That said, I love a pub so always make sure to get in at least one solid meal before I leave the country. The Camberwell Arms is a beautiful spot. It has a great atmosphere and great food. I’m a sucker for the scotch bonnet pork fat on toast, which is always on the menu, but if they’ve ever got a pie on, I always order that. Hearty beef and ale pie with a pint of Guinness. Can’t beat it.
My favourite festive cocktail is a bloody mary. Not hugely festive, but it’s got ‘Mary’ in the name, so I think that counts. Put the following ingredients into a big pitcher: tomato juice, V8 vegetable juice, vodka, horseradish sauce, wholegrain mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, fresh basil, salt, two limes and a handful of celery hearts. Cover and chill the jug for at least half an hour before serving in a lime and salt-rimmed glass.
My family is big on boardgames and we play Wealth Of Nations every year. It’s an old-school game from the 70s where you have to go around the world and buy various raw materials (coffee, oil, aluminium, tungsten, raw wool automobile construction, etc) from different countries. They don’t make it anymore. Probably because of the fact you can go and rob the USSR of all its natural resources. It’s fun, as long as you ignore the strong colonial undertones, and always results in some serious arguments.
I'm hoping to find a couple of books under the Christmas tree. I recently finished reading Michael Magee’s Close To Home and Louise Kennedy’s Trespasses – both extremely good Irish debut novels that I can’t recommend highly enough. I’ve heard good things about Bellies by Nicola Dinan so can’t wait to start that over the holidays, and have been dying to read Honey From a Weed by Patience Gray for years so I’m seriously hoping someone out there has heeded my call and got me a copy.