Sunday, April 26, 2009

St George And The Sumps

It was two years ago that Mrs The Millbrooker and I last got one of the sought after invitations to celebrate St George's Day with The Sump and La Sumpetta at Sump Towers. So long ago that, although this blog was running, no one had silly blog-names (excepting yours truly and Mrs The Millbrooker).

If you fancy reading all about our evening way back when, you can do so here.

Last night's affair was a couple of people short of a full house; two guests couldn't make it due to a long awaited appointment with the hospital being awarded to them at the last minute. Seems like a fair excuse.

The evening began, of course, with an aperitif; swiftly followed by an invitation to table where we enjoyed the traditional starter of black pudding with Wensleydale, decorated to resemble the flag of the saint in question.

The equally traditional toast to Auntie Jean was also conducted immediately after the starter had disappeared down the assembled gullets:
As always on these evenings, the guests are asked to bring along something to celebrate and recognise English culture. The Sump opened proceedings with a read through some of our arcane and (often) unrepealed laws. We particularly enjoyed learning that it's ok to for a man to wee in public provided it's up against the rear wheel of a car and his right hand is resting upon said vehicle.

The main course of scrummy beef and onion in a rich sauce (was it a red wine sauce?) also got well attacked by ravenous revellers, and then La Sumpetta read us the eighth fit of Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark" - The Vanishing as her contribution to the Englishness theme.
After plenty of traditional talking of bollocks, Val read us Wilfred Owen's classic Dulce et Decorum Est.

Apparently she had considered a different poem altogether (a rather famous one by Philip Larkin), but decided against in case the company couldn't cope with Larkin's darker thoughts. Or something.

Pudding arrived; yet more yumminess, this time in the form of rhubarb and ginger crumble with some not-at-all calorific double cream custard. Huzzah!

Puds was rapidly dispatched, and Mrs The Millbrooker sang us a great rendition of Black Sir Harry.

Cheese arrived, along with a couple of bottles of jolly decent port, and my turn to take the stage was upon us.

I was going to do Sir John Betjeman's Slough, but I realised, just in the nick of, that I'd done that two years before. So I did some rapid thumbing through some poetry volumes and decided to do two short pieces. I began with Betjeman's Dilton Marsh Halt (Mrs The Millbrooker and I have used the Halt on more than one occasion), and followed it with the short John Hegley poem Pickering to Grosmont (a personal favourite). Hmm - a railway theme, I've been doing the same job for too long.

At something approaching midnight after another beer and a cup of strong black coffee and also after much ceremonial failing to make sense in conversation, Mrs The Millbrooker decided it was time to take me home before there was undue danger of Sunday wipe-out due to excessive intake of delicious toxins.

Huge thanks, of course, to The Sump and La Sumpetta for hosting us and keeping the libations and yummy feastings coming thick and fast; we had a whale of a time.

1 comment:

Tony the Sump said...

It was venison stew