Wednesday, September 15, 2010

End of the line

Just over four years ago I was sitting in a pub called the Goat Major in Cardiff with my pal Matt Withers and we started our usual debate about the Internet. I was coming out with my usual mantra that it would be "Just a passing phase" while he was insisting the World Wide Web was here to stay and I had better get used to it.
Over the next few pints we hatched a plot that I would start writing a blog, focusing on my culinary talents, and inform whoever could be bothered to read it of the recipes that I had come up with the previous night. With startling originality we decided it would be called "What I Cooked Last Night". I expected it to last about two days.
But it didn't really turn out the way. It became a record of our times on the Wales on Sunday or, more to the point, what the staff of that esteemed chronicle got up to in the pubs and clubs around Cardiff. Later it spread its wings and encapsulated the whole Meeja Wales experiment.
It was visionary (and double visionary on occasions), marking an era and coining some memorable phrases which are still used with fondness to this day - like Boozeday Tuesday, The Wednesday Club and Thirsty Thursday.
There was creative thinking, like how to make an entire Sunday Lunch out of different flavoured crisps, homespun philosophy from Withers ("All women who wear red shoes are prostitutes") and problem solving (how to get your girlfriend's front door keys back to her when you have driven home 45 miles to find them in your pocket).
And the nicknames became so legendary that many of the characters still go by them to this day. People were introduced to the Prince of Darkness, The Fabulous Baker Boy, Smashy and Nicey, the Fugitive, Wathanovski, Owenov, the Boss and Posh and Becks.
Well, it was fun while it lasted, an epic diversion, but it's time to wrap it all up.
Four years on and my life has changed remarkably. During the years of the blog I have been on a Barmy Army sabbatical to Australia, met a wonderful woman, got married, had a child, moved to Bristol and started working for the biggest Sunday newspaper in the UK - the Screws, as it is known here.
My tales have taken me to Boston to see my beloved Red Sox, and Cuba for an immense honeymoon experience.
But along the way the original idea has drifted as well. I don't spend nearly enough time in the pub to come up with such bizarre and cautionary tales, I no longer can regale the latest adventures of the Prince of Darkness or the Wonderful Withers of WoS, because as married life settles down I don't find the time to catch up on all the meaningless gossip in a way to do the blog justice.
Anyway, if I get any good little tales I think the world should know, I am now on Twitter @NickRipp so I will make every effort to spread the word in this other form of the "passing phase".
It's been a pleasure sitting down and trying to remember or, as some people might suggest, making up stories about my erstwhile friends. Unfortunately, this blog was starting to turn into an online diary of my life, and only those closest to me could possibly feel motivated to trawl through that.
I am glad, though, that my beautiful little baby Olivia got a mention and one day she may well sit down and read about what an angry, boozy, all-round mentallist I was. It's true, Liv, well some of it.
I'm also thankful to my grown-up daughter the Fat Kid, my wife Mrs Rippers (who began long ago as Celtic Liz), and my grandkids the Vin Monster and the Big Boy for giving me some interesting stories to narate without disowning me for giving away their secrets.
For anyone who wants to know, I am cooking beefburgers tonight.
What I cook tomorrow will be purely for my own amusement.



writer said...

I've dropped in every few weeks over the years and enjoyed the stories and the recipes. So thank you. Shame you're not inclined to continue.

Haven't commented often because your comment format hasn't allowed commenting under my blog name.

Cheers and good luck with your new life. Surely there'll be some anecdotes there?

writer said...

See what I mean? I meant to add my sign off - kitchen hand from

Manuel E. said...

I really like your blog. I hope you can drop line in mine.
How can I add audio in my post?
See you soon. Take care

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