Red wine, snow and a conundrum

Dear UK government, I would like to apologise but I appear to have used up about two weeks of my allotted alcohol allowance in one evening. I’m very sorry.

Our good friend J came round for dinner last night and whilst we were eating Gill’s rich but still healthy chicken and squash cacciatore; decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies by laughing hysterically and generally having a very wonderful evening, we drank an awful lot of wine. Oh well, rules wouldn’t be rules if they didn’t get broken now and again would they?

Anyway, notwithstanding any long term damage, I appear to have got off quite lightly and a bacon butty and a good walk in the snow have restored something close to a feeling of general wellbeing.

While we were out on our walk a car slowed down alongside us and the driver made arm waving motions which I took to mean “do you want a lift?” I made arm waving motions back that could easily be interpreted as, “No thanks we are just having a stroll on this lovely snowy winter’s morning to blow away the cobwebs which have formed due to an over indulgence of red wine last night.” He didn’t seem to understand so he stopped, wound down his window and said, “Do you want a lift somewhere?” How nice is that? I’m sure he was genuine because he didn’t offer us sweets or anything. Anyway I declined, explaining that we were just having a walk without bothering to go into the details about the cobwebs and the wine. As he drove off we were infused by a warm glow induced by that ‘kindness of strangers’ thing that reminds you that the world is actually quite a nice place.

That’s all I have for today apart from the need to share something with you that has been bothering me for quite a while now. I generally love the English language for its complexity, versatility and occasionally downright quirkiness but can somebody please explain this for me:

If cannot becomes can’t and does not becomes doesn’t, if is not is isn’t and did not is didn’t, if could not becomes couldn’t and would not wouldn’t, had not hadn’t and has not hasn’t then why oh why is will not not willn’t?

And here’s picture of a very chilly Ribble Estuary from this morning’s walk.


You can’t beat a good wake

I like a good wake if I’m honest. Not least because unless I am driving it’s a rare excuse for a couple of drinks in the middle of the day which often happens to be in the middle of the week. Its got that slightly naughty feel about it and the alcohol helps with all those awkward moments when we find ourselves talking to somebody whose name you can’t remember, let alone whether or not we are actually related to them. All that changed today because our health conscious government has decided that we are all drinking too much and they have issued us with new lower limit guidelines. A couple of pints or a large glass of wine to oil the social wheels at such a gathering now has serious implications for how much of our allotted entitlement we have left for the remaining week.

We have been told, like so many irresponsible children, that we must cut down on our drinking in order to reduce the risk of life threatening conditions such as liver disease or cancer. Now, so long as we do as we are told, we can look forward to living on to a ripe old dementia riddled age instead.

As it happened I was driving to and from today’s funeral so my quota is safe for now. Aside from the alcohol issue I stand by my opinion that you can’t beat a good wake. For a start everybody is in a good mood. I know that might sound a bit odd having just buried a loved one but the whole point of the funeral tea to me is to finally let go and release all that pent up grief and emotion that the death has created. There is a kind of collective sigh of relief as you enter the pub or restaurant and I am always slightly taken aback by the sound of laughter so soon after the tears but it’s always there. The rest of the afternoon is usually divided between remembering funny anecdotes involving the deceased and catching up with seldom seen members of the family. At some point somebody will always say, “lovely to see you but isn’t it a shame that it always has to be at one of these occasions” and that is generally followed by promises to get together more often which rarely come to anything. Nothing changes.

I find at a wake that there is a sense of letting go of the one that has passed on accompanied by a gentle reminder to cherish those that remain. It’s a nice warm feeling that reminds us of our own mortality but also of how important it is to make the most of whatever time we have left. I said to somebody today that we should live every day as if it was our last one and she corrected me immediately by saying, “no, we should live every minute as if it was out last one”. I’ll drink to that. Or maybe I won’t. Or maybe I shouldn’t. But hang on, this might be my last minute. Pass me that bottle opener.