Monday, 16 November 2009

Location: Upstairs, listening to the parrot-squawks of Tertius from downstairs
Mood: Headachey
Listening to: Pit of Goodbyes
Reading: The Canon: The Beautiful Basics of Science
Playing: Killzone 2

I am fat I am fat I am fat. This is not news, but it's not something I feel every day. However, after a stonking week previously, where I lost a few pounds and thought myself INVINCIBLE I've promptly stuffed myself more stuffy than Mr Stuffy the stuffed pig. First there was dinner at Blarney's - which we survived! Huzzah! But only just ...

Then Fisher and I went to The Four Seasons with Wheeler and Phid, where they were doing a 6 course meal and wine tasting evening. Yum.

Now sister is here, with Tertius, and we've done nothing but feed her (and neighbours). We had Sunday supper of:

Starter: tomato, goat's cheese, thyme and garlic puff pastry tart.
Main: fruit stuffed lamb (the fruit being figs, prunes and apricots - all dried - with some walnuts), fruity gravy (made with the lamb juices and apple juice, in which I'd marinated the afformentioned fruits), roast potatoes, butter fried carrots and steamed courgettes (in a vain attempt at health ... snort).
Pudding: chocolate ice cream (organic, but not made by me).

Today I told myself I needed to get back on track with a salad for lunch and some chicken noodle soup for supper. Well, I had the salad. A salad Paysane from Breizh in Perth, no less. This is not a salad. This is an excuse to rest chicken, lardons, croutons, and a poached egg on about 3 lettuce leaves. Bah! So my only hopes rest on my having a small bowl of chicken noodle soup for supper and resisting the temptation to say "feck it" and eat everything in the house. You know - to 'get rid of it' and thus remove it from temptation.

But more about our previous fun. Can I gloss over Blarney's first dinner party (cooked by her) in so cavalier a manner? Well, yes, but not if I ever want her to speak to me again. Hmm ... tempting.

No. Obviously, it was a triumph. She sensibly stuck to simple fare and did them very well. First up was a massive shepherd's pie, which I'd predicted (with glee - one of my fave things in the world). This was followed with a delicious and really very well made cheesecake, topped with blueberries. Wait ... I think it was blueberries. It could have been blackcurrants. But how could I have forgotten? Quite easily, actually, as I proceeded to get completely blindsided by alcohol. I thought I was being relatively sensible, but 3am saw me bellowing out tunes with Spartan accompanying on the guitar, whisky sloshing as I waved my tumbler to and fro. I swear, I have no idea how I managed to nurture such a hangover, but nurture it I did. Next day we were supposed to go to North Berwick for a romp on the beach with the pooches, but I sobbed quietly in my bed all morning instead and only managed to drag myself out to meet Fisher and Blar for lunch at Dobbies garden centre. Ugh. I was furious with myself for being so careless, and for being so rude to Blar (who, to be fair, didn't really seem to give a shit as she and Fisher managed to find the best TK Maxx in the world ever - entertainment I could never have bested), and also for potentially destroying the wine tasting that night. My hangovers can last for days - but luckily this one cleared by about 2pm and I was very happy to get stuck into the Four Seasons' offerings.

We arrived at St Fillan's to discover that Wheeler and Phid, to say thanks for the outing, had ordered some champagne to be put in our room. Fabulous! So, when they arrived, we got them to join us and sipped a couple of glasses of fizz to put us in the mood. Funnily enough, I'd asked Brother via text if he knew any good hangover cures, and his suggestion was 'white wine', so I was happy to test it out.

The meal was great fun. 6 good courses, including smoked eel to start with, which is my new favourite thing. The wines were well matched, and we had a little introduction to each one before the course from the bloke from Tanners, who'd provided the wine. He was quite amusing, inadvertently, because every time he kind of bitched about the food, and how hard he'd found it to match the courses up. ("Soup? Who drinks wine with soup? They're both ... well ... wet!") Instead of a great fanfare you ended up just feeling as if he'd had to settle for doing the best he could with such a shit choice. But some of the wines were really lovely. I still maintain that Reisling is unpleasantly sweet, no matter what everyone says nowadays.

After the meal we chatted 'til after midnight with a whisky each, then retired to our rooms. Fisher and I had a chalet, where the dogs were curled up quite happily awaiting us, and we drifted off to sleep to the sound of torrential rain on the wooden roof. Lovely.

Next morning, we took Baffie, Bridie, and Wheeler 'n' Phid's dog Dougal for a walk up the hill behind the hotel. It was delightful, despite the continuing rain. We got really quite wet, but there were streams, little waterfalls, woodland and a pretty view over Loch Earn at the top. Back at the car we dithered over whether to part ways, then decided that we could stop in Comrie for some lunch (for me - I only had some toast and pastries for breakfast, whilst everyone else tucked into cooked brekkie of various sizes) and a cuppa. This we did. I had a vast prawn baguette ... and then everyone else decided they were hungry after their terribly, terribly exhausting walk of 250 metres (or so) and ordered baked potatoes.

This pleasant interlude over, we decided that, instead of parting, Fisher and I would go back to Wheeler & Phid's new pad and help out. Fisher's skills with constructing flat-pack furniture were called upon, while Phid helped her and Wheeler did some other construction elsewhere. Making myself useful entailed going into Dollar, picking up some food, and cooking a beef stew on their aga for W and P to eat that night. Frankly, I just wanted to try cooking on an aga. It was ok, but hotter than I anticipated. I hope the end result was palatable, and not just a small bucket of salt and tough meat. Phid assured me, after I sent a worried text, that it was 'delicious' - but then she would say that, wouldn't she?

We left the new lovely cottage at 4, as Sister was possibly arriving around 5, and made it back just in time to warm up the house a bit before she and Tertius arrived. We cooked steak and baked potato with salad (a light option!) and collapsed into bed. All the carousing had fair taken it out of me. But could I sleep? I could not. The 5 am news came and went before I slipped into unconsciousness.

Sister is here to do housey-type shopping, and Fisher accompanied her to Edinburgh yesterday. We were all up at around 8.30, as I discovered the newsletter I edit was in a bit of a state of disarray and needed my attention. I managed to get it in order by 1.3o, and gave the dogs a bit of a wander up the hill. Then I went to Tesco, bought some provisions for Sunday supper, left a message for Shah and Epona asking them to join us, then got cooking. I prepared and stuffed the lamb, which was a leg and therefore needed boning (I only cut myself once, which is some sort of record for me), then decided I was going to take a break. I played some Uncharted 2 (hugely entertaining game, by the way - best thing since Tomb Raider, and much longer than the original. Naughty Dog rocks!), and as I was just zoning out around 6pm, Sister and Fisher returned, Shah phoned to say yes, he and Epona would be able to come to dinner, and I launched into dinner mode.

Put like that, it all sounds a bit frantic, but it wasn't. It was very pleasant - relaxed and friendly, with only a small amount of alcohol consumed - and I was able to get a reasonably early night (for us), being asleep by 1.30am.

That brings me up to today, when I've finished off the newsletter bumf, gone into Perth for lunch with Sister and Fish, given the dogs a walk up the hill, and written my blog. I've been fighting a headache for the past couple of days, no doubt brought on by alcohol, dodgy sleep, and the weather, but I'm sure it'll be better tomorrow.

Right. I've dribbled on for far too long. Just a note on last blog's book - it's a very good read about an unlikely TV star. She speaks extremely poignantly about alcoholism and her abusive relationship with her father, as well as being quite colourful in her opinions about the countryside. I recommend it if you fancy a quick, entertaining read.

Adios for now tho'.


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