Dalwhinnie and defeats
We were in a pub – the best pub in the county according to recent awards. The acrobat and I were sampling the beer while the chef, who has the misfortune to dislike beer, sipped demurely at a glass of wine. It was pub quiz night - it often is - and we hoped for an impressive victory. After all, the chef and I had won once before and had come quite close on other occasions.
We'd waited quite some time for the quiz to begin. The chef got bored with white wine and moved on to whisky, choosing a Dalwhinnie - the acrobat and I weren't familiar with the name so sampled the chef's drink. Then we decided - I don't know whose idea it was - to combine our halves of beer (we'd sampled London Pride, Bullion and Absolution) with whisky chasers. The combination was delicious but I decided it would be prudent to share a cheese board and olives as well.
The quiz didn't begin well. The pub consists of a number of small bars. We had chosen the smallest and cosiest which was also, unfortunately, the one with the defective speaker. There were nine or ten of in the bar, straining to hear the questions. As it's a friendly quiz we were happy to share our views on what the quiz-master had said with the other team in the room.
I don't think we would have done well at the quiz in any circumstances. The questions were not those we would have chosen. There was nothing, for instance, on disgust in 21st century French and German fiction; nothing on the intricacies of poetic forms and nothing on circus skills or recent Australian politics. And I'm sorry to report that there wasn't a single question on fencing. Instead the quiz-setter seemed more interested in golf, girl bands and the career of Elton John.
We did our best but the quiz did not go as planned. The chef and I failed to impress the acrobat with our erudition, even when the barman came to fix the defective speaker. We still didn't know all the answers. The combination of beer and whisky may have rendered our answers illegible. Nonetheless it was a happy, friendly evening (much better than a quiz victory) and afterwards I slept soundly if more briefly than I would have wished.
I tried to persuade the chef to return to fencing - and the acrobat joined in with her encouragement - but without success. She might have enjoyed the following evening had she come to the leisure centre. She would certainly have beaten me.
Perhaps I'm too old to combine beer and whisky in the customary way - or perhaps I should do so only when I'm sure of a good night's sleep. I had an early start the next day and a busy day at work. By the time I reached fencing I felt as though I were moving through mud.
Everyone beat me. Even if they slowed down and moved very deliberately I rarely scored more than a double hit. I think it was the whisky ... or the beer ... or both. Still, the cycle ride to and from fencing was very pleasant in the cool, dark evening.