The only heat in this igloo till Friday when the boilerman cometh is that provided by a rather sulky peat fire so I’m keeping warm by a) spending as much time as possible outdoors and b) cooking up a storm. Option b meshes very well with some upcoming catering requirements: a houseful of guests at the weekend, preceded by a Trafalgar dinner on Friday evening.

I believe there was a time when the anniversary of Trafalgar was marked across the nation. Nowadays only Nelson nuts remember it. I think this is regrettable and on the basis that it’s better to bake a pie than curse the famine of national heroes, I’m creating a dish called Nelson’s Revenge. It contains… yes… pigeons that have pooped their last.

I’m not going overboard  Smiley with the naval battle theme but I will share with you that I’m making a dulse seaweed soda bread to eat with the smoked salmon, and a key lime thing on a gingernut base for dessert. I also managed to get a bottle of that elusive Graham’s port to go with the Stilton. At some point in the evening, possibly the cocktail hour, I shall be unveiling my, ahem, portrait of Nelson. It’s a sort of acrylic hommage to Modigliani. So, if you’re in the neighbourhood, Rum Sours at seven bells of the dogwatch.

And speaking of dog watch: it turns out that someone other than my friends and relations has been reading this blog. The BBC picked up on my comments regarding the ethics of eating dogs and have invited me to say more. Suddenly I’m a pundit. Such excitement. I wonder whether I’ll be asked to taste dog. Better than being forced to eat crow whichever way you look at it.

As I slipped on a second cardigan I just remembered a rather apposite Nelson quote. It was a dark and stormy night, Horatio was on the quarterdeck wearing nothing warmer than a polyester blazer from Top Man and a young lieutenant offered him his greatcoat.

‘Don’t need it,’ replied the Admiral. ‘My love of England keeps me warm.’

Leave a Comment