22 August 2006

Beer, Games, Food, Wine, God

The past week's been a bit manic for some reason -- I'm not at all sure why, actually, as in retrospect I seem to have got very little actually done.

The weekend before last B. and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary, with a waffle / maple syrup / ice cream breakfast and a lovely trip out to The Swan at Swineford -- a Bath Ales pub we hadn't visited before, and which for some reason isn't listed on their website. We played the Settlers of Catan card game ("Politics and Intrigue" expansion) and drank much good beer.

In the evening we went out for an utterly damn gorgeous Lebanese meal. The baba ghanouch and batata harra were particularly excellent, but our self-selected vegetarian mezza was generally one of those communing-with-the-divine experiences that restaurants provide for the really fanatical food-lover. Nice flatbread, too.

We also tried Château Musar for the first time, and found it really good, in a surprising sort of way. The apparent taste of the wine is rather generic, but followed shortly afterwards by a much more violent aftertaste which I might -- were I experiencing unaccustomed levels of pretention -- compare to blackberries with overtones of gunpowder. It's quite something, although I'm not entirely sure what.

Thursday evening we experienced the Beer Festival at The Salamander, another Bath Ales pub (this one actually in Bath). We enjoyed various good beers, including the Lagonda I.P.A. we'd had in Manchester and something called Cream, but despite having my palmtop with me, I very laxly failed to take extensive tasting notes.

Last Sunday we played Settlers again -- this time the "Trade and Change" variant, which ended up being a little tedious. We decided that it incentivises mucking about with resources rather than actually building stuff (and thus gaining victory points), and that the cards would really only come into their own in tournament play. We also went to see A Scanner Darkly -- which deserves a blog entry of its own at the very least, but which will have to wait for the time being.

We also went to church twice -- indeed, we took communion twice, which I think is probably a personal best. The morning service was at St Mary Redcliffe, where our friend Simon is vicar (or technically "Priest in Charge", I think, as "vicar" implies a level of sinecurage which the Church of England generally doesn't run to nowadays). The service was high-church Anglican with whistles and bells, but more importantly we got to meet Simon's new son, and discuss high-minded theological matters chiefly relating to Philip K. Dick and Battlestar Galactica.

The evening service came courtesy of our local alternative worship / emerging church group Foundation. This time the communion was far more informal, with the congregation sitting in a circle and passing bread and wine to one another with the relevant words. Due to Tired Brain Syndrome I couldn't help seeing this as a game of Chinese Whispers, and imagining the this sort of thing going on as the elements progressed around the nave:
Communicant A: Jesus, the Bread of Life.
[Administers to B.]
Communicant B: Amen.
[Takes plate from A. Prayerful pause.]
Communicant B: Jesus's bread knife.
[Administers to C.]
Communicant C: Amen.
[Takes plate from B. Prayerful pause]
Communicant C: Jesus, this bread's nice.
[Administers to D.]

It's been a pretty good week for finding God's presence in food, in fact.

The rest of the time I've been working -- although, as previously mentioned, rather unaccountably failing to actually accomplish very much.

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