Thursday, October 24, 2013


I've been waiting for my MA results, and to ward off the inevitable inertia, have been writing poems.

And reading them.

In public.

Seeing as this is of a more 'professional' endeavour, I've blogged about them on my proper website, rather than here, which is fast becoming a ramshackle array of words.

Here I talk about Poetry Action in Swansea Market

& here I talk about the Made in Roath festival.

I've started going to the excellent Howl open-mic in Swansea, where everyone is lovely. Apart from the heckler on my first visit. He was a bit mean.

I'm also writing for Wales Arts Review - read my Manics piece here and my review of the Rhys Davies Short Story conference here


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Firsts / Lego

I have two kids. They are forever experiencing firsts, be it steps, words, days at school, it never ends for them.

For us though, as adults, it gets slower: the gaps between these fresh events in our own lives are filled with the mundane and the domestic.

This week, though, I have had some bizarre firsts. I (along with several others) was heckled at a poetry reading by a fella who was in no fit state and really needed a hug; and I've been called a Welsh Nationalist. I'm (notionally) English, so I'm not sure how that works, but still, brilliant.

Oh yeah, and a very nascent and talented writer, who I'm old enough to be a parent of, called me a 'new young writer'. I wish.

It's been an odd few days.

All of this is neatly wrapped up in the hours I spent at my mother-in-laws dining table making this out of thirty-year-old Lego blocks.

Not only is it an awesome red dragon, but his head rotates and swivels, his wings flap, and his tail has two points of articulation. I love Lego. And I love having a boy who loves Lego as much as his dad does.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Desubicado is the word I was looking for in my Fiction Fiesta review (below).
It is a Spanish term meaning displaced, confused, but an extreme of this.
A lack of belonging to a place.
A lack of 'home'.
The opposite of my adopted country's hiraeth?
I don't know.
What I do know is that this profound sense of desubicado helps me to describe something I've been trying to put a finger on, a word on, for some time.
In fact, I've got a novel-in-progress with this as it's main theme - I just lacked the word to describe it before today.


(Thank you to Eduardo Halfon for introducing the term, Inés Garland for confirming its importance, and to W.N. Herbert for a: making notes and b: tweeting it)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Notes on a Fiesta

I went to the first day of Cardiff’s second Fiction FiestaSaturday 18th May 2013.
Fiction Fiesta, they tell us, is:
An innovative programme of literary events celebrating international fiction and poetry in translation alongside home-grown talent.
Here are my thoughts on the day. The morning sessions were more academic, discussion-led, while the afternoon sessions were primarily readings. I hope some of this translates, as it were.


I’ve been a student at Cardiff University since September. And this, shockingly, is the first time I’ve set foot in the main building.
The room we’re in – The Council Chamber - is a little more formal than the Humanities building – wooden panels and liver-spotted paintings of University-type men (no women) looking very official and Chancellorific. Tomorrow will be in Dempsey’s bar. They couldn’t book it for today.
There’s a stall being set up by Amy from Seren Books. Lots of lovely books. I would buy a lot of them, but I don’t think I’ll get away with it.
I buy a pre-publication copy of New Welsh Review issue 100, and donate some money to the charity we’re supporting today: Education For The Children, who support the poorest of children in Guatemala and other Central American countries.
Let the Fiesta commence!


I: The Translated Life of Rebecca Jones

At about twenty-past nine on this Saturday morning, after two weeks of trying to find some time to read her book, Angharad Price broke my heart.

I wanted to tell Angharad Price this, but she scarpered, straight after the morning session, which was a great shame, as I’d loved to have had the chance to do that awkward eavesdrop while she talks to someone of importance while I hover, hoping to get her attention.

Anyway, Angharad, in conversation wirh Jon Gower,was a very interesting. In speaking about her novel The Life of Rebecca Jones / O! Tyn Y Gorchudd , she was very  self-deprecating or reticent about her ‘authorship’ – instead pointing out that the book was fact, and she’d just compiled the words. The eponymous Rebecca was Angharad’s great aunt. The book is the family history, through Rebecca’s eyes.

However, and this is a point Jon Gower made: Angharad as ‘historical compiler’ or ‘historical embellisher’ acts like a seamstress, stitching these disparate pieces of story together. A motif attached to title character, too.

