Saturday, May 31, 2008

Meatball sub

DANNY Boy (the poipes, the poipes) fancies himself to be in the know when it comes to the latest gossip. So he was being particularly mischievous this week when he claimed to have spotted a naughty liaision in the street.
As the Wonderful Withers of (Meeja) Wales past his desk he announced: "You have to be nice to me Withers. I possess information that you will need to know."
Eventually after the teasing, he handed over his scurrilous revelation. "I saw the Prince of Darkness on the way to lunch with a young lady!" he offered.
Only later did the Prince explain the true situation. "It was my daughter. We were going for lunch."
When the news was revealed to the Poipes later he was just a little bit sheepish.

Just a message for Tambrosian. Thanks for your comments on the blog the other day. I don't know if I am related to Lord Repington but my name apparently derives from that. You weren't the bloke with the golf club preparing to chase me off the premises, perchance?

Meanwhile, back on WoS today I enjoyed a meatball sub from Subways for dinner with all the trimmings. Yummy.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Corned beef and Wensleydale sandwich

NEWS reaches me of one particular Cardiff City supporter who wasn't quite as well behaved as his brethren who made the trip to Wembley. My source was sitting in the first-class compartment on a train waiting at Paddington for the journey home. A fellow passenger entered the carriage and was heard talking on his mobile phone. "No, I think he may have been kicked off the station. I think he was going to be arrested," was the gist of the conversation.
Ten minutes later a staggering figure burst into the compartment and fell down in the seat next to the phone user. It was none other than Coggsy, taking his seat next to his father, the renowned journalist Peter Corrigan.
In true Father Jack manner he then proceeded to demand: "Driiiink!!"
His father had to turn to him and explain, in words of no more than two syllabus, that no, Coggsy would not be allowed to have a drinky on the train as it had no bar and was, in fact, alcohol free.
It later emerged than Coggsy, stumbling on to the platform and swigging from a bottle of brandy, was stopped by transport police as he made to board the train.
"I'm sorry sir, I am afraid you can't take that with you," said the policeman, indicating the brandy bottle.
"Ok," said Coggsy, and then attempted to guzzle the lot in front of the bemused plod. At this moment a bit of grappling broke out and eventually the award-winning columnist was forced to admit defeat.
Rather than have to put up with this slobbering example of the human race, the Met boys decided they had better put him on the train, though, and send him back to Wales before they were faced with even more earache. I suppose you could say he was deported from England.
Rest assured, though, he'll be back.

This week I have been pretty busy at Meeja Wales editing the Western Mail, a job I never thought I would see.
Even so it's been quite a fun week and I have needed a few beers afterwards, particularly with the Prince of Darkness taking time off to replace his blood with pure vodka.
Withers and I bumped into a real odd fish last night, a rather scary lesbian scriptwriter. Fortunately we lost her when Withers went and hid around the corner on the pretext of watching Wales play Iceland at football. No one in their right mind would swallow the fact that someone would actually choose to do that, and she certainly didn't view it an attractive proposition. I will have to use similar excuses in future.
On arrival at home I made use of some bargain corned beef I bought from Sainsbury's the other day. With a nice bit of flaky Wensleydale (My God I am starting to sound like Wallis of Wallis and Gromit fame) and some pickle it was really quite tasty.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Repington dynasty

