1976 and all that – a real vintage
Trivia time. How much do you know about champagne? I don't know an awful lot about it myself, apart from the fact that it's French and expensive, obviously. Far more expensive than homebrew, a good enough reason to keep it out of my drinks cabinet.
However, I digress. I do know a bit about it. For instance, I am aware that English fizzy is often considered better than the French stuff these days. By everyone, except the French, naturally. A sweet little nugget of knowledge with which I can never resist teasing my French friends.
Anyhow, what I do happen to know about the fizzy stuff, is that no matter where it comes from, its quality is affected by the weather. Some years are better than others. Which is why you get vintage champagne.
Which means that it gets to be even more expensive than usual. Which must be nice for the people who make it.
Now, I don't know who the person is who makes that call. Nor do I know why they get given the right to declare one year so much more worthy than another. However, I do like the sound of the job. And since no-one else seems to have thought of it and for no other reason, I have decided to give it to myself.
That's right, dear reader, I've decided to put myself in charge of deciding what counts as a vintage season. I have no actual qualifications for this position, but as far as I can see, this is probably the best qualification there is. You know I'm not biased.
All of which is a long-winded way of announcing, for the first time in a while, that here in the South West we are at this very moment experiencing – a vintage summer. One to cherish and delight in for years to come. In my official role as person in charge of seasonal affairs, I am hereby declaring this summer to be a vintage. Yes, that's right, you read it here first. The summer of 2013 is officially joining the roll-call of heroic summers to remember for years and years to come.
That puts it in the same category as 1967, the summer of love, 1976, the summer of drought and finally, the summer of 2000. In case you're wondering, that last one is in there for purely personal reasons, which I don't want to go into now.
Getting back to the subject in hand, I feel it's worth pointing out that my decision was not just down to the weather. Admittedly, it has been glorious. But it's not the only reason I've decided to award this summer its blockbuster rating. Far from it. There are a whole host of good things clamouring for my attention.
For a start there are those 80 doggies dotted around Bristol. I'm sure we're not the only family that has taken to planning days out purely for the Gromit spotting opportunities. Day trip to London anyone? After all, there's a sculpture at Paddington station just itching to be ticked off the list.
Even that wasn't the main reason I'm handing out the vintage tag to this year's hottest time. No, the reason I'm loving it so much is that as a family we've discovered the ultimate joy of the South West staycation. A fancy way of saying none of us have got enough cash to afford a holiday so instead we're having huge great family days out to all the usual places and some not so usual places.
Haven't got space to go into details here but it's something I'll talk about in another column in the near future. So there you have it. The facts speak for themselves.
It's time to raise a cheer for the summer of 2013. Long may it continue and long may it live on in our memories. To think, there are children wandering around our streets who will grow up remembering these few delicious weeks as one of the best times of their young lives. Ah, I can feel myself getting all emotional as I type.
Enough with the words, I think it's time to raise a glass.
Of course, it won't be champagne. Maybe a tall glass of home-brewed ginger beer or similar. Hmm, talking of which, it's been quite a good season for the stuff.
Maybe I should declare another vintage year, for home brew. Hurrah.