Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oysters Outside and Redskins in the Rain

Saturday was a cold wintery day and I was not wanting to go down to DC to a Super Secret Oyster Fest organized by a good friend Tim at the Gangplank Marina but it seemed the decision to not be there was not mine to make and I ended up going. Barb and I turned up expecting to board the Queen Anne boat and instead found ourselves trudging down towards a floating pontoon, the party boat and discovering we were the first to arrive. Eek! We looked at each other wondering who was going to freeze first but then we both changed our attitudes, put our best feet forward and started tidying up the area and unstacking chairs.
Tim had spent the whole morning driving to pick up 500 oysters from a place he'd discovered, Deltaville Oysters. I looked furtively at the sacks. I'm not an oyster lover and the only time I'd had them had been years ago at a party where I knocked a couple back with champagne. I'd brought a bottle with me this time to try and make the experience easier but I was a little apprehensive.
As we waited for Tim to get things going, I kept looking across at the Queen Anne, wishing we were there instead. My hands were quite numb by now so since I wasn't having to drive, thanks to Barb, I cracked open a beer to help numb my senses as well.
Tim got the steamer going and soon plates of oysters were ready for consumption with people taking it in turns to prize the shells open and share shucking jokes. I chugged a couple down and was amazed at how good they were. These bad boys were really fresh! 
Here's Timbo checking the steamer while another oyster prepares to slide down my throat. 
 Actually I was reluctant to swallow these whole, I did chew. I squeezed lemon juice over them, or drained the fluid off and filled the shell up instead with beer, or chased them down with champagne. I was having a ball but then suddenly stopped when I discovered that the new plate of oysters on the table were all raw, and I remembered that quite a few of the ones I'd just consumed had the same appearance. I stopped and digested this realization that I'd been chugging live fish but after a few seconds pause realized further that they'd tasted just fine, and so I resumed my feast. 
 Here's Bob, the Master Shucker and one of the humungous raw oysters that I consumed. Actually I could only do this once. These were a little too large for me. 
Barb had been very cautious at the start and had actually avoided these meaty molluscs, instead favoring chips and dip or chilli. But after a couple of beers, she headed over to the table and once started there was no stopping her. 
We had a minor celebrity on board, a publisher photographer, Chris Usher, who had been a presidential photographer to Bush. He was snapping away with his beat up old Nikon and was great to chat to.
It looked like this party was going to go on throughout the evening but we had to leave as Barb had a work Christmas dinner to attend. We left just as the dusk was creeping in and the temperature starting to drop further. The cold had been forgotten while we were partying with the food and company being so superb, but I was happy to leave with Barb and spend an evening on the sofa. But it was a truly brilliant afternoon. Thanks Tim!
The monument as we passed by and bid farewell to DC.
On Sunday, it was Redskins v Bucaneers football game at FedEx Field. My boss had given me free tickets and I was taking Debbie, Jim, Max and The Lukestar. It was the boys' first ever football game so we were all excited.
Saw this chap in the parking lot with a very aptly named shirt.
Me with the boys outside the stadium. The weather was awful with persistant rain but it wasn't as cold as the day before. Jim, Debbie and Luke took the covered seats while Max and I had the end zone seats down by the field. Despite the rain, Max was really enjoying it, and I hoisted him up in the air every time the Redskins came down our end. But by the end of the first quarter, we were both pretty drenched and joined the others further up in the stadium.
The Redskins played pretty well but missed a vital point in the last 9 seconds meaning we lost our chance to go into overtime and possibly win the game. But both boys enjoyed the experience and not a single tear was shed or a whiny voice was heard.
I was the only one not wearing snow pants and slowly the wet cold ebbed its way into my bones. Debbie stuffed my jacket into the drier when we got back to the house and Jim warmed up my car for me so I was sent off home feeling snug and cozy.
A wonderful wintery weekend!

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