Trotted up to Kilburn High Road to buy meat products for Gracie’s Lancashire Hot Pot in my lunch hour. Despite all Prince Charles’ bleating about MUTTON you cannot buy it for love nor money round these parts. I settled for neck of lamb instead as the nice butcher man in Corrigan’s said it was much the same. When I asked for two SHEEP’S KIDNEYS “or something similar” he delved a hand to the bottom of the pile marked PIG’S LIVER and pulled out two chunks of stuff so lord knows what I’ve got there. When I enquired about DRIPPING he said they did usually have it but they were all out. When I asked what I could use instead he suggested I could “put some fat through a mincer”. Jeepers. It is all sounding a bit “wartime” is it not?

So I headed up the road to another butcher by the name of Harris in search of dripping. There behind the counter was an elderly and infirm man with a piece of paper stuck to his lip and bloodstains on his apron and hands. I asked if he had any dripping. “Dripping?” he asked, making the paper flap around, “that’s all in the past my dear”. I nodded and said, “It’s an old recipe I’m doing”. “What are you making?” he enquired. I summoned up my best Gracie accent to say, “Lancashire Hot Pot” and the woman in the queue behind me laughed out loud. “How are they using the dripping?” he wondered. “Melting it then brushing it on top of the potatoes”, I advised. “GOOSE FAT” he shouted. “Goose Fat will be best for that,” and he got me a jar out of his fridge and put it in a blood smeared carrier bag.

So I have all the essential ingredients in the work fridge. I’m going out dancing tonight and don’t think a big bag of meat is necessarily a good thing to take with me so it will stay there overnight.

Am feeling slightly shaky now after telephone conversation with the Scot who has a pile of records and large gramophone horn as ransom at his flat. I have told a lie in saying that I will go over sometime and get them. I would prefer to send an extremely handsome man to collect them on my behalf. I shall work out how this can be done.

I cannot muster up the energy to feel sorry for the fact that Wee Jimmie Krankie is in bed with the flu on this his special birthday day…

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