Thursday 9 January 2020


Five silver baubles got left behind in the great re-packing of all the Christmas decorations. Leave them out as a kind of vanitas vanitatum or dig out the bauble box all over again and re-pack as a penance?

A bottle of Magdalenenkreuz Riesling Kabinett which a pal of mine brought over from Germany (along with a bottle of Schnapps of deep and awful persistence) a while ago - now I've had time to neck it, how do I feel? More positive than ambivalent, in a spirit of Yule reconciliation, not a million miles from the way I felt about that mead a month or so back. Floral, fragrant, nicely-framed sweetnesses, apple sensations, leaves your teeth feeling as if they've been coated in flock. Would I want to drink it again? Maybe with duck?

Turkey soup is more consoling than one might imagine. My Brother-in-Law would claim that this is because, like chicken soup, it contains phytonutrients and glucosamine, both helpful in the prevention of colds and flu. He's the retired head of the international currencies department of a big chemicals company. Everyone's an expert, these days.

Only ever use Port in cooking.

Someone kindly gave me a small case of even smaller bottles of Merlot and Durif, assorted, enough in each bottle for one big glassful but no more. Were they trying to tell me something? What were they trying to tell me? Why would I even think they were trying?

Which famous playwright was afraid of Christmas? Noël Coward.

I got some socks. I actually wanted socks.

Sprouts and coriander are not a good mix. I only threw the coriander in because it was about to go off. We experienced repercussions all the way down the M4 on Boxing Day. Then again, I can't blame that wholly on the coriander. The Services at Magor, Monmouthshire, seem to have improved.

I was also given a mixed case of Italian reds by my Pa-in-Law, who, on his own account, drinks nothing but a furious kind of Primitivo, weighing in at 14% if not more, stuff you can use as a general anaesthetic if needs be and what with one thing and another it can be hard to get anything in his part of South West Wales, so a bottle of this and your appendix is as good as out. I mean, that's how he rolls. Among the mixed reds I notice a couple of Lambruscos. Thirty years ago they used to market this with a nylon Fun Bug attached to the neck - Lambrusco, according to the rationale of the time, being the sort of drink to appeal to young women out on a Hen Night and in need of a Fun Bug or equivalent. Am I ready for Lambrusco now, in 2020, at my age? I want to pair it, conceptually, with the Riesling, a sweetish drink I might have drunk back then but view with some apprehension now. On the other hand, it has got a nice cork/safety string arrangement at the top, plus strong violets according to the blurb on the back, which makes it a bit toney and therefore probably okay. And only 11%! I can take down a microbottle of Durif as aperitif, work through a whole Lambrusco while eating supper before, at last, winding down with a Schnapps or two, only to be found later in a confused state wandering the Hangar Lane gyratory system, claiming to be Oliver Reed.

Mince Pies actually help you lose weight.

I failed to get any dessert wine this year, a semi-intended omission on my part. I mean, I like a Beaumes de Venise, but these days not enough to want to drink it. Would the Lambrusco have done, if I'd actually got it on Christmas Day, to go with the pudding?

I found a very small, crap, artificial Christmas tree laced with battery-powered multi-function twinkling lights, in a bin-liner at the back of a cupboard. It became my tree. I'd keep it out all year, if I thought I could get away with it.


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