Year 2009: Chapter 7

Monday 2nd November

Today, a superb, enlightening tasting in the hallowed chambers of Vintners Hall organized by Decanter magazine, convening a dozen Tokaji producers to show their latest vintages. It is an absolute pleasure to partake in a comprehensive tasting of a more "peripheral" wine region that deserves more of the limelight. I duly respond with diligent note taking of every single wine and it is the dry Furmints that really catch my eye. Unfortunately the Hungarian language sounds distantly related to Welsh in that vowels are banned.

I return home to find my treatise on Pontet-Canet blushing with pride, getting a very positive reaction in cyberspace. How rewarding to receive some bon mots after all that work. I work through the evening and when I start hallucinating from staring at the screen too long, veg out on the sofa to watch Kurt Russell and his eye-patch escape from New York: perfect Monday night celluloid fodder.

Tuesday 3th November

Tapping at the keyboard the entire day and then in the evening, head into London, first to pick up some Japanese victuals for the family lest they starve to death through lack of seaweed or rice. My backpack is as heavy as paratrooper yomping across Dartmoor thanks to a 2kg bag of rice and a bottle of Kikkoman soy sauce, the engine oil of a Japanese wife, which I have specific instructions must come from Japan and not brewed in Europe, lest a decree nisi be waiting of the dining room table when I return home.

I then make my way down to the Institute of Directors for a heavyweight vertical tasting of Barsac supremo Chateau Climens from 1966 all the way back to 1918 via fifteen vintages that range from the sublime to the ridiculous (that's you, wretched 1936). After the tasting, I stroll to Leicester Square where Jim Carrey has been attending the premier of his Yuletide offering and head for the three-Michelin star KFC, where I order a three-course meal to cleanse my palate of moribund Chateau Climens 1918. It does the job, though I doubt this is the reason why Colonal Sanders perfected his 11 secret herbs and spices.

Wednesday 4th November

For some inexplicable reason, none of Lily's classmates are met en route to her school and when we arrive in the playground, she is faced with a pack of feral young boys going beserk, rather than her female compadres promising undying friendship and hugging each other. I tease, I can't help it, nonchalantly whisper that her clique have abandoned her, emigrated to Japan and naturally she believes every cruel word. So when her best friend Lillian does eventually turn up, a broad grin spreads across her face, they embrace and promise eternal friendship until the end of time.

All this before Ms. Prescott has even opened the class doors.

I spend the entire day writing, doing menial tasks, replying to messages, completing several par-boiled articles and relocate to Guildford Library in the afternoon. Yet again, I have the pleasure of the company of grumbling, misanthropic, curmudgeonly pensioners flicking through the FT as if they work for Goldman Sachs. Maybe they do: they are undercover. Yonder, an indescribably smelly male has his nose in an autobiography. I cannot see how brushing up on the life of Harpo Marx is going to help him off the streets, but maybe he knows better?

Thursday 5th November

Work through the morning and then back to the Naval Club in Mayfair for a Pichon Baron/Suduiraut tasting with Christian Seely. The welcome absence of one particular MW means that there are fewer interminable, technical questions that bore the pants of everyone and Christian is in typical jocular form, his bow tie happy in Mayfair's salubrious environ. Afterwards I work in La Quotidiene coffee shop where I make a small latte last for two and a half hours, then down to Roberson for a Pinot Noir tasting. I have been warned that it was for beginners and would I mind? Actually, it is refreshing to taste with neophytes, beginners making their first tentative steps on their wine Odyssey, instead of being surrounded by sages that relish expounding their expertise. Sure, they make comments that defy logic, but hey, that is all part of the learning process. The wines themselves are mediocre apart from a delicious Ata Rangi 2005. It seems to take aeons to reach Guildford thanks to my train connections refusing to connect, I watch the fag-end of Question Time when the audience usually starts flagging because all the controversial questions have been asked, watch a repeat of "The Thick Of It" which is even funnier the second time round and then fall asleep.