Thursday, 20 June 2013

Bubbles On A Budget

I like champagne….a lot. I also have virtually zero disposable income. This presents a quaffing conundrum if you’re a posh at heart pleb like myself. However, there are ways of indulging in the scrumptious sparkling sauce that don’t require selling a kidney.

Firstly a quick word on Prosseco. IT IS NOT champagne. It isn't even a champagne substitute. For one, Prosicko comes from a different country. It uses different grapes AND a different production method. Comparing the two would be like trying to twin Yorkshire with Dubai.

To make champers you need classy grapes like pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier. To make Poosucko you just need cold piss and a soda stream. Even Lambrini considers itself a rung up the liquor ladder.

I only came in for some milk

The big myth is that champers is expensive. Like all things you get what you pay for but you really don’t have to spend an epic amount to get a good one. A bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal is about £130 but a bottle of Louis Roederer Brut is only £30. Both are made by the same company, using the same technique, with the same grapes but one has a gold label and a longer shelf life thanks to a clever UV filtering wrapper. See if you can guess which one.

bargain prices!!

Think £30 is still a bit much? Well, if you’re prepared to hunt around the supermarkets you’ll find some cork popping deals. Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label for £24 in Sainsbury's?…..don’t mind if I do! Nicolas Feuillatte and Andre Carpentier on a Fathers Day Tesco offer for £15 each……..we’re gonna need a bigger boot!
Impulse purchases can be dangerous though. Etienne Dumont is constantly on offer. There’s a reason for that and your toilet will thank you for steering well clear.

If you’re going to buy champagne for the first time don’t buy the cheapest. My pref’d tipple is Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label and if I could, would drink it by the pint load. Which I do.
mmmm frozen raspberries mmmm

thicker glass keeps it cold

Iiii doonnt hav a pro blemm *hick*

Other bottles of note around £30 are Moet, Lanson, Laurent Perrier and Tattinger. All of which are reassuringly French sounding and rather scrummy but taste is only one half of the should I/shouldn't I equation. According to the missus, Moet makes me a grumpy drunk. Tattinger makes me a happy drunk but I get a longer buzz from Veuve Clicquot. Nicolas Feuillatte made me not want to be near anything loud the next day.

bit a Bolly daaaaarling

Drinking alone is a bit sad. You’ll need food as well!

Through extensive research I've found that foods beginning with the letter ‘C’ make a great companion. Chips, chocolate, crisps, curry, Chinese and chiwawa all work really well. I've found champagne is a very good pallet cleanser. The acidity clears and resets while the bubbles refresh to leave a fruity aftertaste. Think Cillit Bang for your gob.

Financing the fizz.
World-o-Quid shops like Poundland will be your biggest ally. Essentials like Warburtons bread, crisps, choccy and bribes for the kids can all be procured at a hugely reduced outlay compared to even the cheapest supermarket. If you can’t bear the thought of standing shoulder to shoulder with the great unwashed then get your shopping delivered online. 
“How will that save money?” I hear you gasp. 
Well, supermarkets now have an equal opportunities policy that insists a percentage of their staff be local and cranially challenged. In Stockport's case this means there's a never-ending supply. It also means there are nearly always order cock ups. A reasonably quick call to customer services should secure a free delivery and token discount off your next shop. Et voila, cash back.
If you're prepared to haggle and you can get over the secondhandedness, then eBay and carboot sales are well worth a punt. They've personally saved me thousands of squids, no really! Besides, carboots aren’t the embarrassing ailment you think they are. You've only got to look at the clientele parking to figure that out. In amongst the crappy Fords and Peugeot's are spanky new Range Rovers, Lexi (plural of Lexus), Beamers and Mercs. My personal fave parked up in a field was a 1year old Nissan GT-R in go-faster black. You've only got to Google the starting price of one to realize the rich aren't stupid. 
I think my best buy was a pair of pristine Fire XC Pro bike tyres which cost a grand total of £3. 
Total amount saved = £30
In just one purchase I'd got the rubber my bike needed and enough left over to get thoroughly mortaled.

Take my advice and start saving now, the drunken bliss that awaits you is well worth it.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Cast Off!!

You might not be aware but last October I broke my wrist, no really. I’ve tried to keep it low-key and not really mention it much. Today was the final day of being able to use my broken wrist as an excuse for being a lazy bazturd. I’ve been looking forward to this day for 8 months but it was here at last. The day was finally here! I was getting out! My in-arm-ceration was to end. At last, liberation for my re-scaffolded scaphoid. I would be free again to do the simple things like drive, use my right trouser pocket, use doors keys with a single hand, play darts, fire assault rifles and wipe my arse. I’d missed doing these things the most.

