Sunday

The Importance of Not Being Ernest

Mutton does as mutton is.


The small wooden tram approached us on ancient rusted rails, fuscoferuginous and ginglyform through overuse, they protruded dangerously from the rain-slicked cobbles like strangely coruscant snakes. Clithridiate in all the wrong places, a thousand centuries of rain had not improved the road that held the gnarled iron above potholes large enough to ingest a small bovine creature. A tangible order of boarding was clearly not to be. Around me, supermarket jeans, garish faux leather zip-up jackets and the obligatory shapka-ushanka dictated the dress code. A strange odour of liquorice hung in the fetid air inside the closed carriage. A large woman draped in a mans overcoat with an elongated liripip, oozing viraginity beneath her mullet-shaped head, stared knowingly at the twisted remains of savagery that forever hangs from the corner of my mouth. It was an under-lidded gaze that finally alerted me to the fact that her left pupil was in fact constructed of a replica porcelain and dead to all but the touch. I took in the re-used and crumpled brown paper sack upon her knees. One corner had ripped to expose a parsimonious bag of blackened oranges and an elasticated wrap of scallions edging towards the last few remaining hours before the inevitable vegetable slime set in. The ersatz coffee, jentacular of course, from the hotel lobby, had begun to work its way perilously close to my exit door. With every groan, creak and substantial twist of the bogey wheels, my lower intestine, brontide and borborygmus to the extreme, made many an orchestral tuning noise deep within my bowel.

The uniformed man, pyknic, very adept in the art of grapholagnia, yclept Ernest, according to the faded brocade name tag on his breast, quite notably a dedicated autotonsorialist, sat audaciously  puffed up within the confines of an overtly prominent metal cage. Green in fabrication, thickly coated with decades of obligatory municipal paint. The dull doubled eagle insignia adorned the very apex of the structure. A symbol which appeared on everything from gable ends on tall buildings down to official looking uniforms that littered the Slavic market area as frequently as the drab weather-worn statues of Radegast. Beneath his low brow protruded a nose so perfect in curvature that it ended with a ski-slope flourish as curtly as it had begun. Its symmetry took into account the lank curl of his damp, grey hair that gingerly refused to lean itself upon the frayed collar of his shirt giving him a cartoon-esque appearance. His predilection for nidorosity enough to make a corpse boak. Before me sat a man who had reached the very summit of nothingness. I proffered a handful of brown coinage in the centre of my palm towards him. My eyes told him that he could take advantage of my monetary offering. His eyes told me that I was beneath him with my western lack of currency as he slowly extracted the exact amount and placed it into a compartmental tin with very few paper monies in evidence. He placed a quarter roll of thin shiny lavatory paper before me as he used his foot to click access to the worn brass turnstile that guarded the entrance to the public conveniences. His eyes followed me as I rounded the iron corridor and gazed upon row after row of doorless stalls as other men squatted nonchalantly about their daily business.

The heels of her shoes sloped at alarming opposite angles as my eyes followed her rotund behind as it rolled and bucked its way across the dark wooden floor of the restaurant towards the kitchens. Just before she reached the double doors she reached up and removed what appeared to be the plastic plate that held her two front teeth in place to hide the indignity of her prematurely sagging face. I wondered if domestic violence or the malnutrition of a cabbage based diet had so vociferously dislodged her from her youth to face the world as it now saw her. Alphamegamia, the eternal curse of all vulnerable women, a common practise amongst so many broad-jawed of her ancestors. Maritodespotism, I pondered if an invisible husband beat her on a regular basis or just the ravages of such an impoverished backdrop was rapidly taking its toll and speeding her towards the somewhat familiar look of  most Croatian females east of Bohemia. I noticed that she had an opened book by J. Rostafinski at her tall pedestal desk situated by the entrance to the dining hall. A probable sharp brain inside her sadly sack-like body promptly reminded me that we are each as we are and not at all like the image we project to others. I found myself distracted by her total lack of attractiveness to the male gender and reflected on the brass ring that adorned her finger by way of a wedding band. LSD, frottage and 60s images of naked women permeated my mind until I closed it before further flashbacks could turn me from my soup. I doubted that she had ever experienced the pleasure of removing the agraffe to the roar of cachinnation of friends. Batrachophagous quidnuncs were her only audience behind the tightly pulled curtains that held her captive when the swill-room was closed. Ennui, seeking life, her only pleasure the long forgotten dusty books, lambent amongst the scullery shelves she sat.

