Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Belay there, me hearties

One of the things I miss about not living in London is the West Indian influence. Minicabbing around South London, twenty years ago, when it went quiet in the small hours I'd pull by a Jamaican food joint in East Dulwich and buy Mannish soup (cow's foot), red beans and rice, and proper patties, made with "mutton" (goat).

A strange collision with my childhood came in the form of ginger beer made by a small company in Clapham. It was just like the home-made stuff I'd drunk in the '60s; none of your sickly, green sugar solution, this was glorious, throat burning stuff that made your scalp prickle with sweat.

And New Year's Eve was always enlivened by car loads of partygoing black Londoners full of laughter, jokes and the occasional shared spliffs. Maybe best of all, once or twice, was an offer of a swig from a bottle of proper, smuggled, unlabelled Jamaican rum. If anyone cares to mail me with a suggestion of where I can get a bottle up here in the wilds of Cambridgeshire, I'd be glad to receive the information in confidence.

Right now, I'm sitting here with a temperature and a racking cough. The medication, of course, is hot peppers, garlic and toddies, made with local honey, lemon juice and the best rum the local stores can offer, but that isn't great.

My head's a bit foggy, so anything that seems less coherent than normal can be attributed to that.

But, at the risk of being repetitive, if there are any bottles of the right stuff around, I'd be glad to hear about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No idea. But the remarkable grog shop in St Ives (Wadsworth) stocks Banana Rum. Cheering stuff.