Lost in trans­la­tion

Country Life Every Week - - Spectator -

Large haunches of veni­son are on the bar­be­cue. We’ve learnt from last year that veg­eta­bles don’t go down well—the plates of stew came back with them left be­hind, the lamb hav­ing been picked out—so this year, it’s meat and coleslaw. And buns.

Be­tween buy­ing the rolls and ar­riv­ing in the vine­yard, I re­ceive a call ask­ing me to bring six bot­tles of wine, which I select from the lo­cal Co-op, rather ap­pre­hen­sively be­cause I know noth­ing about wine and this will be drunk by peo­ple who do.

Within a few min­utes of our ar­rival, Zam, who’s driv­ing the tele­han­dler, crashes into a sev­en­storey tower of Chardon­nay grapes in crates, a hitch in the pro­duc­tion that ap­palls him and, as it co­in­cides with our ap­pear­ance, I be­lieve his body lan­guage is telling me this is my fault.

We dis­cuss the crunch­ing noise we’ve just heard be­fore his sis­ter says ‘do you think we should help?’ and I feel ex­actly as I did when a friend of Will’s slipped el­e­gantly to the floor in our kitchen and I stepped over her to reach the fridge. ‘Has she just fainted?’ some­one asked, which prompted me take more help­ful ac­tion. I of­ten need to be told.

We gath­ered the grapes back into the crates, leav­ing a fair amount on the ground, where they be­came tram­pled while still look­ing jewel-like. It was a sticky busi­ness, but good to feel use­ful. I try to fur­ther re­deem my­self by pro­duc­ing the red wine.

‘Looks fine,’ I’m told. ‘Did you bring a corkscrew?’

Luck­ily, some­one else has pro­duced bot­tles with screw tops, which one of the pick­ers pho­to­graphs on his ipad, hav­ing po­litely asked if I minded. I have no idea why. The wine, served in enamel mugs, goes down rapidly. So rapidly in fact that Zam has now put one of my bot­tles into Al­fie’s gum­boot, which he’s bang­ing against a post in or­der to work the cork free. This is not a rapid ma­noeu­vre.

Dis­cus­sion breaks out be­tween the pick­ers about the type of meat they’re en­joy­ing. Zam breaks off from the bot­tle bang­ing to ex­plain that it’s veni­son (wide arms out­stretched as antlers) and not boar (long teeth and snort­ing), but some­thing is get­ting lost in trans­la­tion be­cause a cou­ple of peo­ple re­place their rolls on the pile un­touched. The fore­man’s wife is look­ing par­tic­u­larly hor­ri­fied.

‘That was fun,’ I say, ly­ing down on the grass when it’s over. ‘I didn’t get a brownie,’ some­one grum­bles. ‘There were not enough,’ an­other adds. ‘Let’s go and press these in the apple press’—there’s a bucket of grapes next to the car.

We pack up and leave, the car boot still full of buns and five bot­tles of red wine.

I thought I’d be ar­rested by the su­per­mar­ket po­lice

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.