The curtain closed ceremoniously after the second act and a short interval was to take place while hired hands hurriedly changed the poorly constructed wooden props that hid thinly behind a lick of paint that had once advertised the Esso company and its oil based products. It had taken me several minutes during the first act to decide that the white light of the overhead rigs badly reflected the fact that history overlooked the apparent relevance between the tragedy of operatic performances and the significance of topping up your engine oil in between services. My thoughts were interrupted by the barman, a displeasing osculator of patrons, saprostomous, jumentous, he handed me what he very proudly described as 'genuine Scotch whisky'. The fact that the over-used word ' Scotch' only really exists in American movie writers minds did not curb my enthusiasm for the taste of something deliciously strong. I did not have the heart to tell him that the liquid he had served me should never be taken with ice or any type of mixer. Unless, of course, you are somewhere where the locals still wear paper train drivers hats and leather pantaloons to go about there weekly shopping. I removed the ice and again rebuffed his attempt to pour soda water into my glass. An assuage of drunken patrons, stentorian and severely lacking in zeitgeist pertaining to the role. I watched as he discreetly consumed the contents of a local liquor used as a preposterous apotropaic. I returned to my seat for the final act, my throat dry and raw while his offering of whisky continued to remain untouched.

As the blackest of rain beat hard upon the windscreen of the battered taxi and continued to retard my onward journey, my eyes glimpsed towards the faded sign that barely spelled the word airport. My thoughts turned once more towards food. Tarantism, visions of deliciously smooth chilled Guinness, warmed rum and the piping hot mutton stew with plump carrots at the long wooden table in the welcoming home of my old mumpsimus, usually capernoited friend in Limerick was again calling me home.


 Mutton Máirtín Stew

several large scrubbed spuds
fresh organically grown plump carrots cut into small chunks
1 large white onion, chopped
3lbs boneless Scottish leg of lamb
fresh rosemary
fresh sprigs of thyme
a builders handful of flat-leaved parsley
1 lemon
4 cloves of garlic, smashed, not chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of ground black pepper
a dozen bottles of Guinness (for the love of all things holy, never use cans) 12 ounces to be used in the cooking process, the rest for your table.
2 cups of homemade chicken stock
a handful of decent closed cup mushrooms
a cupful of garden peas. Frozen can be used, but hang your head in shame while you slip them out of the freezer.

Preheat your oven.

Layer the spuds, then the carrots and onions into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Remove the string or netting from the lamb, open up the roast and place it, cut side down, on top of the vegetables. Rub the olive oil into the meat by hand and season. Combine the rosemary, thyme and parsley into a small bundle and tie with kitchen string. Tuck it under the lamb for the best results. Sprinkle the lemon zest and garlic over the lamb. Pour the Guinness and chicken stock over the the veg.

Use feeling when adding the glorious essences of the stout. It must be done with grace and as delicately as a virgin gently weeing into a spring mountain stream on a cold morning. Be advised that those of you pouring from a great height or with a certain fluster will swim in the pools of an imaginary hell for all eternity should you get this important procedure wrong.

Finally, cover and allow to simmer for three hours before adding the mushrooms. Remove from the oven after thirty minutes and add the peas, cover and allow to stand for five more minutes. Use forks to pull apart the tender plump meat before serving into medium-deep white dishes. Sadly, if you do not have the appropriate colour crockery you must not partake of this dish. We must adhere to standards of a traditional nature. This isn't Las Vegas. Cover with the veg and tasty gravy, add the remainder of the parsley and serve with crusty bread slathered in rich butter and sprinkled with white pepper. Pour the Guinness into chilled glasses and enjoy with good friends.

38 comments:

  1. Not bad for a Scottish scrotum, actually funny in parts but you have made a typo spelling the word virginity.

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    1. vi·ra·gin·i·ty (vī'ră-jin'i-tē), A rarely used term for the presence of pronounced masculine psychological qualities in a woman.

      Nice try though Cheesus. I am however somewhat surprised you are not more familiar with this word given the state of the women in your part of the world.

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  2. You always make me smile my friend. The big chair at the head of my table awaits your arse!

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    1. That'll be grand. I also have my eye on the soft comfortable armchair beside the fire to dry my dampened clothes and restore blood flow to my somewhat weary hooves. Sorry about the mud stains on your hall carpet, but you didn't leave the key in its usual place and I had to use the only brick in the front garden that wasn't encumbered by the rusting wheel of an oul Ford Sierra.

