HAVE you ever had one of those terrible moments when you find your legs just won't do what you tell them to? Happened to me on Friday as a matter of fact. And, to be honest, I had only had a mere five pints of Carling at the time.
Leaving work at the reasonably early time of 6.30, myself and Smashy walked over to the old new O'Neills next to the office for a few after-work swifties. It was a chance to relax and wash away the joys of another week on the treadmill that is Meeja Wales.
Having sunk a couple of quick ones we were soon joined by the Wonderful One and the Prince of Darkness who were also keen to get their weekend's boozing underway.
Anyway, at some point in time I slipped out of the side door and onto the street to have a cigarette. And this is where everything became hazy.
Whether it was the unwelcome gust of fresh air that hit me, or the first strong drag of Old Holborn, I cannot guess, but I suddenly found myself wobbling around uncontrollably. Realising that the bouncers on the door might notice my predicament and mistake it for unsobriety I tried to will my legs to stay still, but they continued to rock me back and forward.
What to do? A real dilemma.
Focussing my brain completely, I decided the only option was to walk casually around to the front of the pub and make my entrance that way, hoping against hope that the bouncers wouldn't be patrolling there, too. Wrong.
As I attempted to step through the door a hand came out and the voice announced: "Sorry son, you're too drunk."
"But it's not me," I protested. "It's just that, for some strange reason, my legs won't work. Can you let me back inside to say goodbye to my mates and get my tobacco."
"No can do mate. You're pissed as a fart."
The liberty. Five pints of Carling? Who did he think I was?
Sheepishly I rang Smashy to break the news, then wondered off to get a taxi home - crestfallen. And a stag weekend just 14 days away.
Saturday and Wren came over to show some sympathy. We watched Manchester United somehow get hammered 4-1 at home to Liverpool, then wandered into town to pick up some bits and pieces. Wren's mum gave me an M&S giftcard for Christmas and I had been scratching my head what to do with it. Then it struck me. Cookware!
I bought a very nice blue casserole dish and vowed to make use of it that night, putting together a bouef bourginon for our tea.
Shock of shocks, I got home to catch up with the footie scores to find the Gas had won 5-0 away at Walsall - play offs here we come! Lucky I cancelled that first wedding date.
Wren and I then watched our fave new series, The Wire, on dvd. It is an excellent show - up there on a level with the Sopranos and the West Wing about a bunch of diverse cops who are trying to bring down a drug gang in Baltimore.
Then I cooked tea, of which more later.
Sunday and Wren had to return to Bristol for work so I met up with the Prince in the pub to watch the English rugby team finally remember how to play the game. The French, though, what happened to them? This is a team who outplayed Grand Slam winning Wales a couple of weeks ago and now folded as quickly as you could say "sacre bleu". England led 29-0 at half time, for god's sake. It all means Wales are left to try to stop Ireland winning the Grand Slam next week and hopefully taking the Six Nations crown in the process.
The Prince had been having a quiet afternoon. By the time I met him at around 3.30 he was only on his fourth pint!
"Well, I had a big bottle of Becks before leaving the house, then went to the Beverley for my lunch. It took so long for them to cook my steak (he probably means about 10 minutes) that I had another two pints of Kronenberg to pass the time."
By the early evening he was professing: "I've got a bit of a buzz on" and demanding double vodkas. It was time to leave him to the night shift - Withers - who had turned up to join the party.
Anyway, Boeuf Bourginon.
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1lbs diced beef or thereabouts
four rashers of chopped bacon
4oz plain flour
One crushed garlic clove
1/2 pint of red wine
pint of beef stock
fresh herbs to garnish.
Toss the beef in the flour then fry in the oil before transferring to casserole dish.
Fry the bacon until golden. Transfer to the dish
Fry the onions and garlic until the onions are soft, then add the mushrooms and cook before transferring to the dish.
Add the stock and red wine to the casserole dish, the bouquet garnet and salt and black pepper to taste.
Put in the oven for about an hour and a half until the meat is tender.
Garnish with herbs and serve with brown rice.