Thursday, November 30, 2006

Get The Beers In

It's the most wonderful time of the year.....

This is the time of year when hard-working Geoffrey turns into a social animal. My grandmother used to say to me "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." This was during my 'O' Levels, from a woman who never had any play in her adult life.

The thing is, however much I hate work, I find it preferable to having to socialise.

The following are the highlights of Thursday and Friday lunchtimes:-

1. Thursday lunchtime in the Maple Leaf pub, a Canadian theme pub with pictures of Mounties on the walls and Molson on tap. Knowing that once I start on the red wine I won't stop, I had myself two halves of John Smiths Smooth - Britain's favourite bitter and the only one in the pub. I accompanied this with a cold BLT on soft baguette...

A couple of others in our little gang gorged themselves on this muck...

...poutine, the Canadian national dish of chips, cheese and gravy. This prompted a five minute discussion on the tastiness of chips with curry sauce. Throughout the lunch hour my digestion held up remarkably well - I know my limits, and like Ken Barlow, two halves of bitter are enough for my delicate constitution.

2. Friday lunchtime in the Porterhouse, an Irish themed designer pub. Knowing that once I start on the red wine I won't stop, I ordered myself a £3.05 pint of Porterhouse Red...

...although an "ale", not really an improvement on the John Smiths Smooth.

This was a mistake.

The only other beer drinker, a lager drinker, finished his second pint and asked me if I wanted another. Me with three quarters of a pint left.

"No thanks," I said.

"Oh go on, keep me company."

"Oh alright, I'll have a half, please."

"Go on have a pint."

And he's off to the bar to get me another pint.

I know it's going to fuck up my guts but I've got to be polite and of course I've got to buy him a pint in return when he quickly guzzles down his third pint.

If only I was a stronger personality, if I could say "no" in a firm but polite way, if only I was six foot seven and built like a brick shithouse, I'm sure my guts wouldn't suffer so much. But I'm weak and give in to peer pressure.

And Christmas hasn't even started yet. These two outings were to celebrate a birthday and a leaving-work. Tomorrow we celebrate my mum's 75th at The Victorian Restaurant. What is Victorian food? Betty has mentioned greengages. Will it involve offal, hearts and kidneys? I know one thing's for sure. I'm going to suffer.


  1. Poutine should only be ordered and eaten in the Province of Quebec. Nowhere else! And you probably wouldn't like it there either. Next time, stick to the hotpot.

  2. My colleagues who chose it seemed to enjoy it. Then they were talking about people who like curry sauce on their fish and chips. Not just chips but fish and chips. My sister likes salad cream on her roast dinner.

    Why can't everybody have a refined palate like me?

  3. brother likes salad cream on roast dinner too. It's gross. It is really horrid, horrid, horrid. He also has tomato ketchup on stew.

    I think I might have been to that Porterhouse pub. Why is everything so expensive, that's what I want to know.

    Please, please, let us know what the Victorian food was, I'm dying to know what it is you get up to at your Victorian do. Perhaps it will be porridge made with a drip of water. Or wittles.

    'Fetch me wittles Pip!'

  4. Geoff, you poor beleaguered soul. Next time I'm in B'heath we will go out for a half or two and be miserable.

    They have poutine up here, btw. It's called chips 'n' cheese. With grehvehyon. You can have chips 'n' cheese with courrehyon as well. Te tek owt.

  5. Actually, it's just reminded me that we have a friend staying at Christmas who finds that he too suffers because has to keep up with his "friends" then gets carried away. He says he's looking forward to going for a drink with someone who knows when to stop. I have trouble starting.

  6. Cheesy chips avec gravy = merde! But tomato ketchup on stew - now you're talking! I have horseradish with roast chicken and also with baked beans on toast. Delicious!

  7. Molly - I will write a review of the Victorian Restaurant. If I survive.

    Richard - My friends aren't the pushy type - if you don't want a drink you don't get one. I just hate that pretence of being generous when all they're really doing is trying to get someone to join in their quest of drinking to get drunk. It's a man thing I think. Women who drink a lot aren't so pushy. Or are they?

    RoMo - Who says horseradish goes with beef and nothing else? As long as the baked beans aren't cold...

  8. Anonymous12:46 PM

    Themed Irish pubs...aarrgghh. If they were real they would certainly not have any food in them and would smell of pee and sheep.

  9. Anonymous1:32 PM

    Your lovely pic of cheesy chips had me salivating anyway.
    (I don't get out much and the food at home is shite)

  10. I am currently not working so miss all that razzamatazz at Christmas (there's got to be some benefits), however, I like to spend xmas day alone with a dvd or a good book or both. One of my closest women friends moved to another state and I miss her presence but NOT the obligatory xmas breakfast/lunch, mainly because I do not like her partner at all. Last Sunday, she rang me and said she will be back here for xmas and invited me to xmas DINNER with her and alas, him: I couldn't think fast enough and said "Oh yes, that would be lovely"! I am 52 Geoff and apparently still haven't reached the age where I can just say"no"
    Looking forward to hearing what Victorian food is like

  11. Oh - I just love a curmudgeonly party pooper.
    You look after those guts - they'll still be with you when all the ravers have gone.

  12. Oh, how I miss chips with proper gravy... Hate to do my Righteous Northener thing (well, I don't really) but south of about Preston people just don't understand. First time in a chippy in That London I asked for chips and gravy and got the kind of blank look one gets when trying to explain to a Caffe Nero barista why foamed milk on a cup of tea is a Very Bad Thing.

    Goose pubs started doing chips and gravy a wee while ago but the gravy is just rubbish - all watery and no lumps. Not sure how I feel about the addition of cheese to this most perfect of meal solutions...

  13. WHere I come from a 'gravy-chip' is sometimes known as a 'dirt-chip'. Pronounced 'dort-chip'

    'A chip' means 'a portion of chips, btw.

  14. Realdoc - Our experience of pubs in Ireland is young blokes drinking Magners on ice and an old bloke breaking wind in our faces. And loads of bloody Christy Moore soundalikes. If they could bottle that they're onto a winner.

    Murph - I'm sure you'd love the meaty graviness about it, too.

    Lyn - I'm afraid I couldn't say no to a three course meal today which inevitably ballsed up my digestion.

    Kaz - The thing is, I probably look like I'm having a good time - I say very little and smile a lot. I just want to be home.

    Violet - I hate gravy. I'm afraid my food today was swimming in the stuff. Give me a good curry sauce any day.

    Spin - Cod and dirt chip?

  15. Fish, chips, mushy peas. And scraps if you are really, really lucky. Yummers. Yummers. Yuuuuuuum.

  16. They have "smacks" up here but not being indigenous I'm too embarrassed to ask what they are. They're only 25p. I think they might just be a potato fritter. And most chippies shut around 7.30, which seems to be a bit daft until realise that you don't tend to find lonely bags of chips covered a sauce of indeterminate origin laying on the pavement.

  17. Ah, if you have fish and chips it's called a fish supper.

    CHeese and gravy together is just wrong, wrong, wrong.