DID I tell you about my family seat? I am sure I did. I learnt about it when I bought a scroll mapping the course of the family name - Rippington - when Wren and I visited Portsmouth last year. Anyway, having a hard-earned week off, we decided to go on a road trip which would take in a visit to the Fat Kid and Wren's mum, plus a trip to the area in the Midlands to track down a mansion house synonymous with the family name.
The previous evening we drove from Lavenham in Suffolk to the Honily Court Hotel outside Warwick where we took advantage of a Sunday Times offer in which we were given a free hotel room in exchange for paying for two meals in the restaurant. It turned out a complete bargain, particularly as the rump steak with peppercorn sauce and a sharing platter to start was well worth it.
The next morning we went into Warwick where Wren devoured a farmhouse breakfast in preparation for our trip to Amington, a small suburb of Tamworth, where Amington Hall (the Repington family seat) was supposed to exist.
After driving around for ages in search of the house we came to a halt outside Repington Road (North) - surely a clue. Opposite the street was the parish church and when I entered the churchyard I asked a couple of helpful ladies where we might find the hall. "Oh, I think it's been turned into flats," said one of them.
When I explained my name and the reason I was visiting, however, there was a completely different response. "Oh, yes, you mean Repington Hall. We know all about Lord Repington - he built this church, you know. Our organist has written a book and has loads of stuff about his family history."
Not content with that she decided to ring him. And before long the historian in question, Michael Ackroyd, turned up to give us a tour of the church. There was even a stained glass window dedicated to his lordship and outside the grave of one of the Repington clan was still visible beneath a covering of moss.
Michael was delighted to impart his knowledge of what seemed to have been a lifetime's work and invited us back to his gaslit cottage in the village. Walking into the front room it was immediately apparent that his research had become his life. There were giant portraits on the walls, books written by Charles Repington, a war journalist, in the bookcases and hundreds of papers and documents that he had received from Charles' illegitimate daughter. It was quite a strange experience hearing this man waxing lyrical about someone who, quite feasibly, was one of my ancestors.
From there he gave us directions to the house and after driving through a village called Shuttington (interesting to see the Rippington's have always lorded it over the Shutts' of this world) we arrived at a narrow country lane. Driving down we eventually arrived on a small estate where one of the residents was unloading his golf clubs from the car with his wife waiting on the doorstep. The big house itself seemed crumbly but historic and I couldn't resist taking a picture out of the window of the car. The golfer, though, didn't seem too impressed. I got the idea he was mentally storing my registration number in case I was casing the joint. I felt like getting out and saying "get orf my land", but I don't think he would have appreciated it, particularly as he was armed with a driver and a nine iron.
So we quickly shot off down the lane and headed north for our exclusive press break at a magnificent stately home called Thoresby Hall in Nottinghamshire, complete with a spa, great food and entertainment.
When we finally got there after losing our way a few times trying to avoid the log jams on the M1 we found ourselves deep in Sherwood Forest, gazing up at a huge manor. After checking in we had dinner in the Bistro then moved on to the bar where we enjoyed the entertainment provided by Jeepster, a T Rex cover band who also dabbled in other popular 70s songs from groups like the Bay City Rollers, Mud and the Sweet. A great laugh, and there was plenty of people watching to be done with the future bride on a hen party taking to the floor dressed as Tina Turner and a couple who danced as if they were appearing on Strictly Come Dancing.
An interesting point about the Warner Leisure Hotel. It is completely children free. In fact, they're barred. So even though it has the feel of a holiday camp, all the fun is adults only. You imagine there might be a child catcher like the long-nosed geezer out of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang lurking somewhere in the shadows. Heaven.
The following day we took advantage of the Spa with a swim and a massage. Wren was particularly enjoying the chance to spoil herself, having a 40 minute manicure session and returning with pink nails.
That night we were treated to Mercury, a Queen tribute band who, although I am no great fan of that band, did a brilliant job in entertaining a lively audience. They had all turned Radio GaGa by the time it was over.
On Sunday Wren decided she couldn't return from a week's holiday without some evidence of her time away, so opted for a full body spray tan. How she will convince everyone at work that we had tropical weather just 20 minutes drive from Doncaster I'm not sure.
Oh and the most enjoyable part of the weekend? Sitting in the bar in my Bristol Rovers retro shirt watching Dean Windass score the goal that foiled that other Bristol team's chances of going into the Premiership. As the Barclaycard advert would say: Priceless.
On the way back to Cardiff I tried some scales at a local service station. Aaargh! After all the good eating and drinking of the week I reckon I've gained four pounds. Time for some exercise and a starvation diet, I reckon.
Anyway, to cut a long story from being too long, here are the other highlights of the week:
* A trip to see the fat kid, the vin monster and big boy in Southend. I treated them all to a bargain bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. That evening Wren and I saw the film Disturbia, which we thoroughly enjoyed. I've worked it out that while the Fat Kid has a flat screen tv, super duper Renault Clio and state-of-the-art washing machine (all of which I have helped to finance) I am living like a pauper in comparison (shurely, shum, mishtake)
* Tuesday and Wednesday: All the fun of the fair at Lavenham. Believe it or not, sitting in the beer garden of the local pub I managed to turn a gentle shade of red. On Wednesday night Wren and I watched Chelsea - the difference being she saw the flower show highlights on TV with her mum and I saw the Premier League giants being pipped to European glory by the mighty Manchester United in a nerve-tingling penalty shootout. After van der Saar saved the final penalty Smashy sent me a text explaining that he had just kissed the Prince of Darkness. What has been going on since I went away?

