- as Samuel Pepys was wont to end the day's entry in his famous diary. Perhaps that will have set you thinking that I am about to retire for the night whereas in truth the day is not far into its routine and I will shortly be driving the Old Bat to her regular Friday oxygen session. No, that titular comment ("Titular comment"! Get me!) actually refers to the fact that we were late going to bed last night. We were late going to bed on account of the fact that we were late getting home. Yesterday, as it was the first Thursday of the month, Brighton Lions Club held their (no, that should be "its", not "their", but "its" sounds wrong) monthly dinner meeting. This being the Christmas month, we had a Christmas dinner. Brighton Technical College has a training restaurant which is staffed by the students, both the chefs and the waiting staff. We supported their efforts last night, indulging ouselves in a four course meal followed by coffee and mince pies. And what a menu! On offer, inter alia and as various courses, where such delights as duck terrine with pistachios and spiced plum chutney; grilled red mullet with raspberry dressing; meringue gelato with chocolate sauce. It was good, but I did feel rather uncomfortably full when I got into bed and that kept me from sleeping for quite a while. About 10 minutes, I should think.
Naturally, being a Christmas meal, the main course options included roast turkey. I can't rightly recall when I first tasted turkey; it might not have been until I was into my twenties - which would put it at around the mid 1960s. Certainly, as a child I never saw turkey at Christmas. In those days a chicken was a luxury and in general that was what made special the Christmas Day dinner. We ate our main meal - which we called dinner and not lunch - at about one o'clock.
Oddly enough, it would seem that in France even now chicken is something of a luxury, albeit not on the level of England in the late 1940s and 1950s. When my son and his partner were over there with the children they thought to buy a chicken for their evening meal - until they saw the price! That is perhaps why we have rarely seen chicken on the menus of French restaurants - by which I mean restaurants in France rather than restaurants serving French dishes and therefore . . . Well, you know what I mean. No, chicken in France is a rarity, although turkey, especially turkey escalopes, has always been fairly common. Until this last trip. It seemed this time as though every restaurant was offering chicken and turkey had become almost persona non grata (avia non grata?)
But I have fallen into the usual trap of wandering well off course. Perhaps it's just as well that I never achieved my ambition of being a ship's navigating officer. Had I done so, I shudder to think where we might have ended up!
The papers this morning are leading on the death of Nelson Mandela and the world is a pooper place for his passing. There surely has been no finer example of forgiving one's enemies for many a long year.
It was good to throw open the curtains today on a sky less cloudy than I might have expected even if it was not quite sunny. It was too early for that to be so. The view from the front of our French hideaway is not in the least spectacular or even scenic if the truth be told but, unlike here in Brighton, we can watch the sun come up. This was one morning last week.