A festive outing
Gerald Ingolby attends a Christmas lunch
I have two brothers and one of them lives in Wandsworth. Yesterday I travelled to a pub not far from there for my debut at an annual Christmas lunch he organises for his mates on a relaxed ‘anyone who can be bothered to turn up’ basis. He sends out an invitation to all and then decides where to eat once he knows how many will be attending.
Yesterday just five of us rolled up and, by the time the last arrived (2.00pm), we were sufficiently well-set in the pub that we opted to stay there for our meal which in the event proved a win.
Inevitably, five hours on the grog produced a host of opinions, jokes and discussions on a wide range of topics, of which the following are a selection:
I mentioned that I was keen to see Mr Turner, Mike Leigh’s biopic on the artist J.M.W. Turner, starring Timothy Spall.
Two present with the advantage of me in this respect were barely forthcoming with endorsements – one said he had slept through most of it.
On Operation Yewtree and related subjects, there was a lively conversation. The consensus seemed to be that, whilst sexual exploitation of minors was rightly a criminal offence from every angle, it was also tough that the morals and attitudes of today were being retrospectively applied to the actions of people decades previously (when general morals and attitudes were somewhat different).
One gent not normally known for his interest in rugby reported that he had heard on excellent authority that England captain Chris Robshaw had consistently refused to play at Number 6 in the back row for Harlequins this season (as the club’s coaches desired) because he feared that if he did he would lose his place in the England team.
When we were all required to nominate our personal greatest female sex symbols, our late arrival opted for Katherine Ross, the delectable young actress who appeared in Mrs Robinson and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.
I was later slightly taken by surprise when out of the blue – under the heading ‘… and what’s your all-time favourite movie sex scene?’ my host brother chose (and described in minute detail, none of which sadly I could personally recall) the one in Butch Cassidy in which Robert Redford demands that Ross take her kit off at the point of a gun … with the audience only discovering subsequently that they were already in a relationship and were just indulging in role-play.
On September’s independence vote, a sizeable amount of derision was aimed at the SNP and the Scottish nation.
Apparently – I was previously unaware of this fact – the SNP had based their rosy ‘back of an envelope’ financial projections upon a notionally-guaranteed North Sea oil price of US$140 … this against the current world price of approximately US$60 and one top analyst’s prediction that it might conceivably go as low as US$20.
There was little dissention at our table when someone suggested that, almost certainly, if the English were to be given a vote on the subject, a penny to a pound said that Scotland would be thrown out of the United Kingdom.
There was general agreement that the chief plusses of such a development would be the rest of the United Kingdom no longer having to listen to the Scottish football results and the instant removal of all Scottish contributors from the output of UK radio and television broadcasters.
Having finally put the world to right, we began breaking up our 2014 festive Brains Trust at about 6.30pm. I then travelled home by train and, having launched myself face forward onto my bedroom duvet, fell asleep – not long after John Terry’s early goal – with Radio Five Live’s commentary upon the Stoke v Chelsea Premier League soccer match playing in the background.