Monday, May 19, 2008

tuna fish curry

I HAVE always been a great defender of the tabloid press. Whenever a lurid story has appeared in the papers about some kind of celeb or other and they have reacted with cries of "lies" I have always been firmly in the press camp, as it were. Now I find myself on the other side of the fence - a victim of scurrilous rumours with no basis in fact.
Let me explain. On Wednesday I had two missed calls from Rosey on my phone. Being a busy working executive at Meeja Wales I ignored them for a while, then when my curiosity finally got the better of me I gave him a bell.
"Have you got married?" he asked disbelievingly.
My God, the bloke only saw me two weeks ago. Even by my standards that would have been quick work.
"No, of course not. Where did you hear that?"
"It was all the talk at the Football Writers Association Player of the Year awards in London last night."
You would think those people had a few better rumours to discuss: Like will Ronaldo leave Manchester United for Spain? Or will Avram Grant be sacked as manager of Chelsea?
Apparently not.
I asked him who had come up with this tasty morsel of gossip. "Scott Wilson of the Sunday Express told me."
Must be true then cos Scotty, AKA Kramer because his mannerisms always remind me of the character out of Seinfeld, is one of Fleet Street's finest - sports editor of that esteemed journal, no less.
Next thing I know the phone is ringing and Kramer is, way hey, on the line. "I hear congratulations are in order," he says. "Yeah, well you hear wrong. I don't imagine you are going to reveal your source."
"Yeh, it was that bloke who used to work with you on the Sunday Mirror. Rob someone."
Aah. The famous Rob Bowden, who I haven't spoken to since he spent the night at my flat the night before his beloved Millwall played in the FA Cup final against Manchester United in Cardiff. Obviously his stock as a hack with the London media has risen dramatically because of stunning exclusives such as these. I understand he is now Deputy Sports Editor of the News of the World.
In true A-list style I think it is time I throw a strop and declare: "Reports of my marriage are greatly exaggerated."

FINALLY. After five months of hard labour I have been given a week's parole for good behaviour and Wren and I are shooting off on another world tour. Well, more accurately, we are going to see the Fat Kid, Vin Man and the Big Boy in Southend. Then we are moving on to that lively hub of British nightlife which is known as Lavernham in Suffolk, to visit Wren's mum. After that we intend to visit my stately home, Amington Hall near Tamworth, which I discovered existed when I obtained my family history during last year's trip to Portsmouth. I'm wondering whether I should just march in and claim my ancestral birthright, kicking out any squatters who have taken root in my family seat. The nerve!
Meanwhile, it has been an interesting week, particularly as I am now a fully-fledged member of Facebook. Can you believe it? This is that nonsensical "social networking" website that I lambasted for being solely for people who can't make proper friends. I already have 14 online pals, would you believe, even though I have done nothing to attract such interest. It still seems a load of old twaddle, but when my old school mate Ed Brown contacted me from Hong Kong asking me if I would be her "friend" I felt a bit rotten ignoring it, especially when she had made a similar request a couple of years ago through a different network and I thought it was just one of those pyramid selling devices.
I haven't told Shutts yet, having torn him to pieces over his dedication to this knobend means of communication. He'll slaughter me when he reads this.

