Wednesday 28 July 2010

Days of wine and woodpiles, mate

15st 8lb, 6.0 units. Back in the North East for a meeting with a client yesterday afternoon, I manfully continued my self-appointed tasks of clearing out 20-odd years of accumulated papers and drinking the contents of my wine shed, against the day when I finally have to face up to reality and sell my much-loved house with its matchless views of the Cheviots.

Many of the wines were curiosities when I bought them. I went through an anti-French phase so violent that I would only buy wine from countries where Her Majesty the Queen was head of state. Fine for Australia and New Zealand, of course, but was it really necessary to invest in a case from Canada? Then I weakened a bit and decided that it would be all right to buy wines from countries that had, at some point, been under British rule. Hence the presence in the shed of a couple of cases of wine from Washington and Oregon, those well-known wine-growing regions of the United States. I had forgotten about them for 15 years, and opened a bottle of Oregon’s Erath Vineyards 1995 Willamette Valley Chardonnay yesterday evening, reflecting that it presumably ought to have been drunk at least a decade ago and expecting it to be an interesting experience at best. Imagine my astonishment when it turned out to be utterly delicious. I wonder what it would have tasted like in, say, 1996? Perhaps, like me, it is a late developer.

I needed a drink to calm me down after calling at PC World at Kingston Park to buy a small piece of cable for my computer, specifically to replace the one that connects my MacBook to its back-up drive. I know I can’t really have lost the original, but I’ve looked everywhere for it in both Cheshire and Northumberland and there is no sign of it, so clearly the only way forward is to buy another one. Then, in accordance with the timeless rules of the Law of Sod, the original will immediately and miraculously re-appear. I thought it was worth maybe a fiver to achieve this. After all, how could it possibly cost more than that for a couple of feet of wire with a connector at each end, intrinsic worth surely not more than about 99p? Which was, as it turned out, £23 less than PC World thought they could get away with. It wasn’t that which annoyed me, though, so much as the fact that the young tw*t behind the till, with the apology for a beard, managed to address me as “mate” no less than three times during the simple process of putting the item through his till.

It’s a good job he didn’t say it a fourth time, or he’d now be in hospital and I’d either be in police custody or hunkering down in a storm drain in Rothbury, depending on how quickly the constabulary responded to the emergency call. On recent evidence that would be the storm drain, would it not?

I also finally managed to put into the wood shed the last of the lorry load of hardwood logs that were dumped in my back yard as long ago as April. I think the words “well seasoned” would now cover them admirably. Now I’ll be able to argue that it doesn’t make economic sense to sell the house until we’ve used them.

At least clutching at logs seems to hold out better hope of keeping one’s head above water than clutching at straws.

No comments: