Greetings from the eve of Tier 2 here in London. So tomorrow we will be going into a second lockdown with the biggest change to our lives being NO HOUSEHOLD MINGLING. For me this will mean that during the week I’ll be here on my lonesome, and at the weekends I can see Mr Rathbone. For he is my SUPPORT BUBBLE. And a wonderful bubble-chum he is too.

My imaginary bubble-chums.

I know that many of you are in a similar position at the moment. But I have two big recommendations to help you stay sane and keep the good stuff flowing at this really weird time.

Keep your chin up!

First, if you are a writer, of any shape or form, check out the London Writers Hour. This is a truly magical “room” of writers who meet on zoom at the same time every day and silently write together.

It is run by the London Writers Salon but you can be anywhere in the world to join in, there are three slots each day. For me, during the week, seeing more than 100 writers scribbling or tip-tapping away at the same time is a joyful start to my mornings.

I HAVE IMAGINARY FRIENDS, I AM NOT ALONE! Here’s a link, it is free and it is magical.

Secondly, Abertoir is ONLINE THIS YEAR FOLKS!

You can watch everything in your own gaff. Although I LOVE going to Abertoir in person, of course this year it’s not possible. But lucky us, we can watch it all chez nous. This is highly, highly recommended my friends, even if you don’t consider yourself a horror fan, DO IT, you might surprise yourself! Here’s a link to this year’s programme. I am so looking forward to hearing the Vincent Price radio play Three Skeleton Key which has been illustrated especially for the festival.

I first went to the Abertoir Film Festival in 2011. I was hoping to meet Victoria Price, Vincent Price’s daugher, and I did! When I told her that I had cooked LOADS of Vincent’s recipes for the Vincentennial year she said, “You ROCK!” and signed my T-shirt – haha!

Meeting Victoria was a wonderful moment that had stellar repercussions. Through her I met the fabulous Peter Fuller of the Vincent Price Legacy UK and we three have had some brilliant adventures together, mostly involving cucumber crocodiles of course.

As regular readers might now, Peter and I are currently working on a Vincent Price Co*Star cookbook

and I’m also working on a “Walk Up an Appetite” project with Victoria which launches in November. Keep your eyes peeled! The general concept is, walk a mile, get a movie star recipe! Vincent’s recipe for a Thanksgiving turkey will be involved!

So the first time I went to Abertoir I was all on my lonesome and trepidatious but as I absolutely loved it, mostly because, Gaz the festival director was so welcoming and friendly and I got to hang out with the festival crowd until the wee small hours every night. My favourite film that year was Brutal Relax, I don’t think I will ever forget that film, hahaha. Horror films can be hilariously funny, I did not know this!

In another of those lovely serendipity happenings, a few years later Gaz asked if I could put together a menu of Vincent Price recipes to serve at a dinner for the Abertoir festival in 2015, and that was a FABULOUS experience! Remembering glorious events like these keeps me going at the moment…

When I find my original copy I’ll post a better photo

So if you are in the UK and want something fabulous to do over the Halloween weekend, get yourselves tickets to the Abertoir Horror Festival. I am planning to cook lots of horror related grub, including this if I can get my hands on one…

I’ve taken Friday off work so we can have THREE WHOLE DAYS OF HORROR! The festival runs from Wednesday 28th October (although there is a virtual pub quiz on the Tuesday) through to Sunday 1st November.

Why not rustle yourself up a huge jug of Vincent Price Bloody Marys for one or more of the movies?! Here’s a little video I made about Vincent’s food writing for the Guild of Food Writers and the recipes for the two Bloody Marys I mention are below.

Here is the MSG laden version from A Treasury of Great Recipes

and here is the Angostura Bitters version.

I raise a glass of one of these Bloody Marys in the general direction of the wonderful Gaz in Aberystwyth and wish him every success with Abertoir this year. I raise the other in the general direction of Parul and Matt who run the fabulous London Writers’ Salon. Cheers you BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE!

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