You Can All Go To Hell
... for the meagre sum of only €4.99. Of course, that is, once you have queued for the obligatory two hours in the hunt for the illusive all day parking space at the shopping mall that clearly doesn't exist. Only row after row of spotty faced young men in fluorescent tabards, busily connecting to the book of faces whilst directing your pride and joy into a space not large enough to park a bicycle. Gone are the days when, wrapped up in a warm winter woolie and a ridiculous hat, you would shuffle along the icy pavements, one hand secured to your nearest in height sibling, the other wiping the constantly running emunctions onto your charity shop mitten. It was always just the one mitten. They were shared out amongst the eleven of us and we were advised to keep one hand in our trouser pockets. The oul fella was very good at solving mathematical equations when he was down to his last shilling. We would stand outside of the bakers window and watch his festive display of a brightly coloured mechanical Santa rubbing his threadbare belly and patting his hardworking dwarf's on the head. We would laugh and watch until our cheeks became as red as wee Santa and the baker would bring out warm biscuits for us to munch upon. The oul fella would take a cheeky wee nip with him and we would move on to the next window and do the same thing all the way along the street. All gone now. Now we have anonymous malls. Once inside the magnificent glass edifice of Braehead, no wait, I'm getting confused with the Audi garage along the way a bit. Once inside the not so magnificent edifice of Braehead shopping centre, you can marvel at the lack of Christmas festivities taking place. The long faces of shopkeepers as they dust off the same tired old tinsel and red cracked baubles as they lament the quickening march of internet shopping. Everywhere, delightfully filipendulous Chinese manufactured elfin, dancing to the beat of the humming from ancient air conditioning. Small pockets of unlicensed traders, busily hawking genuine Scottish shortbread in hushed tones, of which was not surprisingly made in an industrial kitchen somewhere near Chechnya. And then, there it was. Tired, still dusty, probably rescued from broken excess stock from the busiest outlet of them all, the latest delightful addition at 'The Pound Shop.' I was delighted to see that the price of going to hell in a wooden, Christmas related, bespangled Taiwanese handcart, was again on offer this year for under a fiver. Bob Cratchit and tiny Tim will be turning in their grave.
This year I have been besieged with requests for playing the part of Mr Claus at my own company celebrations. It is the one time of year when my particular wheels of industry are allowed to grind to a halt and we lay on a bash for those good enough to tolerate my ill humour, lack of tanquam and a general desire to see everyone ombrophilous in their work throughout the rest of the year. What type of sadists lurk under my employ if they wish to unleash a battle-scarred, whisky-breathed pug such as me upon their offspring? Can you imagine the nightmares, the bed-wetting and the mental repugnance that this will inevitably lead to after the event? The weeping and the caterwauling will continue long after lights out on Christmas eve. And then there's the children. I can only think it is a ploy and that the kids will be too frightened to step out of line and mess with the whole good behaviour routine as the build up to Christmas begins. "Behave yourself now, otherwise the Frankenstein Santa will bite off your head and eat your brains when you meet him at uncle Jimmy's Christmas do." At one point last year we did think of asking a short acquaintance of mine to play the part of Mr Claus, especially as he frequents a Peter Pan-esque reality on a regular basis. The only problem was that the kids would be getting confused when they were asked to name the other most famous of dwarf's. Most got the Sleepy, Grumpy, Dopey and Bashful characters, but they were pretty stumped when it came to recalling 'Drunky'. Me personally, I think I have been asked to play the role since my return from the time in the sun. I appear to have developed the slight beginnings of a belly. Don't blame it on the sunshine, don't blame it on the cocktails, don't blame it on the good times, blame it on the barbecued goodies.
I am soon to depart to deepest darkest England to patch up the rift between me and a rather pretty wee train traveller with a somewhat 80's tattooed face. I hope she likes flowers. I was thinking perhaps along the lines of self-raising. Strangely enough, I miss her.
Chefs Luxury Saturday Toast
I large fresh egg
1 egg white
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 slices whole grain bread
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, blueberries, bananas or raspberries
2 tsp of golden syrup
Heat a skillet, crack the egg and egg white into a porcelain bowl. Add the sugar and cinnamon and beat until well mixed. Pour a generous glass of single malt, tilt head and pour slowly down throat until a certain glow appears in your cheeks. Dip the bread into the egg mixture before placing into skillet for 3 minutes on each side. Remove bread and dress with the fresh fruit and drizzle lightly with the syrup. For those of Scottish descent, eat while still warm, alongside a cup or three of decent whisky laden tea to accompany the first and most important meal of the day.
Created & prepared by Chef Files