12 October

Today is National Day in Spain

So we are drinking a...

Sangria Cocktail

Every day's a holiday somewhere, and the good folk of Spain have a holiday today to celebrate their national day - the Fiesta Nacional de España.

Why today? Well, bizarrely enough today is the day that Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas. Although Columbus himself was Genoese, from Italy, he claimed the Americas for his Spanish employers. So today is also a chance for Spaniards to celebrate their common Hispanic heritage with folk in their former empires overseas.

We'll be marking the occasion with a Sangria Cocktail, a slightly more adult yet extremely moreish take on the ancient Spanish blend that has become a barbecue classic.

The day Ian Paisley heckled the Pope

Religion, is of course either an equal opportunity belief or delusion depending on your views. And there are plenty of opposing religious views; highlighted on this day in 2013 when the then-Pope, John Paul II, visited the European Parliament in Strasbourg for what was supposed to be a routine speech.

Barely seconds into his presentation on how Europe was a beacon of civilisation, the Pope was greeted by one of Ulster's finest, denouncing him as the Anti-Christ (yes, really), and unfurling a banner to that effect. To his credit, His Holiness merely smirked, although Catholics in the room rather let the side down by chucking objects at Doctor Paisley.

Having lost an early campaign to keep homosexuality illegal in Northern Ireland, the charming Northern Irish loyalist politician and Protestant religious leader went on to campaign against gay marriage. Doctor Paisley died on the 12th September 2014 but outspoken comments by his son, who succeeded his father as the Westminster MP for North Antrim, suggest his views live on in his protégé.

We are marking today's anniversary with a Paisley Martini, a suitably spirited concoction but one which the teetotal doctor would never touch.

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