A week after Langkawi and the peeling has started in earnest.
Somehow forgetting that the tropical sun can be notoriously fierce, I chose to ignore conventional wisdom and applied factor 8 to my face. Walking into the office mid-week, I kept my head down to hide my unglamorously mottled forehead.
The Thursday before Langkawi and I was out with a group of guys. The occasion was to appreciate steak. The same group of guys and girlfriends/wives were the ones we’d spent that lovely but fateful weekend with when I ‘lost’ my phone. These guys take their steak very seriously. There are rules, regulations and a rating system. A bit like my former obsession for inventorying the wines I tried. But less geeky, more tongue in cheek.
As a guest of the group, I was not allowed to partake in “official business” but was instead given the honorary title of ‘Wine Consultant’ owing to my WSET qualifications. There was some serious chat about the appropriate level of fine to issue to members of the group for any infringement – being late or lack of steak appreciation, for example. I agreed that as their Wine Consultant I would draw up a list of reds, to the value of no more than 150 Ringgit (£30) a bottle, to be chosen by the infringer and donated to the group.
To test where to start this list my wife and I visited good ole’ Marks & Spencer. On the guise of getting some new linen trousers, we made a detour to the small food section as she wanted some of their devastatingly good chocolate biscuits (it seems you can take the girl out of M&S, but never M&S out of the girl…) Their 2010 Classic Claret, priced here in Malaysia the same as in the UK (£7) passes the Ronseal test – in a ‘Good Ordinary Claret’ kind of way (I much prefer the Wine Society version rather than Berry’s). Apparently made in the more ‘modern style’ of Bordeaux (though I have to admit I’m yet to exactly understand what modern style actually means) it’s a bit sinewy and lean and although it won’t develop in the bottle there is enough tannin, fruit and acid to make this a perfectly decent, quaffable French red.
With a steak it would be a good accoutrement, I feel.
Thankfully the group of lads hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing my toast-like forehead and only witnessed me nodding off at the bar after lots of beer and several bottles of fairly classy 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon by Cathedral Cellar.
Certainly nodding off could be a fineable offence, but thankfully I was spared. This time.