The latest Polish beer donated to Sloggers’ Roost by my Polish co-workers is brewed at 5.9%. The Polish for brewed is ‘warzone’. Once one knows this, everything else falls into place. In my limited experience to date, Polish festivities can quickly turn into hostilities and then fatalities once the beer-vodka chasing starts in earnest.
I’m happy to say that neither of my girls are big drinkers, and my son-in-law’s been on the wagon forever: so Christmas day here required just one bottle of warzone beer to get me in the mood. My younger daughter lives in Oz and has followed her Dad into the communications business – hence her turning latterly into something of a red wine buff. The only way one can be effective when communicating in the commerce space is to know the wine lists in the best restaurants comprehensively, as nothing gets done without those two elements. But today she drank a glass of 2012 Medoc while I went for some young Chateauneuf du Pape. Both bottles were vacuvinned after lunch and remain two-thirds full.
The main drama of the day was a fire in the oven, caused by slovenly Italian design, as dripping from the Capon leaked onto the base and into the gas flame below. Whereas The Slog’s reaction was very Basil Fawlty and f-f-f-f-f-f-fire! fire!, my elder daughter is ice-cold under such circumstances, and immediately soaked a dishcloth before snuffing out the flames with it. Despite all that nonsense, the bird was cooked to near-perfection, and the stuffing was historic.
Once again, Poland gets 11/10 for the stuffing. It was a farm-made pork mince base with spices, to which I added chopped onions, garlic, chestnuts, cherries, breadcrumbs and two whisked eggs as binding. There’s tons left over, but only because the Capon meat was sooooo good. One of the unsung winners when cooking chick is to rub the skin all over with a mixture of good quality olive oil, sea-salt and Colmans powdered English mustard. It never fails. But quality (pronounced by footballers “quali-eee”) fowl is well worth the 25% premium one must pay here in France. No water comes out of such birds at all – just clear fat from an A1 diet. This confuses Italian ovens, and so they immolate in protest.
We were going to go on to apple and damson pie from the gardens of Sloggers’ Roost, but somehow the flesh was weak. I went off to snore loudly in the den while others fiddled with phones, laptops, androids, televisions and Ipads. It was 6.30 pm by the time I surfaced, just in time to catch Tom Hanks in the 45th repeat of Big. In terms of broadcast telly, that was as good as it got. Granddaughter Lyla said her last “Uh-ooh” at 7.15 pm. My younger daughter (she still being on Queensland time) zonked into a coma around 8pm. It was the ultimate depraved rock n roll Christmas.
But beyond the confines of roasting capons, Britain was set to plumb the depths of yet more organisational chaos and incompetence. Hundreds of thousands of travellers will face chaos as every single main route on Britain’s railways is closed on Boxing Day. While in Opposition, the Conservatives slammed New Labour for this total shutdown. Now the Ed Miller Band is slamming the Coalition for the same thing. And so, with all doors slammed, there are still no services. As ever, 100% propaganda, 0% solution.
And there’s more: Brits are warned that a ferocious winter onslaught is imminent: the so called ‘Boxing Day bomb’ will see gale-force winds and heavy snow pummel vast swathes of Britain. It promises a perfect storm of severe weather, people travelling to visit friends relatives and bargain hunters taking advantage of the sales to add to the chaos on the roads….thanks to a closed rail service.
A winter of discontent may not be what we want, but it could well be what we need. There is many a slip between Tory lip, Labour cup, and UKip.