We’ve had a bit of a Christmas tree nightmare truth be told. Yesterday we began the day nursing a mild hangover, so off we tootled for a nice cuppa and a bacon buttie at a nearby café.
I’ve been nagging abut a tree for ages – I love my real Christmas trees. But The Other Half isn’t too keen, so after the said cuppa and buttie, I was despatched to buy a tree. On My Own.
It’s a shame you can’t take your furniture and the corner of the room with you when you go and buy a real Christmas tree. It looked fine outside the chap’s shop. Just the right size. It looked perfectly upright too, just outside the chap’s shop. Not lopsided in the least. And it was a perfect fit in the Christmas tree holder just outside the chap’s shop. Who would have guessed it wouldn’t be a perfect fit in ours.
Anyway, six hours later, with a little bit of help from an electric saw, we had a tree up in the corner of the room. The dog emerged as if to say are we safe now mum? I was being shouted at every few minutes as there was a trail of needles on each and every carpet. Don’t let them stick in the dog’s paws!! Yes, thanks dad!! Mind my paws mum!!
Most of those six hours were spent by The Other Half sprawled on the floor untangling two sets of fairy lights which had played multiple games of Twister while locked in the cellar for a year.
While he untangled the lights (for three hours #true) I decided to change the look of this blog. I’m still having trouble with widgets, menus, disappearing pictures and headlines that retrospectively now look odd. But hey, after #treegate widgets, menus, pictures and headlines are a breeze.
If you’ve never been here before, then obviously you won’t notice the difference. If you have, I hope you like it.
At least the Moo is now happy after all the chaos, as you can see.
Wine Advent Calendar December 9th: The Paddock Shiraz 2015
I second-guessed when I started this 24-day countdown to Christmas that I’d end up missing some days. I have a memory like a sieve.
So this post isn’t so much a wine recommendation for December 9th – but more the story of what I did on December 9th.
When my pal Denise asked me to go the annual Liverpool Press Club lunch I thought why not. I live in Liverpool; I’ve worked in the Press for many years; I’ve been to several clubs in my time. I haven’t combined the three before so now’s as good a time as any.
Mind you, said Denise, we’d be the young ones. With a combined age of XYZ between us (put it this way, I was buying records when Jimmy Osmond was a child) I thought she was kidding. Errm no.
I also thought Denise was exaggerating when she said a) ice in the bar would be a luxury item b) the wine list wouldn’t be up to much and c) jeans would be a posh look.
The venue was The Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool. The Adelphi is like a very old relative you have a soft spot for, despite them turning a bit odd in their declining years. Saying that, you don’t have to shout at the Adelphi to make yourself heard or squeeze it in the back seat of the car for a day trip to the seaside.
I’d arrived at the hotel in a flurry. The morning hadn’t gone as planned and after rushing across town I found my pal hovering by the receptionist pointing at the wine list. “I’ve ordered champagne,” she said, “the rest of the list doesn’t look much good at all. Order some wine. Order it now. They’ll put your name on it.”
Yup. Fully-trained journos order a full bottle of wine each, which is then plonked (apt word) on the table with their name on it. This is presumably to prevent middle-of-the-meal minesweeping by niftier speed-drinking journos.
I looked at the wine list. My Body Language said “trust me, I know about wine”. I plumped for a £16.95 bottle, smugly declaring it was made by a Hollywood superstar.
Next up. The bar. There were a couple of barmen and one huge bucket of ice. Granted, the barmen moved slower than icebergs (quicker than some guests truth be told) but it was going well so far.
Anyone for a large glass of wine? Errm no, there’s only two large wine glasses and they’re both out there being used, said the barman.
So we hit the gin and then the gin hit me. Three drinks in, I was wearing two Christmas hats. By the time I was halfway through my turkey dinner I also wearing a paper clip with my name attached to it in case I got lost. Meantime my pal was creating models of Donald Trump’s head using sprouts and a dollop of carrot. As you do.
At one point I was a bit hot but luckily the waitress poured a full glass of water down my back.
Did I mention Ken Dodd? The original speaker couldn’t come so Ken stood in at short notice. The Adelphi is just over 100 years’ old and veteran comic Ken isn’t far behind. He’s still going, every credit to him, though he’s a bit raggedy round the edges, just like the Adelphi. I glanced up at one point and saw Doddy trying not to nod off during the speeches. Bit like me through his verrrrrrry long jokes.
Now then, back to the wine. I took a sip of The Paddock Shiraz 2015 and thought mmmmmm … you’ve messed up haven’t you.
In my arrival flurry, I’d scanned the wine list so quickly I mixed up Sam Neill’s excellent Two Paddocks wine with another Paddock brand, singular. I’ve never been good with numbers.
Sam Neill’s wine is New Zealand pinot noir; but the wine with my name on it was shiraz and from Australia. Sam’s wine hadn’t appeared on the wine list at all. It was a #doh moment.
Not the only #doh of that day. But what an excellent day.
The Paddock Shiraz 2015
What is it: It’s a red wine
Where’s it from: South Eastern Australia
The grapes: Shiraz – though the link I’ve found says it’s a blend of shiraz (86%) petit verdot 9% and viognier (5%)
What of the taste? The label describes it as easy drinking – well I thought it hard going. I found it harsh, bitter and not very fruity. But saying that my taste buds had just tussled with three gin and tonics and grappled with a plate of Brussels pate which was drizzled with what I can only describe as pink gravy.
I wasn’t in the best physical state to critique wine.
So in the interest of fairness I’ve bobbed over to Vivino and here’s some scores on the doors made, I would hope, by wine lovers unhindered by pink gravy taste bud attacks.
Small print: The Paddock Shiraz 2015 is 14% abv (yup, I noticed THAT bit on the day) and I found it online here for £6.25.
Here’s some TripAdvisor comments about the Adelphi.