THE Wonderful Withers of WoS is feeling the pressure. He admitted as much on Friday when we visited an out-of-town venue rather than try to negotiate our way through the mass of stinking humanity that had descended on Cardiff city centre for an Oasis concert at the stadium.
There was another reason, too. All the pubs in the area, including the Cardiff beer and cider festival, were serving drinks in plastic glasses. Yuk!
So we had to walk a bit further but ended up at the Pen and Wig, a cool boozer with a largely student clientele and arguably Cardiff's best beer garden.
After a particularly fraught day on the South Wales Eggcup, where everyone seemed to be getting deliriously excited about some story about a bendy bus, I arrived very late to join up with WWW, Jarhead, Danny Boy (the poipes, the poipes) and Smashy. It was pretty obvious that, having given them three hours start, they were well into the swing of things.
In fact, I knew as much before I even got there thanks to a text message from Jarhead which simply read: "Sh** it's great here. Proper glasses and birds in suits?!"
Had he mentioned boots as well it would have amounted to Jarhead heaven.
Anyway, the beer was obviously slipping down well... so well, in fact, that the Wonderful One didn't realise that instead of buying him Stella Artois, the others had been playing tricks on him and providing him with all manner of other beverages, including a Carling Shandy I do believe.
I was, of course, accompanied by the Prince of Darkness, who immediately upped the pace and by the time Paps joined us Withers was beginning to metamorphosise from writer and broadcaster to slurring, incoherent zombie.
At this time we were joined by a Yard bird (as the barmaids at our FORMER fave venue are known) and her mate, who actually appeared to find the Wonderful One rather hilarious. I don't know whether it was his witty one liners that had her engrossed or if she was just captivated at the prospect she had come across the missing link -its early attempts at communication involving a series of grunts and giggles.
Anyway, the amassed crowd were fascinated to observe this meeting of minds and were quick to encourage Withers that he was actually doing pretty well. This, of course, had the opposite of the desired effect on the Wonderful One.
I advised him that now would be the time to arrange a future meeting or, at least, get a phone number before toddling off home. Unfortunately he did the worst thing possible in his circumstances - he arranged to meet her later.
Next day I inquired of his progress and he confessed that when he reached the arranged meeting place she was nowhere to be seen. Mind you, it's probably a good thing, too, judging by the state of him.
He did, however, explain to me how difficult it was to be Withers these days - particularly when in pursuit of a happy liaison with a member of the opposite sex.
"It's like being a football team desperately trying to get your first league win. The more it doesn't happen, the more pressure you feel. It gets to the point that you think you'll never win one. And it doesn't help with the crowd on your back, too... like you lot."
Fair point, mate but, as I imagine every England football and cricket manager has told his teams over the last 40-odd years, "It's not the winning that counts, but the taking part."
Whoever actually came up with that saying must have been a real loser, mind you.
Far better to follow the scattergun approach of the Little Bowling Ball, whose theory is that if he has enough shots at goal at some stage one of them will go in.
Talking of strange liaisons, a new club opened in town on Friday night and our wedding photographer Andy was there to snap all the celebs. Celebs? There were absolutely none. Not even Noel from Hear Say managed to attend this time, and by all accounts he will show up at the opening of an envelope.
Mind you, Andy was taken aback when he was introduced to a woman who claimed to be on the reserve list for this year's Big Brother show. She looked pretty familiar and when he twigged to sent his snap into Meeja Wales for the Prince of Darkness to view.
"Hoo's tha' boord then, mate?" asked the boss, intrigued.
"I don't know. She looks familiar, but..."
Then Andy rang in to solve the Prince's memory crisis. "She's that pole dancer who took us back to her house, stripped off and then had you dancing around the pole in her front room," he revealed.
"Oh yeah!" said the Prince, who had viewed numerous pictures of her previously as part of a feature on the Big Bro series which appeared in the South Wales Eggcup yet failed to recognise her totally. I don't suppose alcohol played any part in the memory loss, though.
On Saturday night Wren and I enjoyed a very tasty bit of beef, basted in an interesting glaze of rose wine, hot horseradish sauce and thick honey.
Lean beef joint of topside, sirloin or rib of beef - I used topside
1/4 pint of rose
4 tbsp horseradish sauce
1tbsp thick honey.
Calculate the cooking time of the joint from the packaging, then roast in a preheated oven at 180 degrees/gas mark 4-5. Meanwhile put all the glaze ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
30 minutes from the end of cooking time, remove joint from the oven and spoon the glaze over the top, then baste occasionally until the joint is cooked.
Stand 10 minutes before carving, while returning roasting dish to the top of the hob, adding a good sprinkling of flour to the meat juices. Mix in while heating then add some stock to make a reasonably creamy gravy. Serve with vegetables and new roast potatoes.