MRS R is a year older and wiser this week and to celebrate her latest milestone we visited our local village hostelry The Masons Arms. It was a very pleasant evening as we whiled away the time in the beer garden and the smoking area, getting pleasantly smashed in the ambient atmosphere. Mrs R even did a little jig of celebration when she found a button she had lost from her coat the previous week - I pointed out that this suggested the cleaners didn't turn up at our boozer very frequently.
Still, as we were about to wobble our way home we got speaking to barman Jamie and happened to notice that rather a lot of his customers were drinking an orange, murky looking brew. Inquiring what it was, he informed me it was the local scrumpy and was known as Black Rat. Well, there was nothing for it, we had to have a hair of the rat, even though we were warned it was six percent proof.
We did err on the side of caution, however, and settled for halves. It was actually quite tasty and when we finished I asked our host how much I owed him. "It's on the house for your birthday," he informed Mrs R. What a nice man. We shall be calling again soon.
Mrs R is now the owner of a rather posh all-singing, all-dancing I-Phone. It does a number of things but I have yet to find the gadget that puts on the kettle for you - I am sure it is there somewhere, though.
Still, as with all new presents, there had to be a slight hitch in proceedings. It's like a kid when you unwrap a shiny new present, desperate to try it out and then realise your parents have forgotten to get batteries.
Mrs R has now waited three days but has been unable to make a call. Today she found out that the phone hadn't been registered properly so it's back to the shop on Monday to sort it out. I, of course, was calmness personified as we realised various things weren't quite working as planned. What I mean by that was I muttered, grumbled, humphed and ranted. You would think by now I would have realised this has no effect whatsoever in repairing the faulty equipment in question. Not a bit of it.
I have now been working back in the Smoke for six weeks and last night was the first time I had actually been out. I met up with my old mate Stu and we crossed over London Bridge to visit a nice little area called Borough Market, full of welcoming hostelries.
We had a couple of pints in The Globe while discussing England's under-performing first day in The Ashes decider at the Oval. We both agreed 307-8 was nowhere near good enough and predicted the Aussies would now bat for two days solid.
On from there we went to the Market Porter, then found an ancient little backstreet boozer called The George, I think. By this time my recollections were getting pretty hazy.
We returned via Stu's local and met a typical Cockney nobhead businessman who thought he was the bees knees. he told my mate that he could predict what he did for a living, then came up with all manner of totally incorrect guesses including garage mechanic and farmer. Stu, like me, is a hack.
Still, it passed the time and we finished the night with a Baileys before heading home via the pizza shop for the house he shares with Anna near Clapham Common. A fun night.