Bad luck Cardiff City. A great effort in the FA Cup final came to nothing when Portsmouth pipped them at the final hurdle. It's been an exciting week for our newspapers, though, and culminated in me taking charge of good old WoS on Saturday. It was hard work, but thoroughly enjoyable, too.

Hasn't been much time for cooking, what with trying to avoid the paparazzi chasing me around Cardiff (well, paps, anyway). A new bar called Zero Degrees opened up and the entire Welsh media fraternity turned up - to a large degree due to the free food and booze.
Still hungry by the time I got home I rustled up a quick tuna curry from my "Best Ever Wok and Stir Fry book".

1 onion (sliced)
1 red bell pepper (sliced)
1 green pepper (sliced)
2 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 crushed garlic cloves
4oz can of tuna in brine
1 green chilli, chopped
1 inch piece root ginger, grated
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped coriander

Heat the oil in wok then add cumin seeds until they start to spit and pop
Add cumin, coriander, chilli powder and salt, followed by garlic, onion and peppers
Stir fry for 5-7 mins until the onion has browned.
Stir in the tuna, green chilli and ginger and cook for five minutes.
Add garam masala, lemon juice and chopped coriander and cook for 3 to 4 mins.
Serve in pitta bread or, like I did, have it with white rice.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fish and chips; Paps-style

MOST people would know me as a mild-mannered soul. I would like to think I never lose my temper when things get tricky and that my calm exterior promotes serenity all around me.
Ok, that might not be strictly true.
And I certainly wasn't feeling particularly cool when it came to trying to fit a pair of new windscreen wipers to Basil in the steaming temperatures of Saturdy afternoon.
Now, a visit to Halford's for me is about as common as a solar eclipse, but I had got to the stage where the stringy, rubbery bit on the underside of my wipers was flapping about like a wet fish on a harbour dock. It was actually spreading rain and gunk over the windscreen to such an extent that I would have done better to stick my head out of the side window to see where I was actually going.
Anyway, having got to motorist heaven I found it quite easy to pick up the wipers I needed thanks to looking at the necessary charts under the shelf. Then I went to the counter to purchase them. "Would you like us to fit them for you, sir," the girl behind the till enquired.
Feeling particularly macho and not wanting to look like a right wus, I declined. I remember having watched my mate Gareth changing some once in two seconds flat, and he has an IQ of minus 10.
So out I strolled to the car park in confident mood. Well, no, not really. Instead I turned to my loyal sidekick Wren and said: "You know something about cars. Your dad likes them. I think you should fix them on."
Hmmm. Looking at the back of the box, the instructions were absolutely nonsensical. We were on our own. I started pulling and poking to get the old windscreen wipers off, but I could see the look of fear in Wren's eyes. "Here let me do it - you might break them," she said.
Pah, fooey. Bit of brute force always works - and I'm the bloke in this relationship, I thought grumpily.
As we stood out in the baking sun wrestling with the wipers cars kept coming and going, meaning we had to move to let them park up. A succession of mechanic-type blokes gave us curious glances as we fought the mother of all battles to get the bloody things off. Eventually there was a snap. "Think I've broken this one," I said. Wren looked at me coldly.
But, no, it was ok. It was only the bit of the wiper that needed to come off anyway.
Then it came to fitting the new ones. I struggled a bit before Wren elbowed me aside. She then studied the implement carefully and started messing around with a little clip, confidently lining it up with the bit still attached to the car. She pushed it on, but it wouldn't go any further. I muscled in. "It probably needs some force," I said, that being my answer to everything.
I push, tugged and prodded and gritted my teeth in furious reaction. How can such a poxy little thing be so hard to fit.
"Perhaps we should go back and asked them to fit it," ventured Wren bravely.
My blood-red face told her differently, as did the steam coming out of my ears. There was no way that I was going to look an even bigger numpty by admitting defeat. To be honest, what I really wanted to do was enter into the noble art of Fuckuso in which you swing a pair of windscreen wipers around your head like numchucks and throw them at the nearest smug-looking bloke in a grease-stained blue overall you can find.
Instead I pushed harder on the wiper and... click.
Ha, no you're wrong - I didn't break it! It actually fitted in.
Then I looked at Wren. "I think we've done it," I exclaimed. Oh joy.
But how did we figure it out? Neither of us really knew and we had one more to do.
Soon afterwards it appeared that Wren had broken the passenger's side wiper. A clip came lose and I couldn't see how it was possibly going to work now. I was all ready to storm back into Halfords and buy a replacement.
"No, it's fine," she assured me. "It will all clip together once it's fitted on."
I believed her. I believed her so strongly that I then had a silent strop, walked around the other side of the car and rolled a cigarette. Very helpful. Spirit of teamwork and all that.
And Wren battled on gamely - 15 minutes later it was job done. My contribution = a bit of brute force and a cantankerous strop. Wren had done the rest... and it had only taken around 40 minutes, time which would have been so much more enjoyably spent on the beach.
Do I know from this experience how to fit new wipers in future? Absolutely not.

