On Saturday about 40 people including Sam and myself were invited to the quite exquisite house of a work colleague of Sam’s for a barbeque.  The large detached house is situated in the stock-broker belt of the Berkshire countryside near to the M4 motorway,  and amongst other wonderful features boasts its own home brewery in the garage, and a cinema room in the basement.  Whatever Tom is selling, he’s selling a lot of it, and good luck to him.

Tom and Diane are foodies, and were proud to tell us that all the beer and everything cooking on the barbeque had been home made or prepared with their own barbeque sauces and marinades.  There were various ovens on the go out on the patio, and a smokehouse next to the brewery with a brisket of beef in it all ready for serving.  A huge chef with his trousers fashionably low over enormous buttocks stood over the produce, spraying barbeque sauces or drizzling, frying, or turning steaks.   There were four oval-shaped things cooking that were referred to as ‘Fatties’ (as far as I could see these did indeed contain a lot of fat and a lot of cheese).

Just as an aside, when Sam and I have a BBQ there is one serving of food and everybody eats it at the same time.  There is usually sausages, burgers, chicken drumsticks, salmon, and lamb kebabs.  I order plates of rice and coleslaw from our butcher’s shop so that I don’t have to prepare a thing.  Sam does all the cooking, and I’m happy to leave him to it.

There we all sat in the garden making small talk and waiting for our lunch.  The first thing that came around was a plate of Scotch eggs.  As you all know by now, I’m dairy intolerant, and nasty things happen to me when I eat eggs.  Sam never eats eggs because of their high cholesterol, but he took one to be polite.  I had to refuse, and felt awful because Tom and Diane had probably been preparing these eggs since before I was born.

Next up was a plate of Pringles with the instructions to dip them in the accompanying homemade curry sauce, which was apparently out of this world.  Everybody tucked in and made the appropriate noises except….you know who.  The smell of curry makes me want to retch, let alone the taste of the stuff.  I took a Pringle and nibbled daintily.

After this came little cardboard containers of….fried, battered gherkins.  I had only ever eaten a gherkin cold with a fish meal in the past, but was told that Tom’s gherkins fried in butter had to be tasted to be believed.  Sam hates gherkins, and …. I don’t eat butter ‘cos I’m dairy intolerant!

By now Sam was pissing himself with laughter at my predicament.  I took another Pringle and spied a bowl of salad sitting forlornly on a table near a rack of homemade sauces.  I bounded over and helped myself liberally to a mountain of lettuce and tomato dripping in some kind of goo to go with my single Pringle.  When I swallowed said lettuce the roof was nearly blown off my mouth.  Oh gawd, a lovely fresh Cos lettuce had been drizzled with something terribly spicy and was buggerised beyond belief.

I needed some water, and quick.  Breathing fire I eschewed the home made spicy punch and roamed through several reception rooms until I found the kitchen, and doused the flames under a cold tap.  As I made my way back out to the garden, the brisket was on its way round, smoked and marinated to Tom’s perfection.  Starving hungry, I took a slice and hoped for the best.  I really don’t like the taste of smoked foods, but hey, one has to make an effort, doesn’t one?

A delicacy from Tom’s part of the world (he’s French) was next on the agenda; a pizza swimming in strands of what looked like onion, and CREAM (anyone got a sick bag for Stevie?)!

By now the sun was beating down and there was no shade.  My post-radiotherapy skin is still healing, and I’d been told quite firmly by the radiographers not to sit in the sun.  I doused myself with sun cream and asked Tom whether he had a parasol.  Thankfully there was one in the shed, and Tom erected it in the middle of a table a little bit away from where the other guests were sitting so I had to strain my almost non-existent voice if anybody from the other table spoke to me. I hogged the only bit of shade all the afternoon, but unfortunately this meant that Sam and I were mostly sitting on our own, as everybody else wanted to catch a tan.  However, this gave Sam the opportunity to push his tub of fried gherkins under the table when nobody was looking.

Oh dear, it seems that Stevie’s lifestyle is in direct contrast to Tom and Diane’s.  When I woke up on Sunday morning I had a horrible migraine, which persisted for most of the morning. There was something nasty in that brisket.  I’m so bloody glad I’m not a foodie!

Oh yeah… all I wanted in the first place was a sausage!