Saturday, October 25, 2008

True Wine Lover 2.


"In victory, you deserve Champagne, in defeat, you need it."
Le Petit Corporal surely quaffed a lot of bubbly after the English exiled him to the island of St. Helena. Defeat must have been hard for the Emperor to swallow. The trouncing at Waterloo when washed down with a few good glasses of champers, probably made the whole ordeal seem a lot more tolerable. I'm sure being a Corsican of Italian descent and supreme leader of France predisposed him to indulge in a lot of still wines too. I even hear that he was fond of cognac. He was probably a right plonky. The hand tucked into his waistcoat stance? It conceals a corkscrew no doubt...look, you can even see a couple of corks in the hand behind his back.

8 comments:

Thud said...

good on old boney...I'll raise a glass to him.

Fred Fibonacci said...

I once ate dinner at a table made from the poop deck of the ship that took Napoleon to Elba. I should get out more.

Vinogirl said...

That is fabulous...I wish I had a story like that.

Fred Fibonacci said...

I'm so glad you approve! I got a huge kick out of it at the time, especially as this little snippet was just casually thrown in, as an after-thought to a long lunch.

I was on tour with a theatre company, 1982. We played a town hall in Dumfries & Galloway for a couple of nights. This led to Sunday lunch at the Laird's (the son of the house had taken a shine to our ridiculously glamorous lead actress). The Laird proved an excellent host. We had a tour of the farm, loads to drink, and a properly eccentric meal consisting of many tins of Campbell's soup served in an enormous silver tureen.

As we sat, talking about the house, his family, how hard it was to maintain any kind of standard of living and; by the by, what's it like being on tour with all these actors, he stopped, looked as if he'd just remembered and said: 'Of course, this table has a story. It is made from the poop deck of the ship that took Napoleon to Elba. It ended up, the ship that is, up here in Scotland, to be broken up. My great- grandfather thought the deck would make an interesting dining table and so here we are, still sitting at it, in this room, where it's been since he had it made.'

With that he pulled back the table cloth and there it was: the deck of a ship, beautifully adapted to its new purpose but still resolutely ship-like and with a story in every dent, stain and scuff. Was that heel-mark, that one there, by the salt-cellar, made by Napoleon as he took the air? Did he stand on this very bit of timber, from which I had just eaten a bowl of tinned soup, and stare wistfully out to sea, cursing his fate, and planning his return to power?

One would have to be made of stone not to be moved. Priceless, and a great privilege to have heard the tale.

Vinogirl said...

My God man, I didn't think you could impove on that little gem, but you did. Fantastic.

Lord Roby said...

I can trump that.. Lord Roby once slipped on poop on the deck.Broke his elba,and looked like Napoleon for the next 3 months!!Oh how Lord Byron larfed.Seriously though did you keep any splinters for posterity?
Strangely the word verification for this comment is "Shoono" probably the very word you said to the Laird that very night!!Spooky or what..

Peter Ashley said...

All this reminds me that I was once bought a Bovril after a disastrous swimming lesson at the Kenwood Open Air Pool in Leicester. The counter in the kiosk was the Purser's Office from the Mauretania. Odd though it might seem, I wasn't on tour with a stray band of 'resting' actors.

Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

Actually, in exile he demanded Constantia, the delicious sweet dessert wine from the Constancia estate in South Africa.

It's said he downed a bottle a day.

a recreation of the original, Vin de Constance made by Klein Constantia,is sold in a misshapen balck 500ml bottle moulded from an original 1800s bottle. See http://www.kleinconstantia.com/vindeconstancedetail.htm