Followed that with a trip to a chip shop that Paps recommended. We spoke to Pete the Greek and I ordered two cod and chips, mine with curry sauce, Wren's with mushy peas. We then went home and ate them in the paper. A lovely treat.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Freezer jolly good fellow

IT seems that everyone but we executive editors - the undisputed boozing champs of Meeja Wales - have been walking around with big beaming smiles on their faces and barrels of beer tucked under their arms. Apparently they have all been given a "bribe" by the new Cardiff micro brewery Zero Degrees, which opens its doors next week. At least the Prince and I have been invited to the Grand Opening, along with the other million Meeja Wales journos in the building.
Not every recipient of this contraband has been smiling, though. Paps looked distinctly mopey the other day having dropped his barrel on the floor. He now fears that if he opens it, the thing might explode and cover his kitchen with beer.
But it's not what he did that amuses me, but how this terrible accident came about. When Paps relayed his story there was a gasp from his attentive audience.
"Well, there I was, you know, hoovering the fridge..." What? "Everyone does it," he assured us, looking around the stunned faces.
Actually Paps maybe it's something that caught on in one of those northern towns like Lincoln you like to witter on about, but in all my thousands of years on this planet I have NEVER heard of anyone hoovering their fridge. Washing it out with a bit of bicarb, maybe, but getting out the Dyson and sweeping it across the remnants of Tuesday's chicken curry? Sorry, it just doesn't wash.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Chinese delivered from 100 yards away

STORIES of the Wonderful Withers of (Media) Wales - and that doesn't sound nearly as impressive as the Wonderful Withers of WoS - have tended to fill this blog on a slow news day. And today is no exception.
The boy's reputation as a complete and utter tight-wad took another turn for the worse on Friday night. It was a birthday bash for the lovely Gerry "Halt who goes there" and the great and good of the Welsh Media were there in abundance.
First we met up in Old Orleans where I was accompanied by my fiancee Wren. After a couple of beers we went out for a cigarette where we were joined by the Wonderful One, who was full of beans and up for a big night.
The next stop was a new nightclub/boozer called Ten Feet Tall, which used to be a fine little Italian restaurant called Topo Gigios. My sources had already warned me that it could be an expensive evening as said club was rather pricey. Withers, too, was aware of this and immediately crossed the road to the cashpoint to take out enough money to cover him for a big night.
Mind you, when we got inside the club it was noticeable that he took a giant step backwards from the bar and left me to get the round in. Oh well, that's Withers, I thought to myself.
A bit later we were joined by Danny Boy "the poipes, the poipes" and his lovely girlfriend the Solicitor, who he really should propose to at some stage seeing that they have been together since school and he has been taking on the look of an ageing Jack Nicholson of late (in Wolf, with those sideburns).
I must say I am not too impressed with this new boozer. Get 12 people in and it feels like you are drinking in a rather busy corridor, a bit like being on a packed British Rail train before they run out of Stella. Having nearly had my teeth knocked out by a stray elbow from Gareth Griffiths, our erstwhile cricket reporter, we decided to see if there was any more room upstairs.
There was for a short while then that, too, became packed out with Meeja people with a large contingent of BBC wallahs joining in the tomfoolery.
It was at that point I spotted Withers rolling around in good old Zombie mode, not unlike the day of the Famous Teeth Disaster. Remembering he owed Wren and I a drink I sidled up to him and told him it was his round. "Slorrrry," he slurred. "I can only buy one of you a drink cosh Iy only av a fiver."
Now A. How on earth did he manage to stay out in Ten Foot Tall until the early hours on the strength of just a fiver and,
B. Surely someone who knows the expense of the club actually goes to the cashpoint and takes out a decent amount of money, not just a few small notes.
Withers, you are a disgrace.

