Monday, 27 December 2010

A Big Yule Blog

Christmas is a time for giving, for reflecting on the year and for bringing people closer together. Not for me though - The Yuletide tends to be a period of booze, remorse, gambling, frustration and loneliness. Don't feel bad for me - I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday 23rd December;
This was an occasion to go round to my mate Limburn and Genie's house for dinner and she had even gone as far as to ask me what I would like to eat and I had suggested a lovely roast dinner as she really does do fantastic ones. Sadly however she had gone out on the 22nd and got properly leathered, spent the day in bed and he called me at 5pm to say would it be all right if he took me out for a curry instead? I have absolutely no problem with people taking me out for dinner, male or female and he met me in Bar 85 across the road for our restaurant of choice, Paprika. The only woman in Bar 85 was the barmaid Ami, who also works in the hair salon "Dubhe" where I get my hair cut 50% of the time. She is Lesbian at the moment but there are a few of us trying to talk her out of it as she is really quite gorgeous. We had a couple of pints of Guinness, before transferring to Molly Malones as we weren't really hungry yet. Someone always walks up to me in Molly Malones and says something odd to me. On this occasion though we just sat there and had a couple more pints of Guinness and listened to some quite attrocious turns on their desperate open mic night. Finally we were angry enough for curry so nipped back over the road to Paprika. I've never been there before. It was ace. We got a decent array of dishes, rice, naan etc and a couple of pints of Cobra lager for well under forty quid. I bumped into Stewart Dinsey (lead guitarist with legendary local band "Eastside Jimmy") who was really drunk. It was his birthday and he was out with his ridiculously fit wife. A more evil Paulyb may have tried to separate them in a past life but the ghost of Christmas present was very definitely in the room and we all had a thoroughly nice time. Obviously we paid up and went back to Molly's, working on the basis that it was on the way to the station (for me),two minutes from home (for Limburn) and no-one had said anything odd to me yet. I needn't have worried. This time round a Welsh bloke with whom I am barely acquainted kindly came over to tell me a joke to "use in your act", Trotsky the landlord approached with a series of bizarre quips that made no sense whatsoever and a girlfriend form around fifteen years ago who appears to have gone through a number of addictions and breakdowns came over to tell me I was mad. Limburn's eyes were starting to narrow, I was full of beer and the wish to wrap that f***ing folk singer's guitar round his f***ing neck was overwhelming so we said our goodbyes and I made the short walk to the station on the understanding that I could take the midnight train to Letchworth and walk from there (Well there isn't one to Georgia from Hitchin). The noticeboard said the next train was not until 00.39am so I grumpily walked towards the taxi rank. As I got in to a cab and resignedly said "Letchworth please", the midnight train showed up and then departed before I could jump out again. Curses.

"Molly Malones", Hitchin. The pub of the bizarre.
Friday 24th December (Christmas Eve)
A quirky little tradition in my sister-in-law's family has led to me joining them each year on Christmas Eve for a full Turkey dinner with all the trimmings. She's an excellent cook and it really is no chore. A couple of things to take note of though. My eleven year old niece has a homosexual school teacher and during our prawn cocktail starter she unleashed an unexpected homophobic tirade against said teacher that left myself, my mum and my dad speechless. I don't believe for one second she believed what she was saying and suspect she has been a victim of peer pressure at school but it was nevertheless vicious in its intent and a major surprise. Fortunately my eight year old nephew was there to come to our aid and after she had finished her diatribe he put down his knife and fork and said the following:

"Well maybe he's just the wife in the partnership".

...Before promptly going back to his parsnips. The atmosphere was removed, the niece chastened and the dinner the success it should always have been. I left about 8pm, came back to the flat and got myself a little present in the shape of online car tax, before heading to La Concha (ironically by the station I never got to the night before).

"La Concha" - fine wines and tapas attached to Letchworth Garden City Railway station. They have Burger king attached to Welwyn Garden City Railway Station. 1-0 Letchworth.
They had a duo on who were brilliant and specialised in 60s Kinks & Beatles classics. They also had a bloke in there who was eventually thrown out for "goose-ing" various women (that he didn't know) at intervals that were not long enough for him to avoid both detection and eventual eviction. The police were called and he was arrested after shouting at them for insulting police officers and not for the rather more serious charge of "common sexual assault" which I think they were going to let him off with in "The spirit of Christmas". I was in the company (first) of old friend Terry Cox and his current squeeze, (second) my friends Sulu and G (And her parents from Raddang*) and finally Pete (the owner), his daughter Sammie and a couple of bar staff. We saw Christmas in and hit the cognacs until we couldn't focus any more and I wandered home through the snow. It was bitterly cold.

Saturday 25th December (Christmas Day)
I'll keep this brief. Lunch at the folk's (Lamb - terrific) an afternoon/evening of telly and then a listen to The Ashes which is approaching its climax. We bowled the Aussies out for 98. BONZA!

Sunday 26th December (Boxing Day)
I woke up late, ate spaghetti, nipped over to my friend Jo's (The chicken lady - she had given me a jar of pickled eggs for Christmas and I wanted to thank her) and headed over to Steve's pub for promised goose sandwiches and the usual boozy over-indulgence. I've never had goose before (bizarrely for someone so interested in traditional British fare) and by the end of the night I still hadn't. I had however enjoyed an excellent ale called "Rudolph" that has similar magical properties to the mythical red nosed reindeer, two sorts of Baileys, Guinness, a huge argument with Steve and his young Rugby-playing Padowan who skilfully came at me from two different angles so I had to fend them off as if defending a two-pronged attack (They were both wrong of course on the subject of English sport), a variety of Tesco's "Finest" oriental snacks and half the English innings of 444 - 5 (At close) combating the Australians pathetic sub-ton from the night before. Lisa (Steve's other half - her words, not mine) revealed that she had a large amount of goose in the fridge for me, wrapped up in silver foil. As I write this blog, I am enjoying goose & mayo toasted sandwiches and they are lush. Finally, I've never been very good at festive best wishes but I can go as far as to say I hope you got what you deserved the Christmas.

*"Raddang" is how the locals pronounce the town of"Reading" in Berkshire. They don't believe they do but get them on the subject of marriage and at least one of them will eventually tell you about a "Waddang" they once went to.

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