Saturday, June 20, 2009

Nettle wine

I never had The Boss down as one of those tree-hugging, hippie types until he told me of one of the adventures of his misspent youth.
It all came about because I happened to mention that Scooby was off to Avebury with his drums to celebrate the summer solstice which, according to him, means bashing the hell out of his skins while wearing only a loin cloth and a smile and jigging around a circle of stones.
"Did ah not tell ye about ma adventure with some of ma wee mates when I was in ma teens?" The Boss offered in his melodic Irish tones.
When I answered in the negative, he proceeded to inform me of a time when he and his pals - no doubt known as Stiff, niff, jiff and anything else ending in iff (in the manner of all his mates) - sneaked off into the countryside to partake of some rather illicit alcohol.
While they were crawling through the woods they came across a strange sight. There was a fire blazing a few hundred yards away and they sneaked up to witness a group of cowl-wearing sun worshippers chanting in some foreign tongue while moving slowly around the flames.
The boys were convinced they had come across some sort of witches' coven and whispered excitedly to each other. Unfortunately, whispering in the throaty, guttural drawl of Rab C Nesbit tends to carry a bit on the breeze and they soon realised their talking had attracted the attention of said coven.
The witches began to call to them. "Come out, come out, whoever you are..." and, after a brief consultation, the boys decided the game was up and they might as well take their punishment.
Strangely, though, the coven were more than happy to welcome them into the gathering. They passed around such delicious alcoholic treats as nettle wine and soon the Boss and his pals were giddy with the excitement of it all.
Then, as the sun began to rise to herald a new dawn, the solstice worshippers threw off their cowls and stripped butt-naked. They then implored the boys to do the same.
The Boss, now feeling at one with the earth and rather trolleyed on nettle wine, immediately took up the challenge and cast off his clothes, quickly followed by his buddies.
They then all linked arms and proceeded to sway and dance around a young tree sapling planted in the ground - a symbol of the earth's fertility.
Only trouble was The Boss didn't realise that swaying on a shedful of nettle wine can sometime get out of hand. Overbalancing rather dramatically, he toppled straight over onto the young sapling, snuffing out its young life before it could even dream of becoming a tall and mighty tree.
Silence. As The Boss rose to his feet he was greeted by looks of stunned, open-mouthed horror and wished the ground would swallow him up, too.

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