Thursday 6 February 2020



9.15: So I've spent the last week wrestling with a cold the size of the Andes, which has meant (among other things) that I've been drinking mostly tea and whisky on account of not being able to taste wine - no hardship, given the stuff I normally consume, in fact I feel slightly better overall for it, apart from the cold - and which, therefore, just about accounts for everything else. You all take care now and be sure to wrap up warm.

9.47: Oh well, yes, there is an ongoing situation looming in the wine rack, but I won't bore you with the details.

9.48: It concerns, if you must know, a bottle of Lambrusco which someone very kindly gave me for Christmas. I mentioned it. There is a problem with it, I won't go on about it, I don't want to be a drag, what with this cold and everything. Just that the PKs, PK and his glamorous missus, came over a couple of weeks back and I thought I'd get this stuff out to go with the sweets & cheeses course, it being, I thought at the time, a sweetish fizzy Lambrusco such that you could eat with sweetish things, which included persimmons as it happened, a fruit PK had never encountered before and made a huge fuss about trying for the first time. I'd even chilled the Lambrusco a bit, for laughs. Open it up, pour a couple of glasses, take a swig and it's dryish, not sweetish. I stare at the label and what do you know? Secco, right there on the label, right where I can see clearly it but have until now failed to. Have you any idea what this tastes like? I mean, it's bad enough sweetish, but dryish? It's like a boiled sweet dissolved in kerosene. It's so bad it ranks down there with the poison we concocted last year, the home-made stuff. I had to throw it away. I couldn't even use it for cooking. I don't want to think about it. I'm done, frankly.

2.33: No, that's it.


11.08: Except, as I said, there's this ongoing situation - there were two bottles of the Lambrusco to start with, now there's one. It's just sitting there. I don't know what to do with it. I hate having a bottle of wine sitting around being undrinkable. I've still got two of the home brews and I find it irksome beyond belief that they're there, waiting for me to have an idea of what to do with them, some crazed inspiration which I know will never come but the possibility of which haunts me. Maybe I should take a run at one of them now, while I've got this cold and can't taste anything? I could try that. But do I want to drink anything that badly? I'm not eighteen.

11.10: I mean, whoever heard of Lambrusco Secco?

11.16: Turns out, quite a few people. Deep, complex and savoury says one commentator; Refreshing and easy to drink says another; Great to pair with fennel-infused sausages says yet another.

11.25: Gorgeously purple crops up, too.

11. 48: Very well. As soon as this cold comes to an end, I'm going to have to man up and open the second bottle, apparently in company with some fennel-infused sausages or, failing that, some charcuterie or, failing that, some spicy Thai cuisine, which sounds dreadful however you approach it. What it adds up to, at any rate, is a precautionary side dish of something - anything - strongly-flavoured, to cope with the horrible guff coming off the Lambrusco. I can't wait.

2.07: So how come PK wasn't onto this when we tried the stuff a couple of weeks back? He's supposed to be the expert. He's always going on about Super Tuscans and for all I know a Lambrusco could be a Super Tuscan, I mean, come on, it's not a million miles away. All right, it is in principle, but you take my point.

2.10: I think the cold's come back.


9.55: It's definitely back. At least, it hasn't gone away.

9. 59: I think I'm giving up wine altogether.

10.03: Unless it's coronavirus, of course.

10.05: Lemsip. Lemsip and whisky, alternating. I could see that. I could see that for the rest of the year, to be honest. Lambrusco Secco! I just don't need the aggravation.



  1. Are you of an age to remember Collis Brown’s linctus? It was available over the counter in the 1970s, and had a lot of opiates in it. A judicious dollop added to a glass of Blue Nun created a poor man’s laudanum. Would have made a perfect combo to fight off that wretched cold. Then again, OD’ing on cheap Liebfraumilch is no way to go...

  2. I was still relatively young when the stuff was freely available, but my Ma swore by it as a remedy for all ailments. I think she may even have carried a bottle around with her in her handbag...


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