The man who brought us Heart of Darkness, the book that inspired the film Apocalypse Now, Joseph Conrad was born in Poland on this day in 1857, and christened Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski.
Conrad's early years were spent at sea, exploring the world's furthest corners, and as a born storyteller he later pulled his experiences together to create a body of enduring fiction, thus fulfilling another of his childhood ambitions. Despite growing up Polish and being educated in French, Conrad chose to write in English, a language he only learned in his twenties, because "it's so plastic - if you haven't got a word you need you can make it".
As a chain-smoker, we reckon Joseph would have appreciated the peat-smoke richness of our cocktail of the day, the fabulous Smokey Joe.
It's also the anniversary of the salmonella scandal
Our British readers may remember Edwina Currie. As a random rent-a-quote eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing, a staple of the Daily Mail, or, in an image that requires a hefty dose of brain bleach to erase, the (eek!) lover of (double-eek!) John Major, she's hard to forget.
Until this day in 1988, however, Edwina Currie was a serious politician. Then, as British Junior Health Minister, she appeared on TV stating that "Most of the egg production in this country sadly is now infected with salmonella," enraging farmers around the UK. Various farming organisations tried to sue her; egg sales nose-dived; and the government had to pay out compo claims for 4 million slaughtered hens and 400 million unsold eggs.
Was she right? Well, up to a point. There were unacceptably high levels of salmonella both in British hens and in the eggs that they produced, a problem that's since been addressed. Which is why we're choosing to mark today with an absolutely splendid drink that includes an entire raw egg, a General Harrison's Nogg. Shake hard, and then enjoy all that eggy goodness.