Thursday, 18 October 2007

A free lunch

They say there isn’t such a thing, but I had one today.

It was at a local wine farm, and I admit that I cadged an invitation. The farm is lush, gracious and excessively beautiful, and I really do love their wines (and their olive products – Shiraz and olive flavoured salt, hello?! put some on a bit of boerewors and go straight to gustatory heaven), so when I heard that a Cape Town friend had scored an invite to their annual press opskop, I asked her to, oh, you know, grease the guest list.

So there I was.

Sitting on a long verandah, with birds whistling prettily and views being gorgeous (as they tend in these parts to be) and farm dams sparkling in the middle distance. And drinking, I kid you not, the very first wine this farmer ever made: a 1997 Shiraz, only 12 bottles of which he had left, and thick and rich as the stuff you find at the bottom of your coffee cup after you’ve dipped a few tar-crusted rusks in it. And forgotten to wash for 10 years.

My friend, let’s call her Barbara (a travel writer who once famously forgot to secure a visa for an India trip – going there to, ahem, update her India travel guide – and ended up stranded at OR Tambo Airport for five days), was very, very keen on this wine. And the winemaker, clearly sun-struck (or at least something that rhymes a bit with that – Barbara has long blonde hair and beseeching blue eyes) gave us not one but TWO bottles to drink on our own.

Which is why now, at around 10-ish on a Thursday evening, the night before I turn 43, Barbara is fast asleep outside on the divan, her ears anointed with anti-mosquito stick (summer has come to the valley and the creepy-crawley quotient is high) and The Wobbly Dog nodding off at her feet, and I am in here, at my computer, posting, instead of, say, dancing like a demon to Abba’s ‘Waterloo’; or even propositioning Lucien, purchasable, apparently, with little more than a complicated drink and a belt that buckles.

Barbara (who even now I hear snoring softly yonder) once bit me on the arm. At a pub, in public. Hard enough to leave teeth marks. ‘I was overwhelmed,’ she said, days later, when I finally asked her what drove her to such a thing. ‘I wanted to eat you but that obviously wasn’t an option. So I just took a taste.’

As toothy as that 1997 Shiraz, me.

Hey! Last day of 42! Down like water, down like sand!

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angel said...

yay yay! i'm early!!!
happily bloody birfdaze! may you globble floopily for the rest of the year you hoopy frood you!!!

angel said...

I wanted to eat you but that obviously wasn’t an option. So I just took a taste.
oh that is so cute...!

Audrey said...

Happy Birthday Muriel!

Here's to 43. May you live long and keep having odd things happen to you, so that we can read about them.


tonypark said...

Happy birthday to you, you scammer.

I have insinuated marself, and been insinuated, into so many free lunches that I now have a secure reputation as a seat-filler back in Sydney.

If friends are oranising a launch/fundraiser/whatever and need an extra mouth to cover for someone who's cancelled they call me at home to wake me (once, famously, at 12.00pm for 12.45pm) and tell me to get dressed and attend.

Well done - on the lunch and turning 43, a very agreeable age.

Muriel said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes. I've been 43 for a day now, and it's not bad. Similar to being 42, but just, you know, a bit older.

meggie said...

I SO enjoyed this post!
Loved the reference to Abba!
Totally get the bite. I have been thinking lately about how I once licked someone's perfect skin.

oh & Happy Birthday! 43 is prime time!

tonypark said...

Meggie, you bad girl, you.