Saturday I was on WoS duty but it was quite a comfortable day and on Sunday myself and Paps (the piss artist formerly known as Nicey...) went out for a good, old-fashioned Sunday Sesh (as they call it in Perth, Australia).
We were trying to see the denouement of the Football League Championship in which Stoke City and Hull City were vying for the one Premiership slot on offer and Southampton, Leicester and Coventry were fighting against relegation.
But all the pubs seemed to have the boring, nothing-at-stake Arsenal v Everton Premiership match on instead. We went to PC's (or the Tut as I know it), the Royal George, the Albany and the Billabong). Finally in the latter boozer we struck lucky and had an enjoyable 40 minutes watching the saga unfold.
Poor old Leicester fans, you had to feel sorry for them. They ran a gamut of emotions as first Southampton went behind, then they went ahead, then Sheffield United equalised and finally the Saints grabbed the winner that sent Leicester down. Even then they had to play the last 10 minutes with 10 men. Doh!
Moving on, we watched Liverpool take on Manchester City in the Claude before I wandered home, pleasantly inebriated. Then, nice surprise, Wren turned up again. Her work at Bristol had finished early so she decided to drive back and visit her rather sozzled bloke.

MONDAY and we had the nasty early warning call of Dan the builder turning up to knock my flat about a bit more. Great! I dragged Wren into the car and we headed off to Worcester to see if we could see some cricket. The weather was perfect and my girlfriend hadn't been to a live match before so she had a treat in store.
Apart from the fact she didn't.
Having paid to get into the ground we then sat watching an empty stretch of grass and some covers for about an hour. Then the announcement came. Due to heavy flooding the night before and a high water table at New Road, there was very unlikely to be any play. We could get our money back, though.
We then left and went to a restaurant over the road that sold me a lovely Fishcake starter and the most ordinary Fish Pie you could ever eat in your life. Can't remember the name of the place, it was pleasant enough and had some lovely alternatives on the menu. Just a bad choice, I guess.

Last night I left earlyish for a few drinks with the Fugitive, who has at last shaved his beard off though was looking a bit stubbly nonetheless. When Withers turned up as well it turned into a bit more than a quiet drink and by the time I stumbled home I was too under-the-weather to cook. I therefore rang the A1 takeaway around the corner and ordered a very tasty pork curry to be delivered to my door. What a lazy sod!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Rice and chorizo

Our old pal 'Arry 'Awkins, 'arry 'awkins, 'arry 'arry 'arry etc etc was back in touch today. He is now working for the Newport Argos catalogue and no doubt doing very well. Certainly his reputation seems to be catching on. I received a text message from him just this afternoon, following on from the local council elections.
He informed me that he was introduced to the Welsh Assembly kit member Rosemary Butler at the Newport recount at which point she started kicking her legs up in the air, thumbs tucked under lapels, and sang "Arry Awkins, Arry Awkins, Arry, arry, arry Awkins". The guy is now a Gwent leg end.

