Monday

And On the Seventh Day, He Rested



The apology was offered in good faith by myself, not for one moment thinking that it would cause even the smallest of slight where my young niece is concerned. How wrong could I be? It would seem that teenage pregnancies are no longer a personal and private affair. Each twinge and pang are to be shared throughout the females of the family. Each of them, their hormone levels racing, find the smallest little thread to unravel over comments that would normally be considered innocuous and innocent. I arrive home, tired, foul of travel, only to find that my wife's goat has eaten my favourite sweater, while the elderly man hired to tidy the grounds and feed the chickens has absconded with my prize Buff Orpington and a wooden lamp table from the vestibule. An anonymous voice informs me he was last spotted, drunk, in a bar in a wee place just outside of Nottingham. My once controllable world has begun to melt as quickly as the polar ice caps in Australia or wherever MI5 have them stashed away these days to save the clearly undead Bin Laden from stealing back his barrels slopping over with American oil.

It has always felt slightly awkward to hear myself use the word 'sorry' ever since I watched Clint asking those roughshod gentleman killers to apologise to his rather charismatic mule. It isn't a word that slips easily from my tongue, I will admit. It was merely an oaken table, a rough cherry ran the borders, its fine lip belied its pedigree that began the unigravida turmoil in regard to my niece. It was the first household item we purchased for our own converted dwelling, an item we stumbled upon whilst browsing the usual antiquities that are to be found at Sunday fairs in Glasgow during the summer rain. How was I to know that it held sentimental value beyond reproach? The clearest memory that springs to mind was how I struggled to get the damn thing home on the bloody train. To me, it was merely a table. To my wife, well, let me just say that it was the first gift that we had chosen together. I had my eye on a rather fetching radiogram in a faux mahogany case, but as is life, women always win.

Mid-life crisis beckons its finger increasingly urgently at me it would seem. One moment I am happily spawning endless rows of children, fulfilling my biological purpose in life, the next I am considering the purchase of a motorcycle in between peeing into a cup in the corridor of a doctors office. I'm not sure who was more embarrassed. The lady with the paper towels or me for surpassing the inimitable 'fill level 'line. It stands to reason, if nature bestowed upon me the equipment of a racehorse, the very least I can expect is to pish like one also. One simply cannot turn off the tap in mid flow. How exactly does one apologise with an open fly and equipment limply to hand? It won't be long now before my pate recedes and the hair chooses to push its way, not from my scalp, but from my ears and protrude from my nose. I worry that bending to tie my shoelaces will allow a cavalcade of wind to escape from my backside increasingly without warning. Where once I browsed Saville Row for its finery of shirts, I now find myself perusing pinstripe suits that flatter my flaccid dead flesh at the ceremony of my wake.

Toy shopping for the grandchildren has suddenly changed. Where once an intergalactic space station, complete with opening doors, realistic laser rays and gamma bomb dispensers would appeal to both man and boy. It now appears to be old hat. I find myself queueing to make an appointment with a rather churlish representative of the Ubuntu company. He, I am informed, will verbigerate constantly about a subject that is alien to me, before being able to decide whether or not I am a suitable candidate to spend eleventy thousand euros on something called an Android Ram Mega Zoid Mk III. Containing an element of non explosive gigabytes, 4G's guaranteed to multi-replicate 60 gazillion pixels in under 0.1 seconds, it also exceeds the ionosphere regulations and has something called automated diacritics, which activate whenever the sun in Mexico is at its highest point. I bet it doesn't have camouflage paint and a realistic siren that shrills whenever the sand people attack. Girouettism aside, my bearded friend is about to experience a sudden onslaught of dysphoria after having my foot placed in the soft crack of his tightly trousered arse if he patronises me again!

I call into an old haunt in the backstreet of my youth. There, time has stood still. It is still very much 1980 to the day. From the long wooden bar with its three bare wooden stools stuck for a lifetime to the worn lino etched with cigarette burns and spilled blood from match day altercations with the auld enemy. The framed photie of Jinky Johnstone, still hanging from the same rusty nail above the broken jukebox. Men sit in cloth caps and worky boots in front of creamy black pints and jars of pickled eggs floating in nauseating cloudy vinegar. No one has ever apologised to each other in here. There has never been the demand for quidnunc remonstrations amongst those who come here merely to drink. No one is remotely interested in a vulva or a Volvo. No flyndrigs or English tourists looking for Marti Pellow or Rob Roy's grave are allowed to enter through the solid glass doors. No women are ever passed via the public bar phone to their menfolk, complaining of ruined dinners, lamp tables or missing chickens. This is a place where urine cups and Ubuntu devices are as foreign as French mustard to its unique clientèle. I like it. They have steak pies on the menu. Nothing else, just steak pies. I think I'll stay for a while before I leave for a wee place just outside of Nottingham.


