Those of you who know me well, know I am partial to the odd glass of something sparkly…..or none-sparkly… or rose… or well actually, the old adage of “so long as it’s wet and alcoholic” probably covers it.
I seem to be well established as the Facebook lush – my time line is littered with good-natured posts from friends tagging me in anything from large wine glasses that take a whole bottle, to wine advent calendars, wine making you clever, you name it, if it’s wine related, I will be the butt of the joke somewhere. To be fair to the friends, it’s not a rumour I go anyway to dispel but if truth be told (& and I’m saying this quietly), I’m a bit of a lightweight when it comes to the grape and grain.
My good friend from Uni will testify to this. She often recounts the times I flicked like a switch between stoney-cold-sober-as-a judge to giggling like a good un with a glazed look in my eyes and telling everyone I loved them. Certainly not being trusted to remain upright on my chair and trying with deep concentration and furrowed brow to walk along the angle of the floor that never seems to be present when you haven’t touched a drop.
She will also probably tell you about the evening I spent a good half hour knocking on her door after an event in the Student Union, wondering why she wasn’t answering…only it wasn’t her door…She was not best amused to have been left on her own at said Union, fending off the drunk and delirious. (Sorry again Kerry…it’s only been 20 years…am I forgiven yet?!)
16 years ago, my relationship with the vino came to a decisive change. The hubby and I wanted a baby. So we, (well I) read all the books, took the folic acid, ate like I was an A list celeb munching all things healthy and green and ditched the booze….I was pretty good and took it VERY SERIOUSLY.
It wasn’t just the booze, if it had raw eggs in it, goodbye, no pate, no unpasteurized cheese (I think giving up the Brie was harder than the wine!) So long tuna (mercury poisoning), arrivederci rare steaks, carpaccio and pretty much anything that hadn’t been cremated to within an inch of its life in case of salmonella/food poisoning/Listeria….
Yawn, yawn, yawn, so Mother Theresa, so good. Of course it didn’t stop me in early labour popping to the shops to pick up a bottle of champagne for post birth celebrations, together with the obligatory massive bar of Dairy Milk and the new copy of the Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones saga. You can picture it now -5 ft something of bowling ball-shaped person, attached to a tens machine puffing up and down the aisles with an anxious first time father-to-be muttering about keeping up strength for events still to come.
Nonetheless, there was no stopping me and when the time eventually came to show up at maternity, hubby duly presented the bottle of Champagne to the duty mid-wife and asked her to pop it in the fridge. It must have looked very funny but without batting an eyelid, she peeled off a sticky label with my essential details , shoved it on said bottle and toddled off with it. The fact that we had to be reminded to take it home with us gives you some idea of how welcome or not that bottle of fizz was by the time numero uno had made his appearance.
I didn’t touch a drop until about 8 weeks after he was born. By that point, one small glass and I was OUT for the count. A combination of sleep deprivation and not having imbibed for so long found me lurching from the table, straight into bed to be rudely woken about 2 hours later with the mad cats having had a food fight involving left over caesar salad. I am normally a stickler for being neat and tidy and clearing up, but that night, I had left everything everywhere. Being rudely awoken by a rasping cat’s tongue and green salad on my bed was not a way to encourage me to want to drink ever again….well at least for quite some time after.
I can still remember my first full-blown hangover post baby. It was not pretty; the pain, the nausea, the vomiting – yeah, that wasn’t me but the little one…. Nonetheless, having to deal with all that and with a banging head and trying to function as a MOTHER…yeugh. CBeebies was my saviour that day….
Somewhere post baby number 2, at a stage known as the “Toddler Years,” wine became my friend again. Not in large doses you understand but just in the post bed time story, last snuggle/kiss goodnight, look what I have created, aren’t they amazing but please god, GO TO SLEEP phase, I used to hold that one glass of wine up each night as my talisman – Look! if you can make it through the next 20 minutes without screeching, you can have the wine! I even did a little jig going down the stairs, arms raised, hips wiggling in a way that Shakira would be proud of.. ooohh, the wine dance….slurp slurp.
4 children later, I still enjoy a glass (or maybe 2) of vino but I have a greater vice – my need for coffee. In fact, these days I could be sponsored by Nespresso. If we’ve run out of wine, well there’s always something at the back of the booze cabinet that could be drunk – a sort of break glass in emergency type kit – BUT if we are getting low on the coffee capsules, those magnificent, pearlescent, shiny pods of rapture, then watch out and woe betide! I cannot function without at least one precious cup each day.
The husband whose job it is to keep the supplies well stocked was very nearly lynched last week before the exulted order arrived. It’s a standing joke that he cannot cope without his daily influx of coffee but if I am being honest , I am the one whose need is greater.
When we were apart for 4 months this year and he threatened to take the coffee machine with him on his journey, you could say that I was less than amused. I argued that since I had sole responsibility for 4 children, it would be downright irresponsible of him to deprive me of the machines use; better still, I could not be held responsible for my actions, or lack thereof should he try and smuggle the machine and aerochino off Island. I muttered about (coffee) grounds for divorce and how not a judge or jury in the land would convict me if I was deprived of my daily sojourn with the beloved gadget. I think he must have seen the madness in my eyes for he left it behind in my grasping kits with barely a murmur.
When we were re-united as a family, I am not sure who he was most pleased to see – myself and the kids or the nespresso? It’s probably an answer I don’t want to push for too hard but my daily cup of coffee is more welcome than any glass of wine.
Truth be told, it’s become a bit of a ritual. I gulp down a quick cup of bog standard nescafe before herding the tribe out the door of a morning but like any addict, there is a set method to my madness. I need peace and quiet, tranquility; just me, myself and I and the whisper of the machine firing into life. Choccie biccie in hand, Facebook on the lap top and my morning coffee – then all is once again right with the world and I turn from MOMBIE into a functioning human being.
I’m not even that devout a worshipper. It doesn’t have to be caffeinated to hit the spot. Just that aroma wafting through the kitchen and the wispy, creamy milk topping in my cup, well I’m as good as hooked. So if you find me wan of complexion of a morning, looking a little green around the gills and wild of eye, it’s probably not because I indulged in a few too many shandies the night before but more likely that I haven’t sat down yet with my daily dose of the amber nectar.
Well that’s all for now…….I have a date with the cup…..and maybe a square of choccie too….it’s been one of those days…