Thursday, 20 March 2008

Grousing Matilda


Our antipodean friends will obviously have been enjoying their Glorious Twelfth in February rather than August but it has not escaped my attention that this was about the time that a flood of whinging and grousing started to appear in this and associated blogs. To celebrate this winter mood swing I have managed to unearth from the archive this little gem. I am reminded of the fantastically grumpy hotelier who would begrudgingly accommodate our annual trip North of the border. Angus was keen for the bottle and on one occasion he failed to make it back from town leaving myself and a colleague to cook dinner for the entire hotel. In an effort to "make hay while the sun shines", Angus had let most of the front lawn of the awful, Victorian, red sandstone pile to the camping fraternity - equally concerned to preserve his grass, this didn't stop him from taking out the grazing rabbits from between the tents at dawn with his trusty Lee Enfield 303. Strewth Shiela, one for the barbie ! MORE FIRE-POWER.

12 comments:

Toby Savage said...

Chablis with Grouse? Surely some mistake?

Peter Ashley said...

Love it, particularly the accidental arrangement of pre-packed butter, cork far from the bottle and the Silk Cut packet casually lying on its side. Very Raymond Hawkey, very much a grouse-oriented version of his cover for Deighton's Penguin Ou est Le Garlic. Oh no, sorry,the Unmitigated Deighton Obsession again.

Diplomat said...

The Cablis might have something to do with the dodgy hotel wine list and is part of the emergency consignment from the boot of my car. When travelling to "The North" I have found it a wise precaution to pack a mixed case incase of breakdowns. The pre-packed butter is a fine clue to the state of the establishment.One saving grace would be the bathroom on the second floor landing complete with early Edwardian plumbing - the bath itself was the venue for the 1984 synchronised swimming world championships.

Toby Savage said...

Very wise to always carry an emergency case, Diplo. I've went to Scotland three years ago. I'll never go there again. Can't see the point. Travel a similar distance in the opposite direction and you're banging on Ron Combo's back door marvelling at how hot it is, as Ron eases the cork out of a superb chilled Prosecco.

Peter Ashley said...

Members of the Unmitigated Family have gone North for Easter. Skye, in fact, which I thought was a brand of blended Scotch. Their provisions will not, I expect, go much further than a Co-op bag bulging with ready-made Gin & Tonics (Gintos?)and the new Duffy CD.

Diplomat said...

Marvelous - carry on.

Diplomat said...

By the way Peter - the striped shirt and dodgy "daktari" waistcoat are as per the Banks Pipes picture - obviously same trip, '90/'91

Peter Ashley said...

Oh, that's you is it? I had you down as the one with the impossibly-patterned pullover who I've only just noticed is about to do a ventriloquy act with the grouse.

On a completely different note, I've just managed to get my washing dry (with the aid of my new Wilko line prop) in about 30 seconds. So much for the wireless telling me it was going to piss down all day. I'm going to reward myself with tea and cake in Baines, Uppingham.

Diplomat said...

No that isn't me, but the banks of banks pipes fame.

Camilla Jessop said...

A fine looking meal let down by the vulgar packet of silk cut (I refuse to give them capital letters). I had rather imagined you - or prehaps your colleagues - to be Sobranie Balkan smokers, or maybe Black Russian. Perhaps some nice Abdullah at a pinch....

Peter Ashley said...

Oh no Camilla. Capstan Full Strength, Senior Service. No foreign stuff, unless you're Diplomat, who's named after his favourite fag. Or one's doing a Len Deighton / Raymond Hawkey pastiche with a packet of Gauloises.

Diplomat said...

Camilla - you're quite right about the silk cut, I beleive the owner runs greyhounds as well. I have found that in desperation they can just give you necessary rasp in the lung that we true smokers look for if you rip the filter off and pull very hard. Personally I'm always after a pure Ismir tobacco but this is proving hard to get hold of. As a back up I have a reliable source of Capstans and Senior Service but also keep a sealed ex WD stock tin of 50 Capstans in the truck for real emergencies - don't forget the can opener !yIcidrawaionm