The book is frequently described as being about a family where there are three blind brothers. What Price does best at, though, is to align the sympathies and pride of the readership with the narrator, the aforementioned Rebecca Jones, and to gain an interest into her world, and life.

That this understated character can have so buy reader buy-in, that so many readers will and have reacted as I did, with utter sadness, then it goes to prove that Angharad Price is not a storyteller, or a story thief, but a writer, using the foundations of reality and family to tell her story, her truth, of the life of Rebecca Jones. It’s Rebecca’s ‘autobiography’ – and therefore Angharad’s work.

Whether there is a veil in the way or not, it’s irrelevant. This book (Angharad said it isn’t a novel!) with its combination of deliberately simplistic and quotidian prose, elegant, almost spiritual passages about the river, and the poetry of englyn and hymns and longer poems, works so well. It takes in the whole of the Twentieth Century, and the history of farming in Wales, and makes it personal and compact rather than the expansive outside world. It takes Rebecca Jones, and makes her sing and love.

Angharad clearly adores her book. It took her the best part of 10 years to allow a translation into English:
‘I wanted to let it breathe in Welsh’
I think it was a very sensible decision. Having won at the Eisteddfod, the book was immediately published. In Welsh it quickly became canon, and the lack of a translation maintained that specialness. As an established welsh book, appreciated in English, as a work in translation, as a glimpse into a truly different culture and language.

There is a sense of inevitability when she talks about the success of the book. When translated, a parallel English / Cymraeg edition was published, and barely noticed. Lateran English-only edition it was published by a London-based press, and all of a sudden it is reviewed in national broadsheets and declared a masterpiece. Which it is.


II: Displacement and Childhood

The second panel at Fiction Fiesta saw the Argentinian short story-writer and journalist Inés Garland and Guatemalan writer Eduardo Halfon read from their work, and discuss it, with prompts from the chair - Fiesta patrón Richard Gwyn.

Garland, though prolific in her homeland, has just had her first story translated and published in English, by Senor Gwyn inthe 100th issue of New Welsh Review.

Halfon is also widely published in Spanish, but his first book to be translated into English so far is last years The Polish Boxer.

Halfon’s novel-ish-short story collection is the best thing I’ve read in the last six months, hands down. It is also the only thing I’ve read three times in the last six months. I did get to tell him this, thankfully. He didn’t run away screaming or call the police.

The panel talked about identity and versions, alternate selves: Halfon’s narrator in The Polish Boxer is a character called Eduardo Halfon, but is not the same person.
‘He smokes a lot. I smoke a little’
Garland too writes of a reality / fiction amalgam – her story 'A Perfect Queen' takes in an incident of her childhood, but she remembers it, deliberately unreliably, mixing fact with what it needs to work as a story.

Both writers, although from very different parts of the Americas, talked of the idea that in ‘Latin American’ writing, there is no dividing line of fact and fiction, only stories. Halfon makes the point that he wants the reader to feel like they are reading real events.

This is the writing of ‘a truth’, rather than ‘the truth’.

A question from the floor asks how South American Literature or Latin American Literature can be such a collective genre, almost, whilst European literature does not have the same catch-all generalisation / genrefication. Garland and Halfon admit their own difficulty in even obtaining each other’s work – that Guatemalan fiction is not available in Argentina, and vice versa. Spain is the melting pot where this work all meets, to be dispatched and consumed. 

It is all too easy to compare everything with Márquez, with Borges, or Bolaño , and ignore that there can be other voices, lacking in magical realism or whatever else is ‘expected’ of a South American author

What neither mention, which is apparent to me, is that it is easier to pigeon-hole all Spanish language writing from South America as ‘South American Literature’. European fiction cannot really exist, in that we have too many different languages, the romance and Germanic and Slavic (...etc) roots of which all provide different textures and rhythms.

Whereas (lusophonic Brazil aside) Central and South America, ‘Latin’ America, are united by this linguistic consensus, by a collective consciousness of words. European fiction is too diverse and dispersed to ever have the same impact as English, North American or Latin American literature, purely because it lacks that unifying communal vocabulary.  

