Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas Dos, Christmas Don'ts

As I said last week, it is indeed the Christmas period, and while the last post was something of a general rumination on Christmas and the importance of booze, I thought it might be worthwhile to give you a bit of an update on what’s been going on this festive season.

Well, I’ve had four Christmas dos already (official and otherwise) and one more to come tonight. It’s proving to be an expensive time of year – more so than usual.

The first one this year was the Christmas curry night that I have with the group of lads I play football with. I don’t always go, but there was an especially good reason this year, in that it was an easy excuse for getting out of one of my main work Christmas dos – the one that all the top brass go to. Yes, it was on the same night. I actually managed to come in under budget on that one, and it was good.

I’m still waiting to hear if “Colin” had another mishap at this year’s work do – or indeed, if anyone else made a spectacle of themselves. Let’s hope so, eh?

Then there was my office’s Christmas lunch, which again I came under budget on, as my line manager managed to claim it on expenses.

On Friday I was invited to attend the Christmas do of the people at my new job, which I don’t actually start until January, but I thought I’d better show my face. I didn’t get the chance to show myself up, because I needed to get to town and pick up my new suits before Slater’s closed. That was ok though; I managed to get three pints and a bottle in during the one and three quarter hours that were available.

Real ales in fancy tankards
Next up was a double header – an old skool Christmas meal with friends at The Wharf in Castlefield where every single round of two drinks I bought for myself and Mrs Cake was £8.50… outrageous! That was on Saturday afternoon. The evening saw us heading out to Stockport for a medieval themed Winter Wassale. Basically, that was a beer festival in the market hall that some very generous friends gave us tickets for, so that we could hang out with them drinking real ale from special tankards.

There was an element of fancy dress, but we didn’t partake in that. It turned out to be the least busy beer festival I’ve ever attended, so that was a bit of a relief. There was still plenty of beer and cider available as well as the usual (for Christmas) mulled wine and, most interestingly for me, two types of mead – of which I tried one.

beer menu
It was the first time I’d ever tried mead. Available in thirds of a pint for £3.50, but at 14.5% ABV, it was certainly worth a go. It wasn’t what I was expecting; sweet with a slight taste of feet, and a consistency and colour not unlike brandy. It’s definitely one for sipping and enjoying slowly.

I also decided to conduct a further experiment into the dubious marriage between beer and chocolate, being that there was a ‘triple chocolate stout’ available. It was nice, but I still contend that beer and chocolate is a combination that just isn’t required – it just tasted like stout to me. My companions all assured me that it smelled very chocolatey, but for some reason I couldn’t smell anything. I have no idea why that was, because the next day I could smell an orange on Mrs Cake’s hands, when she had merely touched one some time before. Do I have a blind spot to the smell of chocolate and beer? Maybe the combination actually works, but it is simply the case that I am unable to taste it. I don’t suppose I’ll ever know, though presumably someone enjoys these flavours and gets something out of them.

Triple chocolate stout
Now, I actually finished work on Tuesday this week, but I still had one more work related drinks reception to attend. This would be the good one – the one that all my work friends go to. That was yesterday. It got a bit weird when we started getting all existential and discussing the universe and heaven and hell, and also the impending apocalypse, which I’m sure you’re aware, is due today. It was good, though.

An that just leaves tonight, which I suppose you could call my golf Christmas do, since it’s the golf people that are meeting up. Mind you, I had a text from Chris yesterday, asking who else was coming. I didn’t ask anyone else, I replied, was I supposed to?

stamp on the back of yer hand
It’s getting ridiculous really; the more things you do, and the more groups of people you know, the more Christmas dos you end up having. Come to think of it, my first this year was actually with my main group of friends, but I didn’t count that one, since it took place in November.

Mrs Cake has had three dos of her own this week also – but two were with the same people; a sedate one for those who have kids, and a more debauched one for those who want to get messed up. She still came back from the sedate one in a right state.

Why do people wait for Christmas to decide it would be fun to go drinking with their acquaintances/colleagues? It could be just as much fun at any other time of year – perhaps even more so, since presumably it won’t be as cold and wet. Perhaps that can be your new year resolution this year – go out drinking with people more often. Come to think of it, it’s easier to wriggle out at other times of year, but there’s an obligation at Christmas, and people are suspicious of you if you never attend, like you might be a terrorist or something. I wouldn’t like to stretch the obligation throughout the rest of the year because, I suppose, your colleagues and acquaintances aren’t always friends, they are merely colleagues and acquaintances, so you don’t really want to go out with them.

Well, we’re fast approaching my last post of 2012, and not long after that the anniversary of my first ever post. I’ve enjoyed  doing it – the drinking and the writing, so let’s hope there’s plenty more to come. I might even combine the drinking and the writing next year, like Charles Bukowski but with less loose women and violence.

That’s it for now, then. See you next Friday, hopefully.

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