This weekend I have mostly been hand-washing. This isn’t an OCD issue. At least, I don’t think it is. It’s mothmageddon. Forget Trafalgar, Austerlitz or Stalingrad, this is not a battle, it’s a war. Twice a year every lambswool or cashmere (especially cashmere, it’s just sooooo soft and delicious, those moths love it) jumper, scarf, cardigan, dress and hat in my wardrobe gets washed, dried, bagged in vacuum-sealed plastic and frozen for three days. (Actually, at any time of year there is usually some cashmere in my freezer: cashmere, ice cubes, bags of ragu and vodka; I do hope you don’t come here for glamour.)
Then I get into a very attractive plastic gloves and face mask get-up, wipe the inside of the chest of drawers and the wardrobe with a chemical mixture called Pro-Active C and set off a defogger that fizzes like a snowflake fountain on bonfire night except that instead of being pretty it’s deadly to moths. I buy all this stuff from a website called pestcontroldirect.co.uk to which I am (not so) secretly addicted. If you’re in the mood to browse, my favourite section is the staff biography page. How many people can claim to have “experience in pest control works” in the UK, Libya and Saudi Arabia? Fighting talk. That’s Bob, by the way, who with his brown shirt, grey hair and slightly anxious snaggle smile is an unlikely-looking mercenary in the war against wasps, bedbugs and woodworm.
Big digression. Back to wine.
Specifically, to a red called Torre de Falco Nero di Troia 2010 Puglia, Italy. This baby is only £5.29 at the moment (down from £7.99 until 9th October) and as I am on a financial diet, and have a bit of a thing about reds from Puglia (Italy’s heel) it went straight in my basket at Waitrose yesterday. Nero di Troia is the heroic grape (legend has it that Diomedes brought it to Italy from Troy) and, forgive the cheesy cliché, but this wine is certainly heroic for the price. Think silky-smooth texture, and bramble jelly moving swiftly on to fragrant sour cherries. I love it for its Italian bite: it’s not sweet and fat, it has a kick at the end. Thought it would be good with pork fillet. Well, it was, or at least the chunks I pinched all brown and juicy and garlicky from the frying pan as I cooked went brilliantly. But at the last minute I decided to make a lime, cashew and mint pork stir fry which was lovely but with the wine was a bit like putting on a Marni print sundress with a fur wrap. Did. Not. Go. Fabulous separately though. And after all that moth-work I had earned it.