Glasgow Steak Pie

25g sunflower oil
25g plain flour
500g braising steak, cut into bite size pieces
1 brown onion, finely chopped
3 oxo cubes
8oz button mushrooms, cut into halves
1 pint of boiling water
1 tbsp of Worcester sauce

Make your pastry first. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Toss the meat in the flour to lightly coat and then add the beef to the skillet. Fry it in the oil until evenly brown and then add the onion and the mushrooms. Splash in the Wooster sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. Let it simmer for 30 minutes until nice and tender. Add the stock to boiling water and soak the meat. Again, simmer gently for 30 minutes before covering with the pastry lid and baked in the oven for 25 more minutes. Serve immediately with nothing but a fork and a few friends.


42 comments:

  1. Don't tell me, the Òran Mór? Och, and you with your constant whining about poor parking too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hah! Not a million miles away Anthony, but the pie and a pint is usually on a Thursday if memory serves. Besides, I always park on the bridge over the Kelvin before 6, then after that along Byres Road for free.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Women have long memories.
    One of the first items we bought together - in a junk shop - was a hanging lamp.
    It was duly put in place.
    When the house was sold the buyer wanted to keep the lamp and my husband agreed. Without consultation, hardy man that he is.
    When storms arise between us the question of the hanging lamp will always surface....a hanging lamp is a hanging matter.
    It brings out the Lord Braxfield in me......

    ReplyDelete
  4. Indeed Helen, there are Aboriginal cave paintings at Ayers Rock which have less historical facts ingrained upon the walls than any chosen woman I have ever drawn swords against.

    Robert McQueen... probably one of the only men to have crawled out of auld reekie with his dignity still firmly in tact.

    ReplyDelete
  5. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What an uncaring God is my first reaction. Have you ever tried purchasing a pint of milk on a Sunday evening anywhere west of Largs?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I like the sound of that Bar. (Let's face it, I like the sound of ANY Bar!) Mrs. M doesn't like the one I frequent with the plumber. "It's full of men drinking and watching football on the telly!" Unfortunately she will not agree to accompany me on my many visits.

    Pint?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it's the bar I am thinking of, no wonder she is torn faced with it all. I mean, come on here, who in their right mind wants to watch fitba and drink beer at the zoo of a night?

      Delete
  8. Ah--pissing in a cup, it'll come to us all. I could turn it on and off like a Villeroy & Boch faucet years ago. Now...

    Women do indeed have long memories. Mine last about two hours, and so I do end up apologising (I agree Chef, there can be something *wrong* about apologising) for something I have no recollection of saying. Quite a weak position to be in.

    Now that me and Kirsty have split up, it's a constant pleasure to look about me and to know that although my knapsack is not very big, its contents are all mine.

    (P.S. I think we've found our venue, no?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I have a very special venue in mind Mr Looby. I'm looking forward to introducing you to a few close pals of mine who will enjoy hearing exactly what a visiting Englishman in our neck of the woods thinks of his hosts and their country.

      Apologising would indeed be wrong. Do you still have the axe? I bet ours will be bigger... and sharper.

      Delete
    2. I've just come from your place mate. Although I am not from the dark side like the big lump, I do share his feelings on the defence of Glesga. Run now, while you can and whatever you do don't loooook baaaaaack!

      Delete
    3. Haud on here a wee minute. I don't mind defending Scotlands honour with you Anthony, but understand this, you will be throwing bricks from your own side of the street, no mine. Shoulder to shoulder with a blue is no my idea of seeing off the auld enemy.

      Delete
    4. Aye man, I can see why you would be intimidated by standing shoulder to shoulder with real men for a change. Want me to bite the bricks in half for you? Easier to throw in smaller pieces.

