Cold with nasty bouts of freezing. Not the weather but how I felt this morning. The cold which had challenged my supply of handkerchiefs yesterday had now taken up serious residence and totally blocked sinuses were the order of the day. I turned the alarm off at 6:30 and fell back into bed. Awaking again at 7:45 I made my way downstairs to meet school bound colleagues and make the first Lemsip of the day.
To cheer myself up I decided that some schadenfreude was in order so 5live via the web. Tales of London paralysed by 0.2cm of snow cheered me though I felt for those who had real amounts of snow and well sub-zero temperatures and were battling on regardless. As I woke and warmed the pain came back into my joints and I seriously considered declaring Man Flu.
Common sense prevailed and a cool analysis of the situation indicated that repeating the pasta and pastry experience this morning was less important than actually making it to the Wine exam at 8am tomorrow.
Coffee and toast reinforced that view and I determined that I would read through the Wine notes so that I had some chance of answering the 100 multiple choice questions which I would face tomorrow.
More dire weather reports from the UK made the small snow showers falling here seem insignificant but ,since East Cork does not usually attract snow, it was an issue as the roads are not gritted and most people have little experience of driving in snow.
Luckily we can walk across the fields to get to school. Last evening’s tasting of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar had been hampered by the fact that only one of the new season Extra Virgin Olive Oils had arrived, the others being stuck in Dublin by the weather.
As the morning wore on more doses of Lemsip and more and more coffee began the cure that I hoped for. To go to the Demo or not? Taking the Wine exam was more important so I continued to relax and recuperate. In addition to the exam tomorrow we would have a full day of Demos with the Christmas Special kicking us off. It would at least be held in December which is a vast improvement on the average supermarket where Christmas appears to start on Easter Bank Holiday Monday.
Without much kitchen action to report upon today I have the chance to opine on Christmas. Now my position is clear I do not like Christmas. Actually I hate Christmas, and for the following reasons:
Ludicrous amounts of food are purchased for a very brief period – far more than could ever actually be consumed during the time – and a huge amount is wasted. If we seriously want to save the planet cutting back on Christmas would be a very good start.
The popular diet changes to overloads of sugar and carbohydrate.
Foods which would never gain shelf space, let alone be eaten suddenly achieve ‘must haveness’ I give you Cheese Footballs, Mixed Nuts, Dried Dates, Egg Nog and there I rest my case.
Gallons of alcohol are purchased and forced upon people at every opportunity. The pubs are full of once a year drinkers out for a good time. They may have one but any regular user of an establishment will have hundreds of amateur drinkers occupying their space, disrupting the pub and often causing trouble or just throwing up.
Everyone is expected to go to the Office Christmas Lunch. Now if you suggested that everyone went out in March or September they would look at you with bemusement at least and possible homicidal intent. Yet, at Christmas you have to go out. So you do. Inevitably they will have chosen a venue where the full XMAS Party XPERIENCE will cost only £9.99.
Think about it. If the meal, ‘free glass of wine’ and entertainment cost £9.99 the total cost of the food is about 78p. So, pressed rolled Turkey, frozen veg and Yorkshire Puddings, Industrial Gravy and all reheated in a microwave, followed by a hideous bought in dessert constructed entirely from e numbers and fat. Anyone for a good time?
But above all it is the commercialisation of Christmas that really gets me. Apart from the Easter start date people who cannot afford it are cajoled or shamed into over extending themselves for fear of being considered mean or even worse poor. Christmas is not just for Christmas it’s for three years at 29%APR.
And finally in this rant: People who turn their houses into replicas of Blackpool or Las Vegas. I do not want to see reindeer prancing across roofs, giant illuminated inflatable Santas, imitation icicles with 200kw lights inside, or neon messages of exhortation.
No if ever a ‘green tax’ was needed it should be applied to anyone who indulges in external decoration of the festive strain. And while we are at it another good green tax would be £2,000 per year tax on caravans which block roads, increase fuel consumption and road wear and are free to use at present. So there.
At that point iI feared a relapse and decided to post and then make coffee, swallow more meds and re read my Wine Notes. Should you hear a howl of anguish around 8:01 tomorrow morning you will know that my patented system for dealing with multiple choice questions does not actually work.