One thing that united the panel, language and literary capability aside, is there sense of wanderlust, of displacement even. Perhaps this sense of travel and ennui at sitting still is the key to writing. Gwyn spent a long period vagabonding about Europe. Garland started as an au pair in London before heading for the continent, while Halfon moved from Guatemala to the USA and back to Guatemala. He is half-Jewish, and married to a Spaniard. He used a unique Spanish word, one that can almost be translated as an extreme form of displacement and unbelonging.

I think he should move to Cardiff. We could be friends. I don’t tell him that. He might take out a restraining order.


III. Potter versus Gower

Readings from poet Clare Potter and writer Jon Gower were the first serving of afternoon entertainment.  Clare went first. As Jon said straight after.
‘Remind me never to try and follow Clare Potter’
She performed her poetry with such singsong gusto and humour and love for the subjects. Potter sings and almost raps, fusing Blackwood valley-girl with a New Orleans jazz twang that just captivates. I saw her do a similar set of poems in October, one of her first performances after taking some time off. Some six months later and she really is back. I'm a prose writer, but Potter really could make me turn...

Jon, freshly nominated for the Welsh Book of the Year award for his Wales at Water’s Edge read some of his work, and it was clear quite why he has been so highly regarded.


IV. Pick a Number

Tiffany Atkinson, albeit sore-of-throat, read some tricky poems. Tricksy as they made you laugh and then regret laughing and want to cry. Her traffic jam poem (the name of which escapes me) being the prime example of this phenomena. I've got to stop enjoying poems. I'll start writing them again if we're not careful.

Charles Boyle, a man of many nom-de-plumes, read from his ‘Jack Robinson’s collection of micro-vignettes from London ,W12., Days and Nights in W12. Boyle read a selected few, before engaging in a bout of ‘call out the page number’ which led to unexpected storied being read.


V. Turks, a Scot, and a Welsh ex-vagabond.

Richard Gwyn and W.N. Herbert closed the day with tales of Turkey, and their recent translation project there, and read out some of the work they’d completed. Herbert read a piece he’d translated in Chinese, while Gwyn read some new poetry, prose poems being he’d not written for a while. Herbert finished, at 6pm prompt, with poems of dogs and other such amusement. We even got a poetic duet between Herbert and Potter.



Wine on the lawn, with up’n’coming superstar Joao Morais, and two of my fellow MA classmates. A train home accompanied by one of my tutors, and lots of ideas and inspirations. And confidence, and affirmations, about where my writing is going. I am also very annoyed to have to miss the Sunday session. Here’s to next year, anyway.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Anyone, Anyone...

So, as part of my MA, there is a substantial amount of work covering the Teaching of Creative Writing, as well as the Writing element.

And tomorrow marks my first major development on that front, as I'm going into a local school to be the 'visiting writer' for their Creative Writing club.

I've had some excellent and inspirational visiting writers recently: Tessa Hadley, Clare Potter, James Smythe and Gwyneth Lewis (the first Welsh Poet Laureate, no less).
Each writer generally sets tasks appropriate to their field of interest, or experience, and  helps us to write more efficiently, more effectively, by sharing tips and techniques.

So I've got a lot to live up to tomorrow. I'll be doing my best to give the kids at the school the sum total of my knowledge, and, once it's done, there's the small matter of teaching a 3rd year undergraduate class in a fortnights time. And a 6000 word portfolio. And an essay on Teaching Creative Writing...


Oh yeah, I had a VERY short story pop-up on LIT BOMB - a new online lit journally thing with a very good name. The story has an equally good name, suggested by my ace tutor at the OU: it is called Alexander and Burgurs and Xavier and it is safe to say I will not be reading this out tomorrow.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dear Ralph.

Dear Ralph...


I hoped I'd WAKE UP to a BEAUTIFUL DAY but alas, WHY DOES IT ALWAYS RAIN ON ME? My wife is the opposite: 'I'M ONLY HAPPY WHEN IT RAINS', SHE SAID, but then, she's a STUPID GIRL.

Anyway, I'm not a DAYDREAMER and if I want to do GREAT THINGS I can't SIT DOWN with an OK COMPUTER and be TIED TO THE 90s. Like most GIRLS AND BOYS I'd like to be a FILMSTAR or a ROCK'n'ROLL STAR, but that idea is just TRASH, and there is no need for a SLIGHT RETURN to those BLUE SKIES ideas.