      I'll be putting your dinner out at the back of 8. Bring in bread and milk and try not to be so late that the pot grows cold in the interim.

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  3. Chef, it is unusual for me to feel sick when reading the descriptive terminology bandied about like spent bowling ball pins up above but this time i googled the word nidorosity and wished i hadnt. The situation has not been helped that i was about to tuck in to a salami sandwich. perhaps a warning next time not to look up words that are not heard outside of a university.

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    1. Nice of you to bring the subject matter up again Anthony. Is it the salami dinner on a Sunday that may well be sticking in your throat perhaps? Och man, whatever are you thinking? You'll be dancing on the sabbath next and we all know that leads to fornication.

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  4. Budapest,then?

    I could do the lamb, but not Scottish... it would be from the Barbadian Blackbelly hogget in the freezer...the rest of his tribe still grazing in front of the house.
    But the Guinness comes only in cans...it is a heathen land....

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  5. Nošovice to be precise.

    Blackbelly hogget will suffice, Barbadian or just plain baa-baa will not inhibit the flavours, but for the love of all things holy, do not cut across the neck dear lady without first saying the rosary, especially as it goes so well with all dishes lamb in origin.

    Canned Guinness is a sin, however in an emergency dim the lights, draw the curtains and keep your back to the windows. We wouldn't want the locals to think that standards are dropping quicker than the popularity of the Mormon church.

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    1. The rosary? Granny would be rising from her grave, Fox's Book of Martyrs in a claw as skeletal as it was in life....

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    2. We simply cannot raise up the dear lady from her final resting place merely to serve a base dish of mutton. No, that would simply not be the correct etiquette for which we both strive so hard for. In order to cease the onward gallop of me about to saxify through uttering such a glaring faux pas on my part, may I suggest a quick chorus of 'Jerusalem' and a swift daub of Croft's original sherry behind each ear during the cooking process?

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    3. Old 100th and a drop of the cratur might best placate her...

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    4. And I do both apologise for the Latin on my response to your comment on mine - I knew you'd get the reference - and rejoice in your response which made me appreciate once again the wonders of that language and the way in which it has formed our minds.
      Chapeau. Chef!

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    5. The mind expands with every luscious vowel and etched letter that passes our tongues dear lady. It is always my pleasure to converse with such a sharp mind.

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  6. Ha, Ha!!
    And you would really dislike what I do to a shot of single malt Whisky.
    Sx

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  7. My dearest Scarlet, I doubt that anything that you personally would do is capable of creating a feeling of displeasure within me. Okay, I will admit that on occasion when you snarf, snurl and snoach whilst thinly disguising that highly comedic 'alleged' silent passing of wind thing that women of a certain age do when lifting a frozen turkey from the freezer cabinet within Sainsbury's, it can be tiresome when following in your wake. I will also add that you do become rather struthious wherever literature is concerned, which can lead me to believe that your gene pool may well be rather stagnicolous. However, after watching you struggle during the act of both tachyphrasia and trullization, I have decided that you are genuinely warm of heart, if not more than a little giddy. I also understand that imbibing malt whisky when mixed with ones own urine can quite effectively cure both crotch rot and trench foot within a fortnight. With this in mind I have popped a bottle or two of man wee in the post for you. Good health my dear.

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  8. We are all part of the Lords flock. The bible teaches us that by staying close we learn that togetherness is a pure Christian act of uniting under the only true God. We should always remain harmonious and relentless in pursuit of doing good deeds amongst one another.

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  9. Although it is somewhat of an anomaly to partake in a quodlibet where you as an individual are concerned, I will just say that the absence of parousiamania contained in this comment is a refreshing alternative to the usual mindset of ichthyomancy that falls from your tongue.

    Keep it up.

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  10. Blimey, you are on fire!
    I will return to comment further.... after completing some further education, which, as you can imagine, may take some time....
    Sx

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    1. I'm thinking Christmas....2017.

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  11. Tis a big wordy night then.

    But what are we tucking under the lamb please sir?

    xxx

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    1. Dear lady, how terribly inconcise of me not to clarify the position of my aromatic bouquet garni. I have since ceased my soiree further into a sesquipedalian trance long enough to correct my mistake. My apologies...

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    2. See on this end of the world, Swahili is only spoken after one too many.

      xx

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  12. Cheeky arse! Nowt wrong with our women I'll have you know. They are tigers with tails, the lot of them. Watch out for the claws.