      Delete
    5. Oh aye, very witty. Shoulder to shoulder and heading for the Ibrox exit at half time is more like it, eh? I should imagine biting into a brick is to be preferred to biting into one of your recipes Anthony. I seem to recall Lana's rather strange tasting mince pies at the bells a few years back. Shall I tell her the tale or shall I leave that one with you?

      Delete
  9. You had me at vulva and Volvo...............

    http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Vulva

    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  10. The world needs more places like that! where men are allowed to be men for a while until their phones ring and they are beckoned home by the boss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aye Sausage man, you'll no get an argument out of me on that score.

      Delete
  11. I am with you on apologising for the sake of it. I have to say though, if it comes to saying sorry or having to get us own dinner, then sorry it is. How was Nottingham and the recovery of the table? Did you find your Bluffy Awlington?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's just say it has been an interesting day and leave it there,eh?

      Delete
    2. Does that mean that the lamp is no longer sitting on the floor in the hall and that you will have fresh eggs again for brekkie?

      Delete
  12. jeesus h. moldovan christ on a vespa! there's a lot of feckin' testosterone in these here comments! making my facial hair grow... well... faster. being a 50+ sicilian woman, it's got a good head start.

    get the motorcycle. let's go riding!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funnily enough dollface, there is a bike to ride now. We can actually justify the leather outfits for the very first time. However, let's have a long ride in before we go out, eh?

      Delete
    2. whichever way this goes, i see a zimmer frame in my future...

      Delete
    3. It'll save you touching your toes hen.....

      Delete
  13. a rather fetching radiogram in a faux mahogany case, but as is life, women always win

    This is because women have taste.
    Sx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Once again you are correct dear Scarlet. I bow to your female intellect and the marvellous ability that most women seem to lack when it comes to having forward thinking vision. The radiogram, a 1934 Philco Cathedral Radio Model 60 is probably worth in todays market around £500. Possibly more if I had offered it for export. But no... we purchased a hall table. The cost back then? £90. The value today? No more than £20. All this because women, as you so daintily explained, have taste. No common sense, but allegedly taste.

      Delete
  14. Dear Chef, grandmother Qinan always says that aging gracefully is an uphill fight and that we all better learn how to fly. Don’t be cross about the table… we (women) often develop sentimental attachments to objects. ;)

    PS.- Still laughing at the vulva/Volvo thing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah Leni, what price laughter, eh? Worry not about my apparent crossness, it is merely a man-grumble to hide the fact that I have other things going on in my life that require my attention. Your wee granny was right hen, wise words from a wise woman.

      Delete
  15. Funnily enough, the bar you describe is very much like the one I used to bartend at.
    And yes, I was generally the only female in the place.
    Ever.
    Made awesome tips though! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are some places that women really should not enter into. You will understand more than most hen, you have experienced it first hand.

      Delete
    2. I do Chef. Very much so!
      I think the only reason why I was tolerated is because I've known most of them my entire life and they knew I was raised by wolves! ;) lol

      Delete
  16. Wolves, no. Foxes maybe!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I shall always treasure your original steak pie which turned out to be the last supper.
    Very greedy of your man to steal both a table and your Buff Orpington (I had to look that up and very pretty it is too.)
    I wonder what you did/said to warrant an unforthcoming apology?

    m

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am honoured that my dish brought pleasure to your table dear lady. Not only am I in your heart, but now it seems, also your stomach.

    The table, a mere trinket, not of any real value to Mr Thief, however, Clarissa my prize Buff is a character that I cannot be without and is therefore priceless. Borders have been closed, airports are on standby and I have shadowy figures waiting to board trains at a moments notice should Clarissa be located.

    I'm afraid some things just cannot be divulged twice in the same week Patricia, not unless I wish to come home to unironed shirts and a chilly ambience.

    ReplyDelete
  19. It's a winner, a sure chicken dinner. Clarissa is at this moment in time basting herself in a nice warm oven somehwere in England. Be thankful you still have the goat.

    ReplyDelete
  20. MISSING!

    A Buff Orpington chicken aged 5
    Answers to the name of Clarissa
    Last seen being tucked into a bag
    Reward offered for her safe return
    No polis involvement guaranteed.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Please... send help... am being... held hostage... by Gordon Ramsey... can't hold out... much longer.

    ReplyDelete

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