Since having BABIES I'm out of touch with the COMMON PEOPLE, there's no CONNECTION anymore and I don't even bother searching out SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND: I'm no longer SORTED FOR Es AND WHIZZ, or CIGARETTES AND ALCOHOL. I certainly can't COME OUT 2NITE, so don't stay ON STANDBY.


 Anyway, WHAT DO I DO NOW?

 Jamie x

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Only Living Boy in New Cross

I miss London, a lot. But then I see what I have here and I'm happier than I think would be possible there.

But in a heap of Yuletide nostalgia I wrote a short story, creative non-fiction, life writing, based on actual events. It's about a night club in New Cross called The Venue, which is where myself and my friends used to go every weekend when we were at school.

It's been published by the (now) online Smoke magazine - a self-styled London Peculiar, words and images inspired by the city. It'll be in a book, they say, one day. That'll be cool.

Here's their rather lovely introduction...

"Belated New Year greetings to all. 

And first up in 2013 is another piece from our Night Bus To Camden project, as Jamie Woods recalls being sixteen at the New Cross Venue back in the days when it used to put on real bands rather than Coldplace, the Antarctic Monkeys and Maybe Gaga (“the UK’s No. 1 Lady Gaga tribute band”), when no one used to check IDs, and when ladies had to pay more than £1 admission on Fridays before midnight. 

This might also be your only chance to read a piece of literature that takes its title from a Carter USM song – or at least until Hilary Mantel publishes the third part of her Wolf Hall trilogy and reveals that Thomas Cromwell’s nickname for Henry VIII was Sheriff Fatman."

click here to read 'The Comfort and the Joy of Feeling Lost' by Jamie Woods

Janathon Fail

I couldn't do it.
I had a bad back on Monday and couldn't do anything. Today I had about 3 hours sleep and 10 hours out of the house at work. I'm now wrestling a little girl who WON'T GO TO SLEEP.
I've still been running a couple of times this week and walking everyday.
But the essay writing has got in the way of the blogging, and LIFE and BABY and JOB have got in the way of the running.
And when I was running / am running, all I can think about is my essay.
A great start to the year though. I did 5km yesterday in a time I haven't got near to since September. I'm running when I can, but I just can't commit to everyday run and blog.
So I quit. Sorry guys. Sorry Cathy.

I'm still eating fruit everyday though. So hurrah.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Janathon #6

When I run, I listen to music on my headphones. When I was younger, I listened to music pretty much constantly, on an array of Sony Walkmans and cheaper, Aiwa or Bush branded cassette players. All of which missed some component: the battery casing, the front, the rewind button. I moved on to a Goodmans portable CD player, which spat out spent batteries in no time. 

A brief foray into minidisc, one which we're both embarrassed and ashamed by, then back to my beautiful chrome Sony Walkman with proper clunky buttons. And now, IN THE FUTURE, to a bunch of shit MP3 players. All MP3 players are shit, no matter how fancy they are dressed up. I just don’t get on with them. They do not operate in the way I want them too. This is not me being a luddite, this is me not syncing with technology: bitrates, playlists, play queues, filenames and album art.

So I listen, instead, to music on my phone. It’s vaguely functional, semi-intuitive, and very annoying. And I’m sick of ripping CDs and copying them onto devices and so on and so on. So I only have a limited selection to choose from when I run. Currently, I’m alternating between James’ Fresh as a Daisy singles collection, Belle & Sebastian Write About Love, and the first The Lovely Eggs LP.

So that’s running sorted. But writing... that’s more difficult. With any significant writing project I have a soundtrack – whether it’s an album or band I listen to when I write, or an integral soundtrack that the character would listen to within the text. I have a (dark, insular) novel that I’m three (insular, bleak) chapters through, and the only music I can listen to when writing it is The Holy Bible by the Manics (dark, insular, bleak). There’s only so much of that process I can take.

Two of my current projects have no soundtrack. I think that this is why I’m finding it difficult to really get into them. I've always been aware of the correlation between my writing and music, but I never realised it was so symbiotic. Which leads me to question: why am I currently writing an essay on ‘Creative Process’ about the joy of intertext and authorship, when perhaps it should be about music as an accompanying muse? (But not the band Muse, who I dislike. A lot.) Perhaps I’ll save that for further study. Back to Barthes for me.

