It’s 2004. Brexit, President Trump and Coronavirus are all inconceivable, and I — with a freshly laundered English degree flapping uselessly around my ankles — am the worst Library Assistant Oxford has ever seen.
I’m still not sure how I fluked my way onto what is actually a pretty competitive and respected graduate traineeship, given I had no intention of becoming a librarian — or, indeed, doing anything more than pissing around in Oxford for another year toying self-indulgently with a truly awful idea for a novel. But fluke my way onto it I somehow did. Looking back, it was a bloody great gig: nothing more taxing than shelving unreasonably bulky Biochemistry textbooks (ye Gods, why so big?), scanning barcodes, and awkwardly flirting with Junior Research Fellows.
I was obviously terrible at all these things.
Continue reading “Inept Library Trainees, Subversive Tea Breaks and Redemptive Manzanilla”
‘How about this one?’ he says, at length, with the barest modicum of enthusiasm.
We look at the fish. Potato looks at the fish. The fish looks glassily at the ceiling. Portsmouth Fish Market falls silent once more.
It is a beautiful (if somewhat blustery) Spring morning, and we are outside Portsmouth Fish Market. For the past year or so, Amy and I have repeatedly vowed to make this peregrination — this piscine pilgrimage — but despite living half an hour or so down the road, we’ve failed to enact our vows.
Continue reading “A Squid Supper + Portsmouth Fish Market”
As if a normal negroni weren’t good enough… Thanks to Poco Tapas, Old Parn discovers the majesty of the Negroni Manzanilla and Sacred’s Rosehip Cup.
I love a negroni. And before I went to Poco Tapas Bar during a visit to Bristol last summer, I believed I made a pretty damn good one.
Poco Tapas Bar’s Negroni Manzanilla took that belief of mine to one side and gave it a bloody good shoeing.
Continue reading “The Negroni Manzanilla with Sacred Rosehip Cup – Recipe”
…is one half-bottle-sized suckerpunch of mouthjoy — the sea-wind bite, the roll of it, the swell of it, the crescendo
Sherry, sherry. I adore sherry. I adore it in its many guises and manifestations. Whenever I’m passing through a decent wine shop or supermarket, I scour the shelves for half-bottles of sherry. Because half-bottles of sherry, my dear friend, are like anchovies: my kitchen is bereft without them.
So last time I was salivating my way round Whole Foods, I tossed a half of Fernando de Castilla Manzanilla into my basket.
And Manzanilla (oh! Manzanilla!) is possibly the sherry I adore most of all.
Why? Because of its richness, its depth and its bite. This one is a half-bottle-sized suckerpunch of mouthjoy. The impossibly woody, dense, complicated smell. The sea-wind bite — like spray from the cold Atlantic. The roll of it, the swell of it, the almost overwhelming crescendo of the flavour once you have it there in your gob.
The way it leaves you gasping for another mouthful.
This is an excellent Manzanilla. I can imagine drinking it with some of those anchovies. And lemon. Salt. Bite. Yeah. That would be fucking lovely.
Staggering, mouthwatering, delicious.
Drink it. Drink sherry. Drink!
???? 4 stars (very good)
£6.49 (half bottle) from Whole Foods, High Street Kensington; £10.95 (whole bottle) from Stone & Vine