“I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking.” – Othello
Please forgive my absence and silence over this holiday season. It has been a time of much merriment, joy and glee -- all of which I promise to share with you soon. In the meantime, I offer - a cry for help.
Someone, anyone please save my liver – and my waist line!
The sage, American essayist and philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, once admonished his delicate and restrained American readers of the strange British foibles he’d observed during his travels in his remarkable treatise English Traits (1856):
“The English drink brandy and strong ale like water…[and] their daily feasts argue a savage vigor of body.”
How right Mr. Emerson was!
Christmas, of course, derives its origins from pagan ritual more than Christian, e.g. Saturnalia and Winter Solstice celebrations; and it seems to me that the English have never lost the vital link to Christmas’ bacchic past.
Is it any wonder our Puritans ancestors packed up and left?
“The best beer is where priests go to drink. For a quart of Ale is a dish for a King.” - The Winter’s Tale
Like Emerson, I have observed that the English are in fact made of much sterner stuff that we frail, Yankee-doodles are when it comes to merriment, mirth and carousing.
“The pub” is of course the bedrock of British society, the thread in the social fabric. And as a result, the English are able to survive successfully on a steady diet of liquid carbs and conversation! (With an occasional packet of crisps.)
After an night of “Carbs and Conversation,” or even better, perhaps, “Beer and Babble” at an old pub called “The Case is Altered” in the tiny, Warwickshire village of Five Ways -- where we were feted with a selection of “guest holiday ales,” appropriately named: “Elf and Hoppiness,” “Twelfth Night” and “We Three Kings” -- I awoke this morning with the distinct feeling that my blood has turned to treacle (syrup).
On Boxing Day, we met up with the DEB's family in Ratley, a quaint little village, on the edge of the Cotswolds, for drinks and "cheesy chips" at The Rose & Crown. Beautiful old pub, lovely chips, and the guest ale was of course called "Santa's Delight."
And what’s on the agenda for today? A pub lunch with friends in Alcester.
Dear Reader, I am in need of a rescue attempt, or an intervention of some kind!
Thankfully, Christmas is a once a year binge fest. As Shane Watson advised in The Sunday Times a few weeks back: “The calories you intake between Christmas and New Year do not count.”
The message is clear, a revised version of that old Middle Age maxim: “Eat, Drink and Be Merry, for Tomorrow We Diet.”