Well hello there. You're looking good. Have you been working out? Or have you done something different with your hair? Just relax and make yourself comfortable while we turn that dimmer switch all the way down, light some candles, pour you a glass of wine and slip on some Barry White. We’ve got some lovin’ for you, Blogbins-style, and the chance to win a bottle of fizz…
Before you start worrying that this is taking a rather creepy and unsavoury turn that might end up with you topless and feeling dirty by the end of the page, let us give you the backstory. Regular commuters on the Oddbus may already know about our quarterly themes, but for all of those who have only just hopped aboard, let us bring you up to speed. We've divided the year into four bite size chunks and allocated each one a theme. Our first stop was “taste” at the beginning of the year, where we explored the safe territory of food and wine matching. We then lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a wall of “sound”, where we found the perfect songs to accompany our wines. Back on the road like Jack Kerouac, we took a wrong turn and ended up in “words”, where we had a bit of a face-off with the law before they decided it would be foolhardy to do so and as such left us to wend our merry way. Where to next then? Well, the Oddbus has just embarked on the final leg of this year's vinous journey and we have a complementary ticket for you to join us on the road to Lovetown.
Love? What kind of a theme is that for this time of year? Everyone knows that February is when all the mushy stuff happens. Well not really. There’s a spike in the suicide rate and the number of people who file for divorce around that time of year, loads of underwear is bought but most of it is never worn because the size was wrong and on 14 February 287AD St Valentine was beaten to death with clubs before being beheaded for good measure. Not so loving is it? No, we reckon that the end of the year is the time for love, these long chilly nights are perfect. November and December are more popular for weddings than February, then there are all the parties, celebrations and of course Christmas. What’s not to love?
Sorry to drop the other C-Bomb on you. We know that we are retailers, but we still get annoyed by our compadres rolling Christmas out earlier and earlier each year. Do they really think you are that disorganised? Or do they think you weren't aware that it was coming round, again? Why must they crush your festive spirit by stressing you out? As you know, here at Oddbins we are not your typical retailer. We've got some news for you: Christmas is not a unique snowflake, there will be another one next year. There's still plenty of time to prepare, it's only November. It is a matter of fact that December is all about Christmas, buying presents, thinking about your loved ones and spreading the love around. Here at Oddbins we say that November should be all about you, look after number one for a bit. You don't have to give all that love away until next month, keep some for yourself. If you aren’t sure how to go about that, we’ve got three lovely ideas for you here…
Treat Yourself: Next month you are going to receive a whole load of gifts that you didn't want. You are going to have to smile through it even though the physical act of just holding that nasty jumper has caused a small part of you to die inside. How many more scented candles do you need? How do their manufacturers cope with the smell at the factory, when one in your house smells too pungently it causes you to gag a little every time you enter the same room as it? We have too many fillings to eat toffees; a whole box of them is just cruel. No, we say treat yourself now, it’ll soften the disappointment later. And besides the family are coming next month so you’ll have to hide all the good stuff, what better place could there be to hide it than in your tummy?
We know this all sounds a little selfish, so how about this as a compromise; our new and exclusive Wine Not War Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A thoroughly modern offering from one of the world’s most prestigious wine regions, packed to the rafters with dark fruits and meaty spices, you couldn’t ask for a better autumnal red to accompany a rich stew. And if that isn’t enough, for every bottle sold, we’ll donate £1 to the charity War Child, whose efforts are offering real hope to children caught up in the horrors of war all over the world. A great wine, a great cause, a great way to spread some love while treating yourself.
Cook Yourself Something Nice: Whatever the rest of the world thinks we pretty damn fine cooks here in the UK. Apparently we’re even better than those culinary masters, the French. Don’t believe us? The following inflammatory words are not ours; they are the words of French television station TF1: “They trounced us at Trafalgar. They whipped us at Waterloo. Now the English have scored their ultimate victory: they are better at cooking than us… we, the self-proclaimed kings of nosh.” (of course they said it in French). This revelation was based on a survey carried out by two magazines, one French and one British, which showed that here in Blighty more of us cook daily and we spend longer over it than our French counterparts. This might just mean that we’re slower, but based on what you guys tell us you’re cooking; we think it’s more likely that you’re all just summoning up your inner Hestons and Jamies.
Well we say, why not give your food the restaurant treatment it deserves? Take Miles Mossop’s Max as an example, at £18 it’s a couple of quid more than you might expect to spend on a bottle of red wine in a restaurant, but this is a whole nother level. We’re talking fine wine not house wine here my friend. And introduce Max to a good home-cooked steak and boom, flavour fireworks popping off all over your mouth. Want more of an incentive? Well at home there’s no 12.5% service charge, no restaurant mark up, no drunken office parties and it is a really short trip home. The only downside to staying in is the washing up, but that can wait until tomorrow.
Experiment: Do people really end up settling down with their first loves? Here at Oddbins Towers we reckon probably not. Love is like wine, you have to try a few before you find the one for you. What if your perfect tipple is out there, you just haven’t found it yet? That’s why we hold free wine tastings in all our shops every weekend to allow you to experiment. There's no obligation to buy anything, just pop in for some banter and a little snifter of something delicious. Who knows, you might find “the one”, and maybe even a bottle of wine!
Apparently a survey has revealed that thousands of marriages a year can be directly traced back to romances that began during coffee breaks at work. We say pah to bean based hot drinks, the flickering flames of passion are far more likely to be kindled over something grape-based. If you have a story of cupid swooping in low over a glass of wine or love at first sight as you both reached for the last bottle on the shelf of the wine merchant, then tell us about it. We’ve so many fond feelings at the moment, we’re offering a free bottle of fizz, to be delivered in time for Christmas, for the best three stories. So get your quills out and send us a love note, or just type it into the comments box below. (TO)
This post was written while drinking: Château de la Roulerie Chenin Blanc. All this lovin’ has got us a bit hot under the collar, like we’ve just been dancing Gangnam Style in a sauna wearing a gorilla costume lined with Deep Heat. Luckily this cheeky little Chenin Blanc is the wine equivalent of an ice-cold shower, perfect for cooling down. Don’t think this is over though, we’ll be back soon to drop some more love on you, because like Audrey Hepburn, we were “born with an enormous need for affection and a terrible need to give it.” And if this hasn't been enough entertainment for you, why not check out our video of the final of The Palate 2012.