I’m in a warm room in Rochdale. There are lovely people sitting around me. I’m buried in cats. This evening it was Amy’s birthday and she’d just got back from a hen weekend with Mel. She’s usually in London at my flat so I feel right at home with us both here, plus cats. We just need Brian.
Robin booked a table for four with a taster menu at James Martin. Five courses with free wine. He had taught one of the chefs to ride a motorbike. It was a little depressing pouring my drinks into everyone else’s glasses but it’s coming to the end of sexy February, and I had made an arbitrary decision. Plus I was the designated driver. I’ll let you decide which was foremost in my mind.
It’s not good biking weather at the moment. There’s snow in the mornings. Eating well, keeping warm and not zooming around too much is a good plan. That taster menu takes eating well to a new level. Tiny plates but lots of them, and over a long time.
Often, at home, I’m on one meal a day and that’s dinner. I skip breakfast for coffee, run on adrenaline and coffee for lunch if I’m broke, or coffee adrenaline and a sandwich if I’m working. And then whatever I can get from the reduced section for supper, ideally in large quantities.
This evening we had five courses, none of them big, but I felt great at the end of them. They gave you time for the food to hit your stomach. We had baked cheese and beetroot sorbet to start. Then a controversial second course. Robin and Amy keep rabbits. My brother has one too. Last night I was stroking Hank the fluffy wabbit. He is so soft. This evening I was eating bits of his cousin in a tasty ravioli and feeling a little wrong. Robin and Amy had smoked carrot instead and I felt like Elmer Fudd. Then we went on a tasty journey through 3 more courses: softshell crab on risotto, seared lamb and basel and blood orange tart with caramel ice cream. Plus a tiny cheese board. Here’s Mel contemplating it.
And now I’m under a cat again. They’ve been climbing on me all day. Jagermeister kept sitting on my shoulder like a pirate’s parrot. Apparently she doesn’t do that with anyone else. Before there was Pickle I would frequently hear “It’s weird, the cat never usually comes to strangers,” and I would say “I reckon they can sense I’m clueless with them, and they can take advantage of my good will.” But it must be something else as I’m no longer clueless. I smell, or I’m warm, or I’m half-jaguar, or I was a crazy cat-person in a past life. Or maybe it’s because I can stroke a rabbit one night and eat one the next. That’s very feline behaviour. “Friend friend friend friend tasty friend. Friend gone now. New friend?”
So for now there are two cats who like to sit on me. I’ll be sleeping in their domain tonight, on the sofa. If I vanish in the night then they’ve grown tired of me and had me in a midnight cat-ravioli feast. I wouldn’t put it past them. They’re cats.