Well, Verity wasn’t impressed when I phoned and told her that I was going out to a school harvest festival, but if she’d been there....
As you would expect, there was lots of fresh and not-so-fresh produce there, worm-eaten apples and mouldy-looking potatoes from people’s back gardens, that had probably been sitting in the boiler room at school since last Monday. However, there was also a bric-a-brac stall that I got trapped at. At first I was a bit worried that, caught between Mrs Josephs (Peter’s mum, ‘he’s such a dahhling boy and did so well on his recorder exam’) and some woman who kept comparing the sale with the local WI sale that is coming up, I would be unable to breathe (Follow the syntax back, you’ll get what I mean eventually. That’s what commas are for, after all.), but then since I was forced to face the stall, I thought I might as well see if there was any decent bric-a-brac or failing that, something suitable for Verity to give to her cleaner as a Christmas present. Imagine my great pleasure when I spotted a cocktail mixer set, all boxed up, clearly an inappropriate gift for someone who was trying not to fall off the wagon. ‘Contents: 1 cocktail shaker, 1 packet cocktail sticks, 1 packet cocktail umbrellas, 1 book cocktail recipes. Warning: does not contain alcohol. Illustrations on box for serving suggestion purposes only.’ Well, d’uh! It looked quite fun, so picking it up in as desultory a fashion as I could manage, I got away with convincing the stallholder that I would reluctantly take it off her hands for the phenomenal sum of 20p. Frankly, a packet of cocktail sticks costs more than that, so if the school wants to complain that this was supposed to be for charity and shouldn’t I be prepared to donate more than that, they should get someone more with it to man their stalls.
I blustered around a bit more and then went home via the local shop for a bar of chocolate (they weren’t harvesting that!) and a jar of maraschino cherries to add to my cocktails when I made them. The OH had barely noticed that I was out, so once I’d made something suitable for dinner (roast lamb, some roast potatoes *not* from the garden since the plants have decided that they can’t be bothered to produce any more and some peas), we both sat down to enjoy some Miss Marple and an old Doctor Who. (The OH can’t stand Bruce Forsythe so we don’t watch Strictly Come Dancing. I keep up on the internet.)
It wasn’t until this afternoon, after some Arabian-style chicken scented with rosewater and once the golf had started again on TV, that I got the chance to open the cocktail set and try out some of the recipes. It seems I should have checked the recipes before I bought the cherries, because actually there aren’t that many cocktails that use maraschino cherries, but I stuck a cherry in most of the drinks I made anyway. Because I had them. I started off with an Old Fashioned, though without all the faff of lumps of sugar, partly because it needed a maraschino cherry. Then I tried an Manahattan, startlingly similar to an Old Fashioned but with some vermouth. Then I tried a Margarita – Charlie Harper’s always drinking those on Two and a Half Men – and since the tequila was out, I made up a Tequila Sunrise next. I’m still not sure about the taste of tequila so I moved onto vodka after that, made a Black Russian, a Screwdriver – very healthy with all that orange juice –and a Moscow Mule. Halfway through making the Screwdriver, the OH came into the kitchen to see why I was making so much noise doing the washing-up, though in reality it was using the cocktail shaker that was so noisy.
“I can hardly hear the commentators. What the hell are you doing? And what are all those glasses doing out?” (I had used a different glass for each cocktail. Well, I needed to compare them!)
“Oh, I’m just doing some sorting out for the next time your boss comes to dinner.” Referencing the boss usually works, as it did on this occasion.
“Okay.” He looked askance at the mess and then said, “Oh well, while I’m up, I might as well go to the little boys’ room.”
By the time he came back, I was rummaging in the cupboard for some Creme de Menthe so I could try a Hurricane cocktail.
“What are you looking for?”
“Um, some pickled lemons. I need them for a recipe.”
Mentioning a recipe was a mistake. He picked up the book I had been using to look at the supposed recipe, saw it was actually for cocktails that don’t generally need pickled lemons and then set about sniffing the empty glasses lined up next to the kitchen sink.
“I think you need some coffee,” he said disapprovingly. “And while you’re making it, I’ll have one too.”
Needless to say, I have not made any coffee. My head is humming like bees in June but who cares? I wonder if this is what Verity meant by getting a life.
Verity1 wrote: It certainly is not what I meant by getting a life! I meant that you should join some societies, or do some voluntary work somewhere, something that will get you meeting new people. How can you meet people at the bottom of a cocktail glass, especially at home? I will be checking up on you tomorrow so make sure you’ve DONE something!