Saturday 18th June 2016.
Bishop’s Stortford Carnival alive and thriving. Moons ago my dear own parents first met here on Sworder’s field. Hoopla’d a goldfish and a set of bicycle clips. Whatever happened to sweaty toffee apples? I nose my very origins in the muggy atmos, somewhere behind that decommissioned military jeep, part of a weak vintage vehicle exhibit. A middle aged woman in army fatigues and bandana, toting a replica rifle, vaguely sexualises the martial spectacle, overdoing the mascara. Didn’t linger. Neither did we investigate the Beekeepers stall – hive smokers and moon-landing suits, bee-beards and scrumpy… Brian Blessed demanding the honey, mummy.
The Cock called instead. Past lives getting the leather sofa treatment: Scott’s barrow boy rendition of “Three for a pound” truly signalling a missed vocation; ’Chicken & Cheese’ showcasing the artist’s creative angst (rice is indeed surprisingly versatile); Alexander O’Neal at Harlow Dogs, rocking the oche of a pokey games room amidst the drunken boogy of a ladies darts team. And what of the pencil moustache and cafe creme? Squeezing tears in belly laughs we puffed on those remembered cigarillos like playboy Valentinos.
Ah, Indian Cottage, here it is, just where we left it twenty-five years back. Mysteriously re-named Tandoori Cottage. Sven, our tall, dapper Indian waiter guides us to our booth, a youthful Cottage veteran. Yet failing to recall the infamous phall of ’91, and that cocky so and so. Heaps of grub. Awash with popodums we attacked the sinking pickle boats. Another limeless encounter, rather ordinary, sadly; lacking a fiery one. Starters, on the other hand: shuffling our tushes like clucky hens about to pop one – Yum-Yum Peevan Prawns all round!
The main dishes, accompanied by bombay aloo and saag paneer sides, were erratically spiced. One should have been hotter, one milder. But, generally, very good. The naan’s, however, disappointed – dry, lifeless chipboard; suitable material for their next lavy makeover (which ought to be imminent). The beer, let it be said, bottled Cobra – a disused Kingfisher pump merely tantalised. The liqueur coffees compensating somewhat… Ultimately though, because of the hot cotton towels, I forgave them everything. Groaning in rapture under my wet cloth.
One fifty for four of us: an unstinting feed, a couple of beers and posh coffee. Plus that boothy bliss! Bury my body in a curry house dining booth! You know those family burial vaults – Pere Lachaise is teeming with them? Well, I got this fancy to get myself buried sat in a funerary curry booth. My bleached bones supported on chipboard naan breads, menu propped open. Join me, why not, for that sepulchral last supper. Casting our sockets over the to-die-for Chef’s Specials; ossified forever in grim Anticipation.
Judge ‘Gonzo’ Pickles
Fred ’Skippy’ Pickles