest brandy and did battle.

The concept is simple. We are the only two who may compete for the Absolut trophy. It's a bit like the Boat race or the Ashes in that respect. The preferred field of combat is the subbuteo pitch but the challenger may choose any form of competition to try and gain the trophy. But really, it's about two grown men stooped over a table , flicking little plastic men about. Flicking little plastic men about in order to get the rights to keep hold of an empty bottle of vodka that we think we drank in 1994, possibly. The actual bottle now hardly features, the last time I saw it , it was on 'Ringer's bookshelf in Bath in 1998. He admitted last night that it's in his loft in Bangkok, in a box.

The whereabouts of the actual bottle is irrelevant, I managed to find a replacement for display purposes for last night.

The real issue is the honour.

Sadly, last night the honour went to Ringer (again).

The practise game went well enough, 0-0, a cagey start. Ringer was insistent upon the format of the competition (a practise game and then a two legged affair with no away goals ruling).

The first leg was also a tight game. 1-1. Going into the second leg, honours even with everything to play for. I could almost touch the glass.

The second leg. Cobblers. 6-1. A rout. A drubbing. A lesson in Subbuteo. Also perhaps a lesson in not drinking to excess if you are about to go out and play in a major sporting event.

My congratulations to Mr Ringer and his fans, the Absolut is yours, for the time being.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Manners and etiquette.

Upon leaving Chestnut Cottage, the gorgeous home of two of our dearest and most gorgeousable of gorgeous chums following a divine elevensies of freshly baked scones and homemade apple and damson jam with lashings of hot tea, Frau Random Doubt turned to me and asked...

..."Why did you have to hit Terry in the face with that stick and smash his glasses and cut his cheek?"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Summer, Wednesday, 23rd of July 2008.

It looked like summer.
It felt like summer!
It was summer!

I wonder what season tomorrow will bring?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Mondale

Summer Mondale begins at 3pm on Tuesday, July 22nd.

(with apologies to the original, Mr Listmaker)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Vote! Vote! Vote!

As I stumbled in late this evening following a night of dancing at the end of year school party, I slumped beside this old computer with a glass of wine and a happy, happy heart.
I noticed that Frau Random Doubt had been out to the library and as usual had returned with a wonderful selection of interesting and curious texts.

One of these was a selection of "Children's songs and games from Scotland".

In these troubled times it's lovely to think of the Wee Hen being taught songs and games on his mother's knee. 

This one in particular, made me smile.

"Vote, Vote, Vote for Mr Labour,
In come a Tory at the door.
take a poker and a knife, and chase him for his life,
And we won't see Mr Tory any more, shut the door!"

In these troubled times indeed.

Friday, July 11, 2008

For the love of all things English

I have recently had the pleasure of teaching a certain 11 year old lad who is the very essence of all things English. He never gives up, is a fierce competitor, He likes going abroad but isn't completely sure about foreigners, He follows his footy with that bizarrely English passion, Is a great advocate of fairness and doing the right thing. He's a cheeky monkey but also worshipped by the younger kids and praised by adults. He's Bobby Moore lifting the Jules Rimet trophy on a humid summer afternoon, He's Terry Butcher's shirt covered in blood, He's John Terry's tears. This lad is all that and more and I really wish him all the best in his new school, He'll never do too well academically but I know that he'll shine in other ways.

There is, however, a slight problem.

He doesn't like pastry.

He admitted this to me the other day. We were chatting about lunch, what we would be eating that day. I told him of my admiration for a certain local baker who made the most delicious sausage rolls.

"I don't like sausage rolls, I like sausages but not the roll bit. I hate pastry".

"What? You don't like pastry?"

"I hate the stuff, Ever since I was little".

In my mind this is almost a disqualification to being English. I have a nightmarish vision of being hauled up before some shadowy Whitehall committee to explain and justify why this lad should be allowed to remain in the country, I'd have to reason with the pastry politburo, I'd have to beg them to allow him to stay.

This is like a Frenchman not liking cheese or wine.

This is like a German not liking meat or the ensuing fart based humour.

In order to illustrate my point I should like to offer the jury two pictures of my breakfast. I should like to add that the following images could cause offence and that they merely represent my occasional weekend breakfast. I use the images to show the creative genius the English employ when working in the media of pastry.

This breakfast roll contains sausage, bacon, egg and baked beans all rolled together in a tender, loving caress of shortcrust pastry. Fresh from the bakers for less than three quid.

The end view shows a bit more detail, including a bean, nestled next to the various pork products in the interior.

I simply have to ask, Why would anybody not love this delicious morsel?