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  13. Tigers eh? That's nothing. My oul fella had the heart of a lion and a life long ban from Edinburgh zoo.

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  14. Bloody hell, I had to take that in several instalments. Some corking new words there to stuff up my sleeves. Can you help me with "jeantacular" and "clithridiate"?

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    1. Clithridiate, a shape akin to that of a keyhole. Buckled, hollowed, oval in appearance.

      Jentacular, a breakfast which is taken earlier then normal in the morning.

      Google... a search engine designed to aid art students too lazy or too hungover to look up words in a thesaurus.

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    2. Hmmm.... that's strange. I could have sworn they weren't in the other day. And I'm equally certain me missing them had nothing to do with bottle and a half of cheap Rioja.

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    3. Could it be the pungent aroma of greenery that is being cultivated as we speak underneath your very nose? Take my advice and and pass this along to your new lodger, just to make sure, eh?

      Xin lỗi, nhưng bạn đang phát triển một chất bất hợp pháp trong nhà của tôi? Tôi phải giết hoặc vỡ bởi cảnh sát? Bạn có được bất kỳ mẫu miễn phí?

      Don't worry too much if I do turn out to be correct. You may however wish to practice storing tobacco for currency in a warm dark place for when you reach the top landing at Barlinnie.

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    4. Och ye of little faith. She is at the moment doing a convincing demonstration of a postgraduate Finance student (and more importantly, paying on time). But I always stand to be corrected!

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    5. Aye Looby, I'm sure everything is hunky-dory and there is nothing at all to worry about. I imagine a similar conversation took place in the mens room at Barings bank when one exec commented to the CEO that Nick Leeson was missing from his desk and that the coffers appeared to be strangely empty.

      Faith is for those perceived to be gullible. Little Faith is for those of us long of tooth. Good luck my friend, I will send you soap and tobacco to get you through those terribly long days. Let us not even discuss the terribly long, dark nights!

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  15. Having been freshly reformed from lounging in a concrete box with steel shutters, I am glad to be back on the scene and viewing such delicacies as above. The so called food on the inside is barely tolerable but in that world is the least of many daily problems. Anyway it's glad to be back and walking free, yesterday I stood at the ocean for hours allowing my emptied senses to rekindle what had been taken away. I will never go back(That's what I said the last time) I detest the feeling of uncertainty and the keeping of the noggin on a swivel 24/7. This is the first blog I have visited and I thought about you and your former career in G-Town while sitting in gen. pop. because there is not much to do other that survive and dream. Cheers for letting me drop all this but as you can imagine I am buzzing with life again and can't wait to dive in the deep end. And most importanly I will keep my hands to myself unless an another uninformed ne'er-do-well puts his hands on the bairn then the cycle will begin....Cheers mate. Dundee Sausage.

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    1. Oscar Wilde spent his time writing fine literature whilst incarcerated within Reading gaol. He found he had a newly acquired passion in both the Latin and Greek written and spoken word. His reflections have in turn helped others seeking a higher education instead of simply sitting facing the bricks and waiting upon the door to open. Reflection is vital if we are to keep our sanity. Sanity is vital if we wish to reflect on our freedom.

      May I suggest that you also pick up a copy of a little known book entitled 'A Sense of Freedom' by an author with the initials J.B? I doubt you will fail to understand the relevance. Oh, and welcome back.

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  16. Will there be a written test, complete with vocabulary definitions, after this? ;)

    As long as it ends with something warm from the kitchen. (Boys, play nice!)

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  17. Alas dear lady, the solfeggio test was conducted less than an hour ago. I awarded you a D - in your absence, but made it up to an A + after again sampling your extremely tasty almond tart recipe.

    Unfortunately the only thing left that is warm in my kitchen at the moment is the straw bedding we occasionally put down for our Limerick guest.

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  18. holy brainlock, fella! i'm still hungover from my weekend! dropping ancient and eloquent descriptors on a poor unsuspecting party girl is a tough form of re-entry! i'll have to rethink my summer holiday plans -- picking up the dear and delicious nursemyra and dragging her off to croatia this summer. on the bright side? we'll be the loveliest ladies on the beach!

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  19. Speaking of re-entry, do be sure that Ms Myra and your good self remember to send me many, many photies of your nocturnal activities during your time spent frollicking... I'll supply the envelope, I'll even lick your stamp.

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    1. we can oblige, good sir. even better? bring yer own damn stamp...

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Thank you, the chef is currently preparing an answer for you in the kitchen. Do help yourself to more bread.