Friday, September 25, 2009

Happiness is...

Judging by the pouring rain and the cooler temperatures, you can safely say that Autumn has arrived. I am one of the few people I know who loves it when it rains, probably just as well given the winters I grew up with in the Outer Hebrides - a little aside here, I always died laughing when people in Prague thought a force 4 wind was "really windy", heaven knows what they would make of a North Atlantic gale. In fact I love Autumn and Winter so much, I have sometimes wondered if I have Seasonally Affective Disorder in reverse, the colder and darker it gets, the happier I become. The big thing I love about the drawing in of the days, the darkening skies and the rain is that I know the best time of the year for my favourite beers is coming.

Sure, summers drinking weizen and pale ale are great, but as the things get colder I turn to darker thoughts, a pint of stout, a good strong ESB, a barley wine - I style I only really discovered last Christmas and which became an instant favourite and one that is on special at Starr Hill at the moment, hence I plan to bring some home with me tomorrow and use it for a creamy sauce to go atop my sticky toffee pudding. As I mentioned in my last post, this is the time when I plan to make my autmnal quaffer and some big hitters for the winter. From my provisional brewing calendar, I will making dark and/or strong ales from now until March.

The only problem I have is how to recreate the ideal drinking environs given the size of our flat, and the absence of a live fire. I have a slightly insane idea of buying a proper barbecue, not a gas thing, and using it to have a fire on our covered patio and get a few blankets to drape over the patio furniture. It may also be time to buy a nice bottle of whisky or two, if I can find Talisker over here.

It is also this time of the year that my family starts preparing the traditional Christmas foods. None of your shop bought, over-sugared junk for us, no sir! My mum still makes mincemeat with meat in it, originally a preserving method, still makes proper Christmas pudding, and will soon be making the Christmas cake to be loving fed brandy every weekend until the season is upon us. Mum might be thousands of miles away, but the family recipes are just on the next table, so Mrs Velkyal will be preparing them this year.

I will stop myself there, the temptation to rattle on and on about how much I love autumn and winter is becoming too much! Have a good weekend people!


  1. Hmm... open grill... blankets... alcohol... yes, that will end well.

    I've suspected I have a touch of reverse seasonal affective disorder, although it's not so much that you love the darker months that you would become depressed during the summer months.

    In any case, I share your love of rain and fall/winter. I'm not sure what a Force 4 wind really means, but I do know we used to get some fairly epic winds up in Rhode Island from time to time. May as well have been underwater in regards to breathing. Fun times.

  2. I don't become depressed during the summer, after all weizen is perfectly good at cheering one up no end, but winter is just perfect - and I get to break out the woolly jumpers! A force 4 wind, on the Beaufort scale, is about 15mph or a "moderate breeze". Most winters at home we had force 8 or 9 gales rolling in from the Atlantic. For a while I used to think rain was a purely horizontal thing!

  3. I'm with you on this one, despite being born in the summer, Autumn is without a doubt my favourite time of year, so many flavours going in food and beer...and yes, getting warmed up on a cold night is heaven.

  4. Definitely right there with you and Leigh on this one. I, too, was born in the summer and have lived in Virginia all my life - but I can't stand the heat! Bring on the darker beers (specifically some Belgian Dark Strong) and whisky. Throw in a little American football and cozy afternoons, and everything's perfect.

    I'll have to experience your new set-up firsthand when we make it back to Charlottesville again. Also, a friend of mine came up with a great idea involving good beer and being outdoors in the winter. More to come on that one!

  5. Given the roof space at in your block of flats, you could set up a few barrel fires and have a hobo booze and grill out! Everyone brings some trashy beers (do you have stuff like Tennant's Super here?) and dresses down! To add an almost Cockney theme, think Oliver Twist here, there could be bottles of gin floating about! Also everyone brings sausages and stuff for the grill.


Style? What Style?

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