I've got a lovely recipe for rice and chorizo that I got from the Observer mag. Apparently it is a favourite creation of artist Marc Quinn.
2 large onions
4 chopped garlic gloves
2 small chillis
large knob of ginger peeled and chopped fine
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mustard seeds, ground
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
500g chopped chorizo
500g wholegrain brown rice
1 litre chicken stock
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk
5 saffron strands

Grind the seeds in a mortar and pestle or similar
Heat 2tbsps oil in wok or paella pan
Gently cook onions, garlic, chillis, ginger, turmeric, seeds, and half chorizo.
Add the rice, stock, tomatoes, coconut milk and saffron.
Cook for at least 40 mins, adding more stock if necessary.
Fry remaining chorizo in small pan.
Remove the original and replace with fresh, if you prefer. I actually left the original in as well, because that's the kind of guy I am!
Gently cook onions, garlic

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Spanish sea bream and a lovely cup of tea

I'M not saying my mind is frazzled but some strange things have been happening to me lately. The other morning I found myself sleep brewing. I didn't have to get up until nine, being on the late shift for the Snail, but I suddenly found myself in the kitchen putting the kettle on. I didn't even know how I had got there, why I was there or what provoked me to make a cup of tea. I then glanced at the clock on the cooker - 6.46am. Am I going mad? Don't answer that it's a rhetorical question.
Still, it's been a pretty good week all in all. Monday was a late night working, waiting for pictures of Swansea City's triumphant bus tour through the city, but I still managed to catch up with the Prince of Darkness and the Wonderful Withers of WoS in The Yard, even though I didn't get out of the office until 9.30. They had gathered at around 3pm for a quiet drink, both being on a day off, and it was only when I pointed out it was 10 that the Prince snarled as if being shown a crucifix embedded with garlic, wrapped his cloak around him and shot off home. He was on the 7am shift for t'echo the following day. I honestly don't know how he manages it sometimes.
On Tuesday we had a visit from Rosey, down in Cardiff to interview one of their FA Cup final-bound players. He was looking pretty sharp and is obviously finding the London life suits him greatly.
The Fugitive, meanwhile, seems to be cracking up. He arrived back from the States just about the same time as his postcard, which contained what can only be described as the ramblings of a lunatic. Containing a picture of four people bending over showing their rather pert backsides to the camera, the Fugitive claimed to have got them to pose on the basis of being an artist. They then found out he worked for Media Wales and described him as a "dirty b**tard". Hmmm, strange indeed. Though, pretty correct as it happens.
Tuesday night I got away a bit early and watched Manchester United reach the European Champions League final with a 1-0 win over Barcelona thanks to a sensational Paul Scholes goal. And on Wednesday I joined the Prince for beers in Dempseys, where the hordes of Liverpool fans who have chosen it as their Cardiff venue were left distraught by their 3-2 European defeat to Chelsea. Cracking game though, Gromit.
Unfortunately on Wednesday I also fell victim of the Style Nazi. I was designing a page about a piece of Welsh slate found in a garden which, according to some, bares the image of Elvis Pressley. Hence we dubbed it Elvis Presili, because that was where it was discovered. Ho hum.
I was quite happy with my design only to find the Style Nazi changing the headline. "You can't have a headline that size," he insisted, "you are going against Western Snail style." Oh, heaven forbid.

On Tuesday night I had some Sea Bream to cook and even though it was gone 10pm I set about it with gusto.
You can buy readily prepared Sea Bream at Morrisons complete with parsley - an excellent buy.
So I did Sea Bream baked with garlic, parsley and white wine vinegar.
Sea Bream
1 large potato, sliced
250ml olive oil
2-3 sprigs of fresh fennel (unfortunately I didn't have any so left it out)
3 tbs white wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
sea salt
Heat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4.
Heat the oil in a frying pan then add the potatoes and cook, turning regularly, but don't brown (10 mins). Lightly season with salt, remove and put in bottom of ovenproof dish.
Season fish in and out with salt (not too much). Put fennel sprigs in cavity and place fish on top of potatoes. Place fennel on top and underneath.
Pour the reserved oil over the fish and bake for 10 mins.
Remove dish and increase oven temp to 220 degrees/gas mark 7.
Discard fennel, then pour half the vinegar inside the cavity of the fish and sprinkle half the garlic and half the parsley inside (you may not need the parsley if it is already the prepared version from Morrisons).
Close fish and pour remaining vinegar on top with the rest of the garlic and parsley. Return to oven for 8 minutes or so until the flesh flakes easily.
Serve. I did it with spinach fried with sliced garlic in a frying pan until it wilts.