Sunday, December 23, 2007

rabbit and gammon suet pudding

GREAT news! I now have the keys to the executive washroom, just like Jack Lemmon in that brilliant comedy the Apartment. What I will have to pay for this privilege I am still waiting to learn.
On Tuesday the long wait came to an end with a phone call from the Boss who, after alerting me to the fact we all had free invites to the opening of a new Vodka bar in Cardiff, slipped into the conversation that my application to become an Executive Editor in the new-fangled Meeja Wales operation had been successful. Wooppee!
Immediately I was informed by Roberts that my membership of Boozeday Tuesday would be torn up and I was no longer welcome at Wednesday Club. "You'll be hobnobbing with the gentry from now on," he inferred sniffily.
But like those entirely honest lottery winners who appear on the news every week I can declare here and now that my new lofty status "won't change me a bit" (Just put a bit more black dubbin on those shoes, so that I can see my face in it, please, Shutts).

Tuesday night in the Yard with Wren, the Prince, Roberts, Withers, Danny Boy (the poipes, the poipes), Smashy and Nicey and the news is filtering through about who got which jobs. Nicey informed me that my recollections of Friday night's Echo party ommitted the fact that I had rolled my trouser legs up to my knees and performed a perfectly reasonable impression of Angus Young out of ACDC in Highway to Hell. Apparently there are pictures. No doubt they will turn up in the tabloids thanks to some kiss n tell merchant jealous of my new elevation to Godlike status. For the moment I am denying all knowledge while desperately trying to obtain the incriminating material.
Tuesday was a good night as the election results filtered through. Nicey is Head of Content, Martin Wells head of production and the Greek, as expected, will lead the way in sport with Blanchy as his deputy and Smashy as one of his assistants. Congrats all.
Long after I was tucked up in my bed I understand the Poipes came up with the worst chat up line of all time (bearing in mind, of course, that he had no intention of it being successful, or so he assures me). When introduced in the Buffalo Bar to a girl from Blackwood in Gwent, his alcohol confused brain somehow persuaded him to ask: "Do they have sandwiches there?" Strange is not the word.

Thursday night was about the third official goodbye to the Fab BB. I get the feeling the Wonderful Withers of WoS is already trying to give me the slip on the basis that he cannot be seen to be consorting with management. When I arrived at the Yard the place was packed but of the WoS crew there was no sign. In dire need of a drink I texted Withers. "Where are you guys?" I asked.
The answer came back. "Champneys."
I'd never heard of it but remembered someone had once mentioned a secluded bar at the top of St Mary's Street.
Having walked the entire length and found nothing vaguely resembling Champneys, I questioned the Wonderful One again.
"It's just before you get to Mill Lane on the left hand side," he told me.
Ah, Champers, he means. As opposed to Champneys, which I understand is some luxury retreat where people go to lie around in mudbaths and generally spoil themselves. Tw*t.
There is a good turn out and though the San Miguel comes in at £3.60 a pint at least there are quite a few spare seats. Eventually we all drift on to the new Vodka Bar, called Revolution and situated near Dempseys opposite Cardiff Castle.

What a brilliant night. I've now discovered the best bloody mary in Cardiff, made with pepper vodka, tomato juice, tabasco and Worcester Sauce. "Where's the celery? They give you celery in New Orleans?" I explained to the extremely patient barmaid.
"Just coming sir," she said and next minute there it was, a stick of leafy brilliance poking out from a magnificent cocktail. Curry in a glass. I had a couple more, too.
The place was rammed and there were a few famous faces around. Roberts introduced me to former Wales international rugby player Neil Jenkins. The last time we'd met I presented him with an award. It was many moons ago, back in the days when I had hair. No wonder he smiled faintly and pretended he knew who I was when he obviously hadn't a clue.
Meanwhile, Mad Liz turned up to brighten up the night. First she danced insanely to every sound that came on... then she took a liking to the stags heads adorning the wall. At one stage she was politely told to return one as she smooched lovingly with it around the room.
This led to the invention of a new dance. I don't suppose it has quite the Street Cred of Souljah Boy, but the running stag soon caught on with our lot. It involved putting a curled finger either side of your head and charging towards each other making strange mooing noises. I didn't know stags moo'd but you learn something moo every day. Boom, boom.
At the end it all got a bit emotional. Baker Boy and Catherine Mary, who have had a few disagreements in the past, made friends again while I paid tribute to the Fab One and all he has done for the great ship WoS. I'm sure he will be a great asset to the Peeps. We will miss him greatly.
By this stage I had stripped off my fave shirt, although to be fair I did have on a T shirt underneath. Sadly when I climbed into a taxi just after one in the morning, the shirt was still nestled comfily on a couch in Revolution. At least I went home with my baseball cap and have an excuse to return to the bar again some time.

Friday morning bought the hangover from hell, but I had plenty of things to do. Bas is now fixed, thank God, and I had some last minute shopping to do before setting off for the South East on Saturday.
Opting for an early night my sleep was pretty intermittent, not helped by a congratulatory text from Ballsy at four in the morning! Of course, you can't tell how much people have had to drink when they send a text but the clue was in the timing. I guess if she was saying it, the words would be something like: "M'out wiv Lau..uh Evns and sheesh told me yer've got the job. Sh'brillliant mate." Thanks for the kind words... no matter the time they arrived, Ballsy.

The drive up to Lavernham (a good 250-mile trip) went as well as could be expected though I was still feeling a bit dozy.
I arrived at Wren's mum's at around 3.30pm and after a bit of a chin wag and a lovely cup of t we then spent a romantic evening at the Black Lion in Long Melford, a lovely little hotel which also boasts the best restaurant in Suffolk (not my words but those of the East Anglian Daily Times).
There were a few teething probs, like the heating in our room didn't work, but the dinner was excellent. Wren enjoyed a terrine of Partridge and Hare in an apple cider jelly followed by a whole Sea Bass, while I experimented with Cod and Leek fishcakes followed up by a Suet Pudding containing rabbit and Gammon. These were all served with seasonal vegetables and were lush.
The following morning there was another hiccup. No hot water. But the very friendly staff explained there was a plumbing problem that they were having to sort out and that we could use another room if we needed to shower. Their customer service could certainly teach Cheltenham's stuck-up Hotel Du Vin a thing or to.
There was a lovely cooked breakfast, with Long Melford sausages to die for, and on top of it all a £20 discount for any trouble we had encountered. A lovely Christmas treat.
After writing this blog it's off to Southend, where the Vin Man is currently enjoying his fifth birthday party and the Big Boy has probably eaten all his cake. Merry Xmas to all my readers...

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