Janathon: ran 5km.
Fruitalution: ate another boring apple. No! Tomatoes are fruit too. I ate lots of cherry tomatoes. And an apple.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Janathon #5

So, this is something that I've been working on in my head, and during today's Janathon run I managed to piece it together. It's part of a much longer piece that I'm writing. The narrator is a girl who has gone to meet her sister in London.

--- Lyssa ---

On the tube, I get the chance to take a good look at my older sister. She’s skinnier than the last time I saw her. She looks dreamy and blissful, too. She’s wearing sandals, denim mini-skirt, and a baggy loose-knit jumper, bright pink, with just a black push-up bra underneath. She’s got this ridiculously cute hat, with a dog’s face on it, and little ears sticking out the top. Lyssa has been seeing Denny for a while now. That’s who we’re going to see, on the other side of London, south of the river and all that.

We get off at Brixton. Back streets and alleyways, and then she tells me we’re at his place. His flat is ex-local authority, ex-official inhabitants. Demolition notices are all over the walls, we have to squeeze through two fences to get in. Lyssa does it with such ease: me, I’ve snagged my jeans and got a little tear on my coat. I’m not happy. She cuts across the debris and litter and decaying furniture in what I guess must have been a communal courtyard. She hasn’t changed from when we were kids. She doesn’t walk: she glides and skips at the same time with undulating fluidity. Not for the first time in my life, I want to be just like her. They’ve turned the power off, so the lifts don’t work. Seventh floor. That’s fourteen flights of stairs. Twelve stairs per flight: that’s 168 stairs, assuming, of course, that each flight has the same amount of stairs. The stairwell stinks of piss, vomit, and rubbish bags. There are coke cans and takeaway cartons and cigarette butts and black spoons and sludge, and vile black sludge. I’m feeling sick so I look up at my sister, climbing the stairs ahead of me as easily as if she was going down them, none of my huffing and trudging. At the seventh floor, we go through the door onto Denny’s walkway. There were twelve steps on each flight.

Denny is outside his flat. He’s smoking a roll-up, leaning on the balustrade, surveying the sprawl of Brixton towards Battersea Power Station, and the Thames. It’s quite a view. His shirt is undone, there’s a deep red stain on his combats, and yeah, fuck yeah, I can see what she sees in him.


Janathon activity: running 5km
Minutes I knocked off my Year’s Best time: 3
Fruitilution: Tangerine

Friday, January 4, 2013

Janathon #4

Fridays and exercise do not compute.

I walked a mile. I walked more than a mile, but I walked one whole mile with intent.

The intent, the incentive, was to get home. Half the walk was to catch a bus to catch another bus, and then the other half was to get home, warm.

I finished work at 9pm. I got home at 10.20pm. I’m back there at 9 tomorrow morning.

Home is where the heart is, where it lives: home is the ribcage to my existence, and it’s not the actual ‘work’ that I resent as much as the being away from my family. I mean, when they are as cute as this, who would want to be away all day?

I nicked the photo from my wife's blog. She’s doing a less frenetic Janathon. Her name is Beth...

Janathon activity: walked a mile.
Time spent at work: twice as long as yesterday.
New Year’s fruit: Does cucumber count? No? Oh, OK, apple again.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Janathon #3

My Shoes

I have owned – multi-blue suede Fila skate shoes, navy Vans that turned grey with age, kangaroo leather Adidas moulded stud football boots. Black DMs, blue DMs, steel toe-capped DMs and DM shoes to wear to school. Green Reebok basketball boots trainers, gold Nike Air cross-trainers and two pairs of Adidas Torsion tennis shoes in alternate colourways.

I wear my Converse everyday now. Blue low-top, blue low-top with double tongue, brown low-top also with double tongue, red low-top, Blue high-top, and Batman / Joker black/white/silver high-top. I also have a pair of Karrimor running shoes, and a pair of black leather shoes for funerals.

