Monday and Tuesday are holidays here, making a nice long weekend. Regular readers won't be surprised to learn that I'm in the country, with a group of friends. It's very cold at this time of year, especially at night, being at around 1000 metres up and completely isolated, and heated by a fire in the kitchen and another in the living room, which is fine as long as you keep them burning nicely and don't move more than about 8 feet away from them. There was a thick fog yesterday morning, which rolled in and out again today, and there was frost on the ground, meaning that there aren't any mushrooms worth searching for.
The beer is cold, the company excellent, the country crying out to be walked through and become part of, we had bread crumbs for lunch (cooked over the fire with a little oil and mixed with fried peppers, 'chorizo', which is a kind of spicy sausage, 'morcilla' which is dried blood stuffed into the intestines, something like black pudding or haggis, and pork with the skin still on. Some people add grapes, pomegranate seeds or other fruit. If it all sounds rather hard to digest, it is, but there's nom need to go anywhere in a hurry.
In the circumstances it's difficult to care much about politics and politicians, civil liberties, education, stupidity or any of the other things I like to rant about here. I offer you therefore, a small selection of names that, for different reasons, I would rather like to have been called.
- In first place, without doubt, is the Spittal of Glenshee. Not having done the research, I can't say who he is or what it means, all I can say is that it's a Scottish noble title of clannish origin. The pleasure of being able to introduce yourself as the Spittal of Glenshee is surely worth all the ribbing you would have to take at school.
- Then there is Markhtoum al Markhtoum. He's the brother of Sheik Mohammed of Dubai, and like him, very big in horseracing as well as in oil. He has a name which has always struck me as being so majestically sonorous as to virtually finish, by itself, any conversation into which it is introduced. I'm sure you could win a lot of arguments just by saying, 'I am Markhtoum al Markhtoum' with sufficient finality.
- In third place is Lt-Col Sir Ethelred Dimwitty-Smythe. I speak from memory, but I recall that Bill Edrich claims to have bowled to this chap regularly in the member's nets when he was a lad on the ground staff at Lords. It is, perhaps, a name you could tire of, but there is undoubtedly something wonderful about it.
Just a little sampling of something completely frivolous which I allow my mind to play around with from time to time. Normal ranting will be resumed around Wednesday.
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