Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 7 November 2015
The importance of gravy
Well if you thought November the 5th was bad weather for fireworks, you should look out of the window today, Saturday the 7th - the day we are due to have the big charity display on Bath Recreation Ground. More water, pushed along by gale-force winds.
The kids are due to come round and watch it from said window tonight, and I am due to cook them sausage and mash as I have been for 23 years, before the youngest was born. Each year for the past few, I think they will not be turning up, but so far they have not missed a single one.
When the youngest was 15 or so, they all sat down as I dished out the sausages and mash. When I sat down, she said, "Where's the gravy?"
"Sorry, I forgot the gravy," I answered.
"You ARE kidding, aren't you?" She began to look very worried. It took about five responses from me before she finally understood that I really had forgotten the gravy, and this ruined the entire evening for her. Between each mouthful, she dryly mumbled, "I cannot believe you forgot the gravy."
So every subsequent year I have pretended to forget the gravy, and this has turned into something of a family joke/ritual. 'The Year He Forgot The Gravy'.
There was a terrifying radio documentary on the elite gentlemen's clubs attached to old German universities recently - the ones which carry out duels for no reason, using razor-sharp sabres which inflict face-changing scars on the young men who take part in the horrifyingly clinical rituals held in well-lit little arenas in purpose-built basements and stadia.
The whack and ring of swords cutting into thick leather is suddenly punctuated by a softer sound of steel cutting deep into the face of the loser of the bout, followed swiftly by the involuntary intake of breath through the gritted teeth of the onlookers.
Just before these bouts, they all get together and eat a traditional meal of raw mincemeat and onion, as they have done for about 250 years.
Woe betide anyone who forgets to bring the onions, I bet.