Thursday, 14 February 2019

I'd Do Anything for Love, But I Won't Put Up With That ....

People go to absurd lengths to prove their love for one another, none more absurd than shackling themselves to each other until death (or divorce) parts them. Nevertheless today there'll be engagements forged in the heated rosy glow of heart-shaped helium balloons, glittered bunting and all that passes for romance these days under the marketing auspices of St Valentine.

But before the newly betrothed embark on the exhausting and excruciatingly expensive path to the altar (or register office/ beach/ mountain/ canoe etc), I would advise the most important consideration is not what you might do for love, but what you won't.

It's all well and good making besotted promises to love and honour, but if three months later you're both in counselling because the toilet seat is never down, the toothpaste cap never on, and the butter is more out of the fridge than in, you've really only got yourselves to blame.

A marriage is mostly compromise, a sustained battle of taking turns to give in, and an exercise in tolerance. Loving someone is easy. Living with someone, all the time and forever? Not so much.

It's 14 years too late to re-write our wedding vows but IF I were going to do it all again (and never say never), I wouldn't be making promises, more a list of terms and conditions ....

'I (me) take thee (he) to be my wedded other half. To have and to hold from this day forward until you've left the butter out of the fridge for the 497th day in a row,* ripped open 767 cereal packets upside down, and complained about the way I cook eggs, again. Or made tea with off -the-boil water. Or not put the lid back on properly.  For better or far worse, when I have to spend hours listening to you noodling away on the guitar.  For bitching, for pretending I haven't heard the same story 632 times before. In sickness, in health and in hangover,. To love and to sometimes curse you without really meaning it. Till death (or Dave Grohl ) do us part, and thereto I pledge thee my occasional, inexplicable wrath.'

Mr and Mrs love wedding marriage

*Leaving the butter out of the fridge is the top reason why people file for divorce for unreasonable behaviour. Probably**

**Not actual fact.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Gin with Everything, the Unexpected Backlash ... .

I like gin as much as the next person, particularly if that next person is Dorothy Parker, but there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough,

Gin has been much my favourite spirit since the seventies when it was liberated from the parents' G-Plan drinks cabinet to be drunk with neat orange squash. I've toyed with other spirits, got into quite a deep relationship with vodka in the eighties, and in recent years flirted, unsuccessfully, with brandy and whisky, but gin has always been there for me.

Yes, I have a gin themed glass.
Imagine then my enthusiasm when gin suddenly became on trend, it was just like when everyone suddenly realised Tom Jones was cool. Something I've believed fervently since 'Delilah' was in the charts (I was four, but precocious).

At first, the resurgence of gin as fashionable had much to recommend it. Cocktails became almost acceptable again and who can complain about that. Though I do miss the little paper umbrellas, I mean who NEEDS half a cucumber and a piece of twig in their drink? Still, fashion.

Pubs started re-branding as gin palaces which, on the face of it, seemed like a fine idea but in reality was, um,  disappointing. Where you might be expecting Hogarthian levels of gin debauchery and a couple of  wenches touting flagons around, the modern day gin palaces turned out to be just like the pub they used to be but with extra gin, improbably flavoured gin, glasses as big as your head, and a gin menu as elaborately up itself as possible. I drew the line at visiting gin-themed pubs (for want of a better phrase) when I went to one and it was showing rugby league on several huge screen TVs. Really? *Tuts*

And I've discovered some gins I like. My own gin recommendations are, I imagine, relatively restrained for the modern gin drinker but mostly because I like my gin to taste like, well, gin. Also I'm from Yorkshire and no way on this earth am I paying over 30 quid for a gin with extra added rhubarb when Aldi do a perfectly drinkable gin that tastes like gin for a tenner, we have more rhubarb than we know what to do with on the allotment and also, I don't like rhubarb.

Other than that I like Tanqueray, Bombay London Dry Gin, Plymouth gin and, unexpectedly, Mason's Tea Edition Dry Yorkshire Gin because tea is the second best drink in the world and together, well. But honestly if it's gin, I'll generally drink it, even if it has been flavoured with rhubarb, because gin is a good drink.

What gin is not is a lifestyle. It's not cheesecake, a truffle, a cake, an ice-cream, a lip balm, a perfume, a bath bomb, a shampoo, a box of chocolates, a room spray, a candle, inspirational or aspirational wall art, or a t-shirt slogan.

Yet these days you can't move for optimistically called 'gin related gifts for the gin lover in your life' and I'm here to tell you if you do have a gin lover in your life she, or he, is more likely to thank you for  a bottle of gin than they are for any number of candles that smell like gin. True fact.

Gin has become the unicorn and llama of the drinking classes and I, for one, have had enough. The backlash starts here, I don't need a gin themed glass to drink in a gin scented bath breathing in a gin scented candle.

I just need a gin. In a tall glass with tonic and a slice or lime, no ice. Thank you very much.

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