Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It's that man again!

For those of you who are recent converts to the Diaries you may not be aware that one of our staples, particularly on the old site, was a review of grappa purveyors across the UK, courtesy of our oldest correspondent.

Anyway, after a long sabbatical in a secure unit and drying-out clinic he is back with more of his colourful ramblings. We hope you enjoy...

Pizza Express, 1 Deanhaugh Street, Edinburgh

Here is a box. A musical box. Wound up and ready to play. But this box can hide a secret inside. Can you guess what is in it today?

Who could it be children? Doctor Mopp on his rounds? Windy Miller skilfully dodging those windmill sails or could it be local gossip Mrs Honeyman?

Oh feck! It’s none of them. Instead it’s Martino the Grappaholic back with more inane ramblings of a scemo.

Saturday 22nd July was my birthday and as ever I thought, “I feel the need, the need for grappa” so I rounded up my wingmen (Ged – call sign “Guinness”, Lynne – call sign “Strega” and Lol – call sign “Tequila”), dodged a few MIGs and ended up at Pizza Express in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.

I admit I didn’t hold out much hope of hitting the grappa target on this hop. Pizza Express is a chain restaurant but where there are Italian words on the menu there’s always a chance. Anyhoo after the pizza was dispatched I decided it was the bottom of the ninth, the scores were tied and it was time for the big one. As the waitress approached to take the coffee order I was getting good tone so I switched to missile lock and took the shot.

“Do you have grappa?”

“Yes sir we do.”

And Ortiz has connected. The ball is flying towards the Green Monster. It’s over the wall and onto the Interstate. HOME RUN!!! Red Sox win! Red Sox win!

To be fair, the grappa was a pleasant surprise. Not a classic by any means but very drinkable nonetheless. Subtle in taste and colour (slightly golden), it was a great way to end a birthday meal. Pizza Express did make it a difficult mission by not having grappa on the menu and not displaying it openly at the bar but as a grappa Top Gun it takes more than that to stop me getting the prize.

So after a few more tours of duty round the bars of Edinburgh it was time to return to base. Hopefully it won’t be too long until I get a further mission to liberate the grappas of Edinburgh from their glass prisons.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The time Lord

Sunday night is going to be such a special and nervous event at the same time. I admit, I have never known time drag so much as waiting for the World Cup final to arrive. I remember the same thing back in 1982 and 1994 but this time seems even worse. Every day seems to take an age. And on Sunday every hour before kick-off will seem like an eternity.

It got me thinking about the time-warping qualities of grappa. It has the ability to both slow-down and speed-up the passing minutes. I will give you two cases in point. I once famously sat down with an old drinking partner of mine (Martino anyone?) to polish off a bottle of my father's grappa ai lamponi (grappa with raspberries in it). With that job done it was about midnight, time for my old pal to head home, time for me to head up the stairs. We said our goodbyes on the doorstep. When I got up the stairs to my bed, however, it was suddenly 3am. Martino swears it took him the same three hours to walk home, even though it was only a few hundred yards away. Spooky or what?

The reverse is happening today. I partook of a couple of grappinas last night for the first time in a while with my uncle and father in tow. Now this afternoon at work seems to be lasting an age. Dr Who and his tardis don't know the half of it. A half decent bottle of grappa and you can twist time all you like.