I would rather never have to wear shoes at all. I tried it one summer, in Scandinavia. I played football on gravel and danced on shingle and walked in the woods and went into town. The first day I relented was the day a four-inch rusty nail went through the sole of my Hi-Tec hi-tops and into my foot. I was rushed into a strange late-night Norwegian doctor’s office, jabbed with a tetanus booster and the puncture was treated. Within hours my foot had stopped throbbing, but my arm blistered and bubbled where the needle had punctured. And the midges and mossies came for trainers, blood-soaked as they were. But they were the only shoes I had with me, and I felt like that kid from Peanuts, Pig-Pen, as there I was, the boy with the flies swarming around his foot. 

My feet weren’t designed to wear shoes, and I’m not saying this like that Barefoot Doctor fella or a hippy (see blogposts passim) but as someone whose feet are simply the wrong size: too wide, too long, too high and too silly. Every pair of size 12 shoes I wear I burst through at the toe. Every pair of size 14 shoes I wear makes me walk like a clown. My running shoes are a size 13 and they are white and, according to my strict (although oft-broken) rules of fashion, no-one should ever wear white trainers unless they are taking part in sport. And even then, only at Wimbledon, or if you can’t afford running shoes that fit properly.

Janathon miles I walked: 1 (in my own shoes, not somebody else's.
New Year’s Fruitalution: Cranberries
Do I run everyday?: No.
Hours slept: Nowhere near enough.
Hours worked: Too many.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Janathon #2

After Roadrunner (not the cartoon)

Roadrunner once.
Roadrunner twice.
I’m in Love with Rock’n’roll... and
I run every night.
iPod on I grind my knee cartilage and the broken soles of my feet into the pavement.
iPod on I justify having three sugars in my coffee and that slice of Rocky Road and a packet of crisps.
iPod on I run in the rain, through the mist.
iPod on I run through the new-build estate, between houses arranged haphazardly in cul-de-sacs, then down the only access road, up the hill, over the motorway bridge, over the headlights glaring.
iPod on I run past the RSPCA, round the tired and waterlogged park, past the farm, taking in the grim burning smell of the 3M factory and then back, across the motorway bridge, up the access road and I keep going past my house until the voice in my ear says: 5 kilometers.
I’ve got the power of the modern sound.
I’m going faster miles an hour.

Janathon activity: Ran 5 km.
New Year’s Resolution:  I ate a Tangerine (yesterdays was an apple).
Apologies to Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers: 1
Long walks round IKEA beforehand with wife and 3 yr old and baby: 1, lasted several hours.
Dining room chairs bought, even though we don’t have a dining room: 2.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Janathon #1

I ran 3k, but felt like a fraud. My running kit gleaming, reflecting car lights, shoes white. It was January 1st and there I was, running around like some Olympics-bandwagonesque-soon-to-quit-New-Year's-Resolution-Jogger, – the likes of which are scorned on Joao Morais’ blog.

But I’m not One Of Them, I’m not. Yes, my thermal UV resistant waterproof breathable technical sport kit is shiny, ‘cos all running clothes have reflective bits on, and they’re made of the finest fabrics that industry can cobble together. And my trainers are white cos I’m not some cross-country type who runs in the woods or through puddles. Ugh... the mere thought of running in mud. And maybe I did get this hat for Christmas and it’s making its debut tonight, but that’s not the point.

I was only running because of Janathon, though. I’ve been finding it hard to find the time in which to run, since the baby, and since starting Uni, and because of all the long days and nights and commuting and napping I’m not in the best condition. So to incentivise me, the shame of the internet communal campaign: social participation, twit-nagging and email reminders. And the fact I’m off Uni until the 28th, and I’ve got an essay due in soon. Therefore my digression is required.

The idea of Janathon is to do some form of exercise each day, and blog about it, in some way. Which seems to me to be the hardest part: I usually use my running time to sort out my head and to sort out my writing, ultimately I use running as an opportunity for what my son calls ‘a piece of quiet’ in which to have a dialogue with myself or to lose myself in whatever songs are blasting through my earphones (OK, they were a Christmas present too... but they’re special sweatproof running ones alright?). So I don’t know how these 31 blog posts will turn out. But we’ll see.

Janathon activity: Ran 3 km.
New Year’s Resolution: eat a bit of fruit every day.
Alcohol units consumed on New Year’s Eve: 0
Alcohol intended to be consumed but couldn’t due to responsibility for a six-week-old baby: 1 bottle of Chilean red.
Long walks round the woods beforehand with wife and 3 yr old and baby: 1, also 3km.