They say that a Chinese godfather makes you an offer you can’t understand. But money talks in a clear language everywhere, and certainly in Barbados.
Having received close to a trillion pounds from China in loans and investments, Barbadians have sacked Her Britannic Majesty as their head of state. The Queen couldn’t find a loose trillion quid to match China’s offer.
Barbados has become a republic or, if we are being totally honest, a Chinese protectorate. That makes me wonder what would happen if Chairman Xi were to make a cash offer to Wales. He probably won’t though: the Chinese have trouble enunciating even single Ls, never mind the double ones favoured by the Welsh.
Her Majesty can’t be criticised for not holding on to that job. But, much as it pains me to say so, that doesn’t mean she should be off limits for any other criticism.
Mine concerns her drinking habits, currently in the news. Apparently Her Majesty, God bless her, has given up her customary nightcap of a dry martini. Such was her doctors’ advice, and I’m happy she took it.
But dry martini at night? Really, Your Majesty. This is an excellent drink, but not after dark, unless one is close to the Arctic Circle in winter.
A dry Martini, mixed four parts of gin to, ideally, no parts of vermouth (although a drop of Noilly Prat couldn’t hurt), is a perfect aperitif before a late lunch or early dinner. It’s usually served with a lemon twist or an olive. When it’s both, the cocktail is called ‘Dickens’ in New York (Oliver Twist, get it?).
The only beverages suitable for a nightcap are either malt whisky or cognac, and a noble-born woman like our Queen, God bless her, ought to have known that. Anyway, that’s not an issue any longer: Her Majesty has lost her nightcap in the same week she lost Barbados.
Speaking of gin, it’s Gordon’s that currently holds a royal warrant. I’m in no position to offer advice to Her Majesty, God bless her, but I would have removed that distinction after Diageo lowered the gin’s strength to 37.5 per cent.
Gin ought to be at least 40 per cent, with a big emphasis on at least. Anything less than that is a woke travesty defying the 250 years of Gordon’s tradition. Since monarchy is an inherently conservative institution, the Queen, God bless her, should uphold traditional values – especially where booze is concerned.
These aren’t my only alcohol-related gripes concerning the Queen’s habits. For apparently she enjoys a glass of sweet German wine with dinner.
Sweet? German? With dinner? I’ve heard of iconoclasm, but this goes too far.
Sweet wines are otherwise known as pudding wines, which hints, none too subtly, at the course with which they should be drunk. If consumed with courses other than pudding, they kill the taste buds and, with them, the flavour of the food.
By contrast, table wines from Bordeaux or Burgundy complement the food, the way Trinidad complements Tobago (now we are on the subject of the Commonwealth). As to German sweet wine, I can only put this down to the Queen’s ancestry.
I know she can’t afford Barbados, but surely her finances must stretch to Château d’Yquem or, at a pinch, a lesser Sauternes? If not, I know a chap who’s on the board of Corney & Barrow, the City wine dealer. I’m sure he could arrange for a suitable royal discount – in fact, being a confirmed monarchist, he’ll be honoured to do so.
Anyway, it’s lunch time, and my cocktail shaker is about to see some action. Two ounces of Tanqueray, a drop of vermouth, two ice cubes, exactly seven shakes — now that delicious drink is ready to be strained into a martini glass and topped with two skewered olives.
Here’s to Her Majesty, God bless her. She shouldn’t be too upset about Barbados – good riddance, I say. Our gain is China’s loss.