Crossbows and winos

Aug 9, 2009 by glennji

I wandered down to the Tower Of London from work one lunch-time last week, planning to mingle with the tourists and pretend/imagine I was one of them. Instead, I stumbled upon a demonstration of archaic weaponry! (Hopefully you can see the video above?)

Last night we had a nice, grown-up wine-tasting session at Vinopolis, a massive wine centre near Borough Market. We started with a “How To” session, where the most patronising (matronising?) woman I’ve ever seen outside of a kindergarten children’s show taught us the basics of wine-tasting (hint: don’t just knock it back in a single gulp, then belch loudly and ask for another). *Slurp-slurp-slurp* “Can you hear the noise I’m making, children? Can YOU make a slurping noise too? Big slurps for Madame Winey, that’s riiight.”

When M. Winey had finished our lessons we were let out to play with the other kids. We walked from table to table, exchanging tokens for tiny glasses of champagne, chardonnay, pinot noir, then onto reds: cabernet sauvignon, merlot, rioja. The tables were arranged by theme — usually location, but there was a “premium” table all by itself — and our tokens gave us 3 champagne tastes, 5 wines, 2 premium wines. To round out the reds, and because 9:30pm was approaching, I swapped two of my tokens for a tiny glass of madeira — a bit like port, and delicious! Sweet and honeyed, with hints of burnt timber… or so I deluded myself!

It’s not the amount of wine (as each glass was a mouthful at most) but the fact that you’re sucking air through your teeth and coating your tongue with the stuff. So we were all feeling pretty “mellow” by the time we walked into the Bombay Sapphire Bar for a complimentary gin cocktail (I had a delicious one made with pear-juice … but I like gin. Dee had a different one and didn’t like it!)

So after all that you might think we were done for the night. You’d be right, but we still had two free tastings of rum to get through! Actually, that’s not quite right — we had two rums each … but as you might imagine, some people (*cough*Tina*cough*) didn’t actually want their rum, so it was more for meeeee!

(I think the major enjoyment I get from drinking rum is pretending I’m a pirate. Considering all the wine, gin and champagne I’d already consumed, it was just lucky for everyone that I didn’t actually start singing a sea-shanty and hopping around on a wooden leg. “Yo-ho-ho an’ a bottle o’ rum!”)

Anyway, I’ve just uploaded the pictures from this, and the weapons demonstration, to the ever-entertaining Life In London photoset!

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