Formalities first though, hospital protocol meant a trip to Outpatients to collect the relevant paperwork, before then being dispatched to the Fracture Clinic for the necessary sawing.
Once at broken bone central, I grabbed a numbered ticket and made camp. On past experience I knew that there would be an amount of waiting to do. The next customer being ‘served’ was number 52. I was 58, this could take a while I thought but no, soon it was 53’s turn and then 54. 55 came around shortly after and 56 & 57 were just a blur. The numbers were falling like pensioners on ice and I was next!! I quickly dismantled the portable stove, packed away the sleeping bag and deflated the blow-up TV.
The slightly serial killer looking ‘Tony’ popped his head round the door and grunted my number. Like a Thompsons gazelle I leapt up and followed Tony in. Naturally he remembered me…how could he not? It seemed to give him extra impetuous to crack on (or should that be ‘off’) with proceedings. The Plaster Master sat me down, whipped out his power tool and sliced through my cast like a knife through hot butter. It tickled but the speed he was moving meant I was too scared to laugh.

Within seconds I was at the sink rinsing the crusty bits off my newly emancipated appendage. While there I noticed a young boy with his mother. He had also just been freed and we had a quick game of self-harm top trumps. My go first,
“How many bones broken?”
“One”, HAH! I had TWO plus a dislocation and torn ligament.
“Yeh but I’ve broken it twice” he replied
“The same wrist?”
The little shit had beaten me on a technicality so naturally I did the gentlemanly thing and conceded,
“We’ll call it a draw, bye”.

With that I exited the room and Fracture Clinic. The prospect of not having to see that waiting room again filled me with glee.
I strolled back to Outpatients for a liaison with the reconstruction surgeon. She was very happy with the amount of wrist movement I had but I wasn’t to ‘load it’ for at least six weeks. That meant no biking, no darts and no shooting weapons. DAMMIT. I deposited a small chocolate gift on her desk as a thank you for rebuilding me. Yes, she was "just doing her job" but it’s still nice to say thank you and reward a job well done. She was ending this arm-saga once and for all and that is something that the whole world should be grateful for. Before we parted I had time for a question:
“What happens if I break this again?”
Motionless and filled with fear she stated that to her knowledge no one has ever been stupid enough. Only a crazy twat moron of epic proportions would try. Cool I thought, I like being the first!! She’s going to ask about a reconstruction-reconstruction at the next “Hand” meeting and let me know at my 3month review. Until then, it’s probably best if I only fall off on my other side.
I left happy and bound for the physiotherapy department where an appointment would be made to get my oh-so stiff bits bendy again. On my way I popped in to Ward D5 to say thank you to the short stay surgery nurses that had put up with me three times. On my arrival they all legged it. They were probably just trying to hide their emotions at the prospect of not seeing their fave patient again. Yeh, that’ll be it. I really am that awesome. I dished out more chocolately loveliness to the woman on reception. Realizing that I wasn’t checking in for a forth time, she exhaled with relief and smiled. As I departed I saw her skipping up the corridor to the nurses room. I have that effect on people.

As I left the hospital it started to rain. Before today I had a real problem with trying to keep my cast-arm dry but it didn’t matter now. My grin didn’t last long as the light shower quickly turned into a monsoon. After a mad dash to the bus stop I pondered why it was called a ‘light shower’. If anything it was getting darker.
I only had to wait a minute before a WiFi enabled 192 came along. Once relieved of £1.90 and seated I had another gawp at my arm. The once covered up dead skin was drying up fast and falling off in a blizzard of epidermis. I couldn’t stop this malt so I decided to speed things up. Turns out that denim jeans make a good descaler. Who knew? There were only a few stops before I had to get off so I did what I could and then put my jeans back on.
My arm looks more or less normal now apart from the sun tan marks. I look like I’ve just dipped my hand knuckle deep in diarrhea. To save embarrassment I’m just going to tell everyone that I’m a bovine vet with fingerless latex gloves.

The next blog I do will be about getting fit again. My legs have zero miles in them and my hard bits are floppy. Don’t even mention the impending saddle sore! With that in mind though I think a good title for the next epic diatribe should be:

Let the arse hardening begin!!