Who Won the Week (23 February 2020)

I have Fandango to thank for this title – he has been posting regularly on this subject from his west-coast-USA vantage point. I am interested in current affairs too, and normally have some nonsense or other to spout about one of the UK’s topical news stories. So, I like to join in. Maybe there’s something in your world that you’d like to post about?

I didn’t really have a winner this week, but I did read a quirky news story in the Irish Times which raised my eyebrows. It’s becoming clear to me that I need to think of these posts more in terms of quirkiness than in terms of winners/losers, but I’m going to keep the title and tag, just so I remain consistent with other posts on the theme.

Anyway, I bet you never picked up on this story from your reegular news feeds!

We’ve all heard of the Mary Celeste, right? The American ghost ship which was found drifting off the Azores in the late nineteenth century? Such an unusual story it has passed into folklore, so surely lightning could not strike twice?

Let me introduce the Alta. The Alta is is a freighter, which was en route from Greece to Haiti when, in October 2018, it suffered unrecoverable engine failure out in the Atlantic, about 1,400 miles from Bermuda. Its crew of ten were picked up by the US Coastguard, leaving the ship to drift.

You’d think someone would care about a ship, wouldn’t you? It’s not exactly tiny, it must be worth a bob or two, and after all, this was 2018. But the ship was allowed to drift. And drift. And drift. Last August it was spotteed back across the ocean, off the coast of Africa, having drifted about 1,500 miles across the Atlantic.

But the Alta wasn’t finished. She continued drifting. This time, northwards, until Storm Dennis finally lifted it onto the Irish coast at Ballycotton (what a beautiful name!) in County Cork last week. Because, of course, before Storm Dennis hit the UK, it tore through Ireland.

You wouldn’t have thought any of this was possible in this day and age, would you?

There was a serious side to this story, though, because when it was abandoned, this ship had an amount of fuel on board, so the Irish Times were actually reporting this story from a pollution perspective. If it breaks up, the Irish will have a job on their hands to clear up the mess. I did have a look this morning to see if there was any further news – as of yesterday, so far so good. It is still ongoing but the vessel hasn’t broken up yet.

Iowa Democrat Caucus

Just wondered if anybody following the US election might be interested in what’s being said on this side of the Atlantic.

https://www.channel4.com/news/iowa-democrats-choosing-candidate-to-take-on-trump

I was particularly interested in what people were saying about Trump, about 2 minutes in.

For my money, Channel 4 News is about the best (i.e. serious) that the UK has to offer.

Tart!

This is my first post since the New Year, so I’d like to start by wishing everybody a Happy New Year. I hope, if you did anything, that you had a good time.

I had a quiet time last night. I don’t go much past 9pm these days, I managed until about 10pm last night (thank you, Arnie, but I gave up and am watching the rest this morning!) but was sound asleep by midnight. Even some local fireworks (apparently) didn’t stir me. But last night, I also had a little help…

One thing I do like to do on New Year’s Eve is to crack open a nice bottle of wine. I’ve never drunk large quantities of wine, even less now, but it is something which always fascinated me. I used to love going over to France to visit the wine regions and maybe add something to the collection.

Probably our most successful trip was down to Burgundy in 2002. Not only did we all have a brilliant time, it was very warm, sunny weather and the gite had a pool, but I managed to bring back a few cases of superb wines, direct from the producers. My daughter, who was then about three, even enjoyed coming tasting with me (although her sips were limited, and I was driving)! And Burgundy is hallowed ground in wine terms. There is a road between Dijon and Beaune, the D974, and the villages and vineyards along the road read like a who’s who of world-class wines. Before God invented road numbering, it was simply known as the Route des Grands Crus, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

© Ecrivin.fr

But because I found learning about wine preferable to drinking it, once I returned from France, my collection would only decrease very slowly. So this was my treat last night (or, two glasses of it. The rest is there for today, to enjoy with my cheese sandwich):

Don’t let the grubbiness of the label fool you – it is grubby because I have let it sit, untouched, for twenty years. This is actually a bottle of grand cru wine, 1995 vintage. In (Burgundy) wine terms, a grand cru is the highest reputation vineyard. It refers to the vineyard rather than the particular wine or the year, although the vinyard gains its overall status, of course, based on the wines produced there over the years. A grand cru is about as safe a bet you can get for a good wine.

The grower, the Louis Latour company, owns plots in several vineyards in the region, and the Chateau Corton Grancey ranks high among them. I always liked the French appellation system because just these few labels narrow the origin to a specific couple of fields – in the world – not just for wines but all sorts of other foods too. Plus Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) status guarantees a certain standard. If we think there is any merit in identifying regional foods, we should be using that system too. In the UK, it exists for very few things but is not widespread – we’ve usually no idea where our food has come from.

Ahhh… nothing better than remembering a decent holiday over a delicious glass of wine! Delicious? I’ve got to say more than just delicious. How about sublime? Burgundy is my personal favourite region in any case – surpassing even Bordeaux – and something like champagne is vinegar in comparison. When I taste a Burgundy, I expect to be transported back, and fortunately this wine did not disappoint. So, let’s say that by bedtime, 2019 was looking better, and New Year’s Day, at least, doesn’t look bad either! I’m sure it’ll start going downhill tomorrow!

Lastly, my featured image. Orange tart. Wine was not all my daughter managed to try out!