Saturday, December 26, 2009

Elements of a fairly good Christmas Day

1) A BIG meal
Not quite as good as this year's Thanksgiving repast (very niggardly with some of the vegetables; and disappointing puds - and no stuffing: what happened to the stuffing??), but a very generous helping of turkey - producing an appropriate holiday bloat.

2) An unexpected piece of 'good luck'
I won a ticket (quite a high-value ticket) to an acrobatics show in a Lucky Draw at the restaurant. I'm not that enthused about the show (and it's a bummer that it's only one ticket - I don't fancy going on my own!), but just being lucky gave a needed lift to my sagging spirits.

3) A friendly welcome (and a cat)
This was the coldest Christmas Day I have known here, and my companions and I were desperate to find somewhere to shelter from the lacerating winds. Unfortunately, most of our regular haunts - like Amilal and the Pool Bar - aren't open during the day. We tried our luck at Treehouse - and Sophie, the owner, was kind enough to invite us in, even though they weren't really 'open'. Fondling her gorgeous cat for half an hour gave a further lift to the spirits (the emotional satisfaction made it worth enduring the slight allergy problems I suffered subsequently - I have, alas, become acutely sensitive to cat hairs over the last 10 years). Unfortunately, Treehouse is not well-heated, and it was absolutely bloody freezing in there yesterday afternoon (and also deafening, since someone was working with a masonry drill on the front of the house directly opposite); thus, regretfully, we soon moved on again.

4) An early start at 12 Square Metres
My 'second home' has just started opening in the afternoons again, so around 5pm we took refuge there. An hour or two later, they started rolling out their Christmas evening buffet. I was still feeling utterly stuffed from lunch, but.... the garlicky chicken legs smelled just too wonderful to resist.

5) And so to the Pool Bar...
Our favourite little bar was soon getting a bit too packed, so around 9.30 the Chairman and I decided to try and get in a game of pool at the Pool Bar. Our timing was good: the bar was fairly empty when we arrived, so we were able to get on the table almost at once; however, the place started filling up almost immediately after that - with the dreaded 'Rock Star' making an appearance (the guy who's so much better than everyone else that he plays one-handed most of the time, to give you a chance), as well as The Chairman's brother, Terrible Tes, and a couple of young Brits who proved to have very strong games. Ah, where did the next 4 hours go?? Always good times in the Pool Bar! (And, oh my god, Luke has recently bought a new table: well, it looks like he kept the old base, the legs, but it's a complete new top - slate, baize, rails, pockets, everything. And damn, it's playing well. It's rather discombobulating, in fact, to play for once on a dead straight table - no quirky drifts into certain pockets, no tricky variations in the speed of the cloth, no irregular bounces off the cushions. It takes some getting used to, but.... ah, pool heaven. And I think I'm getting my mojo back...)

The day didn't start out so well, but it just got better and better. Bars, I realise, have become not just my home but my family.

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