For much of the last few weeks, I've been lain low by the disease of kings. If you want an idea of how excruciating the pain in and around my left ankle has been, I actually went ten whole days without a drink at one point. Seriously. Ten!
It's an insufferable tease too, this gouty fucker. Just when I think it's getting better and I can return to enjoying my usual hearty quantities of ale and meat, the bloody pain strikes again and I'm back spending days on end sat indoors on a diet of low-purine food and Naproxen.
However - and I'm probably setting myself up for another uric fail here - it does finally seem to have subsided somewhat, allowing a pain-free me to focus on some of the really rather good stuff that's been happening lately.
And indeed, to share these good times with my readers.
1. Presenting the Pub of the Year trophyThe Craft Beer Company are worthy winners, and this week I handed over the trophy, with their name on it for a second time.
|Here you go, guys. All yours... at least until mid-2015!|
|I must try that hop-flavoured whisky some time...|
2. Good butcher, good breakfastCompletely by accident, I stumbled upon Ripley's butchers in Cheshunt last Friday (quite literally stumbled, as I was limping at the time) and, apart from being in the middle of North Nowhere, it's rather brilliant.
A big meaty breakfast on Saturday probably wasn't the best idea given my condition, but with black pepper sausages, black pudding, pig's kidneys and possibly the finest bacon I've ever enjoyed, it proved irresistable.
|Believe it or not, Ripley's has been run by the family for over 150 years|
|This little lot only cost about 8 quid|
|It made for a memorable and meaty breakfast|
3. I got me a new phoneI was very worried about getting a new phone, following the slow death of my beloved Symbian OS.
Turns out I had diddly-piss to worry about. The Nokia Lumia 930 is fucking awesome. It integrates all my stuff together - contacts, calendars, work, play, beer, food, everything. And I can play classic console games on it.
Forget about the overpriced, pretentious i-shite and the way-too-dominant-oh-shit-we've-become-everything-we-claimed-to-hate Android.
This phone is great in so many ways. And these pictures come courtesy of the 20 megapixel camera.
4. The Pork Scratchings Premier League has new championsI like a good pork scratching with my beer, and for a while now we've sort of accepted the MS brand Black Country scratchings as being the best available, or at least, the best widely available in London.
Having tasted them, I'm blown away. These are scratchings like no others I've tried from a mainstream, widely-distributed brand. I think they're cooked less than most generic scratchings, because the packet contains no burnt ones whatsoever, and all manage to retain the feature of crackling that most scratchings lose - the quality of going slightly gelatinous in the mouth following the initial crunch.
I daresay they won't be to everybody's taste, but if you like your pork scratchings to taste authentically cracklingy, you're in for a treat.
Strangely, the current issue of Viz is the first one in absolutely fucking ages where the 'Mr. Scratchings' ad is nowhere to be seen, so naturally I'm worried that they've gone out of business.
Hopefully it just means that they've finally found their target market. Me.
5. Obscure blog posts inexplicably getting thousands of hitsOK, occasionally I have to do some web analytics stuff as part of my day job, but even as a semi-expert I'm completely at a loss to explain why a recipe I blogged over a year ago continues to be so hugely popular.
The Ultimate Roast Chicken Sandwich was undeniably delicious, but why is it getting 1500+ views a week now? I'm not promoting it all (apart from possibly here, obviously) and there's no good reason why the post should have such enduring popularity. Is it the mildly amusing 1980s pop culture references? The crispy skin? The sausagemeat stuffing and winey glaze?
I can only conclude that Stephen Fry must be tweeting about it on a regular basis.