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Pre-flight meal

We look at some more old aircraft but decide that, on balance, taking the new airship will be a better way to travel than risking our necks in these ridiculous contraptions. Juan wants to look at some more aircraft but I remind him that we are litherishly behind schedule so we go back to tell Sancho that we will be taking the airship.

Back at aunt's residence, Juan heads for the kitchen to throw some food together before our flight. In the dining room, Roly tells me that Sancho returned, said that he had to change, and hasn't been seen since, then, after Roly introduces me to a gentleman called Hajj, a new guest, he takes me aside and tells me that he is convinced that he has met Hajj before, but he can't remember where, or when, and, he adds, he has had the same feeling with all of the guests he has met, and he wonders if spending too much time with Juan is beginning to twist his mind.

I reassure Roly, telling him that most people who spend more than five minutes with Juan become mentally unhinged, however, I inform Roly that, in fact, he has met Hajj before, but before I can tell him where and when, Juan enters the room complaining that he couldn't find the ingredients for des oreilles de chat rôti, or compote de queue des souris dans les vomissures de la vache, so we will have to make do with tortue claire, terrine de poisson, roti de veau et legumes du jardin, Pont-l'Évêque, fruit, coffee, Vintage Auchroisk, Balmenach, and Glenlivet Private Reserve.

Roly, saying that George 'Beardy' Saintsbury always says that veal without Madeira is like a crocodile with no teeth, it might look impressive but it lacks bite, opens a bottle of Blandy's 1792; I add that Beardy also said that Madeira without Claret is like a boxer with no arms, amusing, but can't knock you out, and I open bottle of 1811 Bisquit Dubouche, Hajj says that he doesn't drink alcohol, but he reminds us that Beardy claims that Claret without Tokaji is like a snake without a tongue, it might be smooth, but it has no taste, and he opens a bottle of 1811 Tokay Essence. We salute Juan's cooking and aunt Humperdink's wine cellar, then, drooling and slobbering like starved pigs, we tear into meal and shove the food down our throats as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink's Diary