Friday, 28 August 2009

Hooligans on the Lash

Down to a new bar in the local town to watch Odense-Genoa in the EuropaSuperLeague Cup of Cups, or whatever it's called this year. The bar owner, in the light of the West Ham - Millwall action, thought that he might cash in on the English hooligan presence (me) with a beer promotion. Given the paucity of the offer (I mean, buy three medium beers and get a small one free? A small one?) I snubbed his poor marketing and drank Campari and white wine all evening. However, I still managed to uphold his rosy view of all things English by lobbing empty glasses at passing cars and later on throwing a metal chair through a window. At the end of the match he waved at me warmly as I climbed into the ambulance, escorted by two carabinieri and a not wholly unattractive female paramedic.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

One for Wilko

Back in the fresh, hope-filled days of May the excellent English Buildings blog had a post on an exquisite bus shelter in Worcestershire. You can see it here. I had been meaning for quite a while to photograph a nearby bus shelter that is anything but exquisite but is rather more functional being a repository for death notices, local dance hall posters and a decades old declaration of love for Laura. Anyway, snapped as I passed by this morning on the way to the post office to send a couple of letters to Blighty (queueing time: 12 mins; processing time: 4 mins, a sort of record hereabouts given that I was the only other person in the queue).

Monday, 17 August 2009

Kingers on Drink

I am a big fan of Kingsley Amis and I think the above book to be a true literary classic. The hangover scene is probably one of the best-ever descriptions I have ever read. And, believe me, I know about hangovers. Nice cover, eh Peter?
I am currently re-reading Amis's "Everyday Drinking" which is a collection of pieces he wrote on booze and boozing between 1971 and 1984.

It is of course dated (there is mention of Double Diamond) and is perhaps a little too heavy on cocktails, but it is written in the typical breezy but dry Amis style and he is unsparing on his favourite bêtes noires. Your Ronnie is a fan of this book because Kingers is very much of the quantity rather than quality school of boozing. You can buy the paperback here.
I thought I'd just share this cocktail with you, just to get the week off on the right, bracing note. I quote Amis in full:
The Tigne Rose
1 tot gin
1 tot whisky
1 tot rum
1 tot brandy
1 tot vodka
"Even if you keep the tots small, which is strongly advisable, this short drink is not very short. It owes its name to Tigne Barracks, Malta, where it was offered as a Saturday lunchtime apéritif in the Sergeants' Mess of the 36th Heavy A.A. Regt., R.A., to all newly joined subalterns. The sometime 2nd Lieut. T.G. Rosenthal, from whom I had the recipe, says he put down three of them before walking unaided back to his room and falling into a reverie that lasted until Monday morning parade. A drink to dream of, not to drink."
Highly recommended (the book not The Tigne Rose).

Monday, 10 August 2009

Blood and Guts

To the 50th birthday party of a local chap last night. His main job is selling fruit and veg on the local markets with his brother. But he also works as a stuntman and specialises in fighting. He had just returned from Pinewood Studios near London where he had been working on Russell Crowe’s latest film which is a blood and guts version of Robin Hood, although the film doesn’t have a final title yet.
What was amusing were the other guests. The Market Trader and Stuntman is a keen fan of all things ancient British/Irish and belongs to a society called La Fraternità della Spada (The Brotherhood of the Sword) which re-enacts ancient battles, and half the guests were his fellow members. There were a lot of beards, ponytails, beer bellies and celtic cross tattoos. And that was just the women.
Virtually all his presents were weapons. He got two swords, three daggers, some sort of Chinese fighting stick and, as a nod towards high culture, a 19th century book on mediaeval shields. I, predictably, gave him two bottles of St Peter's Best Bitter, cheapskate that I am. I suppose 'though that he can drink the contents, smash the bottles and gouge someone in the neck.
Mrs Combo and I decided to leave when the hairy ones all settled down around a table to talk about disembowelling techniques during The Crusades.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

No Contest!

Where are you now Mr Gadjo Dilo? Cowering under the stairs? Skulking in the cellar? Did you hear how the traders on the Bucharest tomato futures market reacted when they saw the size and the juiciness of Ron's tomatoes? For you it is all over! The European market for tomatoes belongs to Ronald Combo! And this is just the beginning of my harvest! Hah hah! Weep your black East European tears because for you the game is up! The glittering prizes are all mine, do you hear? All mine!
Right, I think I'd better go and lie down for a day or two. All those exclamation marks. I blame the Punt e Mes.