It was my birthday recently. Yep, hooray for me.
It’s been an extended birthday – today I was treated to lunch while watching a funeral procession and tonight I popped down the old Royal Opera House for a seat in the expensive bit, to watch some Russian ballet. Nice.
I get home and it still feels like my birthday. More accurately, I’m off on holiday in a few days and I still have some bottles of birthday cider in the fridge – wouldn’t want them to go off while i’m gone, so now is a perfect time to put them to use.
Another of Oliver’s ciders, that’s two in a row! They’re doing well on ‘The Sense’. Having partaken in some cultural fineries today, the bottle-conditioned Oliver’s is the perfect tipple to end the day.
It’s a big bottle so I can pretend it’s champagne. I get some scissors to untwist the cork cage, as it’s made of painfully thin wire. The cork slowly slides up and out, like a mini volcano, or a slow dog poo, releasing a loud pop as it is egested from the bottle.
The colour is like strong and hazy urine. Slightly fizzy, with only naturally occuring sulphites and at 4% no hangover for me tomorrow!
I decant Herefordshire’s finest into a fine white wine glass, swirl it round a bit, sniff it, raise my little pinky and chug the lot.
There’s a woody smell to it, but less like an old barn, more like a piece of vintage mahogany. Perhaps the inside of a 17th century harpsichord. I feel culture oozing out of my pores now, darling, but then it is quite a humid night.
Resisiting the urge to don my red trousers and throw a cashmere sweater over my shoulders, I carry on with the trial of Oliver. There’s something floral about the smell at first. Maybe it’s left over from the bouquet I robbed off the stage after the final curtain.
After that, it’s rather dry with a burnt taste. A little bit tongue-stripping, but not in a bad way. Even so dry that it sometimes tastes powdery.
This would make a perfect interval alternative to an expensive glass of wine. It looks posh, it’s not going to get you so wankered that you start heckling the ballet dancers, and it takes a cultured cider drinker to appreciate it. I should know.
I should know, but I don’t.
I wonder if ballet dancers get bad toes in later life. I also wonder if people in the 1800s were better than modern audiences at knowing when and when not to clap. It’s nice for the performers to receive impromptu applause for something the crowd admires, but I feel sorry for the lone clapper when no one follows him.
In this world there are clap leaders and clap followers.
Do you have what it takes to give the first clap?
Loose another two pounds and for heaven’s sake, Emilia, keep your toes pointed!