Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Joyless decanting

George did precisely what I would have done with the bag of seafood I dropped upon his door: a punnet of outrageously fresh crabmeat, a bag of langoustine tails, a vac-pack of peat smoked scallops and three quarters of a Stornoway pudding. He was making a risotto anyway, so decided to make it into the best seafood risotto I’ve tasted. The hollow little tubes of crabmeat blended completely into the creamy rice and stock, flavouring it with the sea. The tails were tossed in at the end along with some butter and it was seriously tasty. He finished it off with a cheeky little treacle tart with clotted cream which was disgusting in its morishness.
It was a good way to break back into mainland life. But also one that saw me face the hardest night of abstention thus far: watching my friend and drinking partner of ten years decant and then drink over a hundred pounds’ worth of vintage port. It was a choice between that and a 1997 Pomerol, although we would have had both had I been in the game. I sat there in mild euphoria quietly embracing a feeling of utter, bone-headed stupidity for being so fanatical in my pursuit. Resisting the urge to reach out for the glass is easy compared to coping with that feeling, which has stayed with me since and has rocked my senseless stance at the core.
So it was good, in this way, to be back amongst the safety routine of Home last night, throwing a big pan of student pasta together and getting especially ripped on my remaining stash. And I am now about to throw myself right back into the deep end with a three day trip to the land of the fondue, washed down with litres of cheap white wine and finished off with grappa; of the argentine steaks and infinite butter&garlic sauce cleaned up by kilos of lightly chilled Gamay from the fields behind; of the best penne ever sold, with gallons of slightly fizzy vino rosso. All the potential is there to exhume a period of life spent mainly in a horrific state of drunkenness or blacked out, leading ultimately to my near deportation and the hospitalization of an elderly woman. I will also doubtless want to resuscitate my daily soft-pack of Marlboro for a quid fifty a pop, and marvel at the ease of walking in to a shop to buy, from time to time, a bag of my favourite grass. Or put a few loose coins to good use in a DVD cabin. Why can’t we do it like the Swiss?

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