Mrs Aitch discovered the Lancashire Bomb a year or two ago, and it's now become very much a part of our Christmas. It's the most delicious creamy, strongly flavoured cheese. Invented by the Shorrock family about twenty five years ago. Hand-made too, and as they say on their website:
It has proven to be a great success in the North of England and is spreading South rapidly by word of mouth due to the great taste and originality of the product.
Visitors from the South have been sampling and buying the cheese bombs to take home and share with family and friends so they can experience the sensational Shorrock's hand made Lancashire Bombs.
The Lancashire Bombs are matured over two years creating a very creamy and full flavoured taste and texture. In addition to this original Lancashire Bomb Shorrock's now produce a variety of different flavours, this includes the Vintage Gold which is an extra year matured.
The cheese is wrapped in a black wax, with a loop, and looks very much like one of those old-fashioned fuse bombs cartoon characters used to throw: think Guy Fawkes, or sinister men with waxed moustaches, black capes and fedoras. More importantly, the cheese is utterly delicious, with a strong flavour and creamy texture.
I think it's terribly important to support enterprising local suppliers, such as Shorrocks. So please get on to their website right now and order in some cheese immediately. And if you don't fancy a Lancashire Bomb, there's a wide range of similar bombs to choose from: The Red Onion, The Cracked Black Pepper, The Garlic and Herb, The Hot Chilli, The Whisky and The Green Olive.
And some sad news...
Oskie, our beloved little 17 year old Burmese cat, is no more. The End happened suddenly. An urgent trip to the vet, brief hope ("it's probably a balance problem") and then that heart-wrenching call: "we need to make a decision immediately." Kidney failure, neurological problems, various complications and a reluctance on my part to go through the similar trauma we experienced almost exactly last year to the day; and you know that it's time to make that tough, but necessary, decision you've been dreading for the last few years.
And so, on a beautiful, golden afternoon in late November, poor Venetia dragged away from work, we made that final trip to the vet. Struggling to keep a stiff upper lip (and failing miserably), our lovely vet in tears, the whole wretched business was over in a jiffy.
Oskie was my first proper pet- and my first love; I won't deny that I was besotted. There had been a goldfish (won at the Gerrard's Cross fair), a neglected tortoise and a gaggle of miserable stick insects, but that was about it: my parents weren't very keen on animals. Maybe that's why I wasn't prepared for the sporadic gobbets of genuine, deeply felt grief that hit me the following week.
I'm fine now, of course I am, and looking forward, when the time is right, to the new additions to our cat and dog dynasty (Mrs Aitch is keen on a black pug, I like the idea of a whippet, and another Burmese kitten) but Oskie was something special- highly intelligent, elegant, affectionate and pretty. Sometimes, when she sat at the right angle, and cocked her head she looked like something straight from the pages of Beatrix Potter.
She had been through all my bachelor ups and downs, girlfriends good and bad, and survived the famous Battersea boiler explosion (neglected servicing on my part). A feisty little number too: she thought nothing of having a go at intruders: a scraggy town fox, four times her size; Polish builders (don't think she liked the smell of their rancid roll-ups) and poor old Valerie, our long suffering cleaner, who left notes saying 'that she had fed the rat'.
I wasn't even sure if I wanted to write about this, let alone tack it on to a post about cheese, for blogging is a strange compromise between privacy and self-promotion, but as I've been writing the Greasy Spoon for so long now, I suspect that it would have been false if I didn't. Anyway, I don't think Oskie would have minded. She would have sniffed that Lancashire Bomb, turned her nose up at it nonchalantly, and strolled away.