Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Temperance.

I can’t believe how cruel life can be. In this blameless, cloistered life that I lead, where pleasures are simple and oft involve many children and thus where a glass of wine or two are much anticipated at the end of a long and noisy day, it is a brutal blow to find myself, after years of bibulous activity, allergic to the only salve capable of easing my mind and muscles after another day of frenetic domestic abuse.
I have tried to ignore its warnings over the past few months but it has become more and more apparent as I sneeze and sneeze over yet another glass of Sauvignon that something in the wine does not like me. By the time I have finished a glass the familiar itching in my eyes starts, followed by ten minutes of vehement sneezing, then ugly and deafening nose blowing rendering me devoid of smell or taste and sounding as though I’m suffering from a somewhat nasty, respiratory tract infection.
It begins well though: the coolness of the wine hitting my throat, the flavour of the grape curling my tongue setting off ripples of excitement to my taste buds then, as I approach the midway line of the glass, the alcohol relaxes my body and I take on a more cheery countenance. This has been, for the last two decades not counting four pregnancies and three breastfeeding babies, a highly anticipated, nightly occurrence and one that has kept me from the brink of disaster. I am never drunk as two glasses is sufficient, three when at a party, four when on a bender – joke.
To have to give it up then is like mourning an old friend, one whose colour and demeanour has paralleled every aspect of my life. Deep, dark and red in my darker moments, light white and bright for happier, sunnier days and sparkling, bubbling, fizzing champagne for those ultra wonderful, celebratory moments.
What am I to do now? How can I achieve that ‘manana’ feeling that a half a dozen gulps of Australia’s finest provides? I’m not much of a spirit drinker, cocktails I can take or leave and Pimm’s? Ugh don’t even go there. Once, when young and on a second date with Hubby we went to an afternoon party where only Pimms was provided. We were in the elevated company of a local admiral and Hubby was then a cheery Petty Officer; at one, truly yet unfortunately memorable point, knowing they were both in the Navy, I wrapped a feather boa around both and asked “So, do you work together?” Hubby poor soul, blanched, the Admiral guffawed and not long after I was very, very sick. No more Pimm’s for me then.
Instead I have turned my attentions to Gin and Tonic but to try and replicate the delicious one I had at the Distillery is a bit of a fag. By the time I’ve filled my glass with ice, chopped my lime, wiped it across the rim of the glass, squeezed it, added the gin, opened an individual bottle of tonic and stirred it I could have prepared a light supper. I am thus at a loss and mostly then very cross, especially since having given up wine I thought, due to the colossal size of my arse as pointed out to me by a three year old little girl, that I may as well go for broke and also give up bread. Hubby is very supportive.
“No more communion for you then”, he roared.
Denying yourself simple pleasures is one sure way though of losing one’s sense of humour and whilst I have stuck to my resolve it is not easy. Let’s be honest, how simple is it to open the bread bin, pull out a couple of slices of bread and chuck them in the toaster. That’s breakfast sorted, ditto lunch if you disregard the toaster and of course every other meal where bread plays such an important part. The ‘staff of life’ is no hyperbole.
I now have to be more imaginative when it comes to lunch. Rice cakes: those awful, dry, taste of nothing, circles of puffed rice are now a staple and breakfast, far from consisting of a bagel dripping in butter and cream cheese has been replaced by exhausting muesli, the remainder of which I am still picking out of my teeth at elevenses.
Is it worth it? Well, rather astonishingly I am still wide awake and firing on most cylinders at midnight. I have read a couple of novels and watched a little telly whereas before, those two glasses of wine would have made me soporific and by 9.30 ready for bed, a book falling out of my hands after only reading a page.
Hubby is alarmed, “I’m not sure I like the new you Alice”.
“Whatever do you mean?”, I asked, most affronted.
“Well, you’ve got enough to say for yourself all day long love. At least after pouring a glass of wine down your throat I knew you’d soon hit the sack..”
“And?”
“And then I’d have a peaceful evening and control of the TV controls. Now you’re wide awake and wanting to ‘talk’, which is always a worry.”
“Huh, I’ll get out of your way then”, I retorted huffily, “I’ll take up a hobby or better still a lover”.
“Not much chance of that”.
“Why not?”
“Alice you insist on the lights off with me. I can’t imagine you displaying your stretch marks to another man unless you were wankered*.”.
“Well really there’s no need for that”. Perhaps sensing he might have somewhat overstepped the mark, he put his arms around me.“Don’t be daft; I wouldn’t want you any other way. Just makes me wonder where the girl who loved a few Marlboro Lights, a bottle of chardonnay and a chip butty, went”. Well might he wonder. I don’t know where she went either.

* This is obviously not the word used in the newspaper but in my view, far better.

17 comments:

Mary Alice said...

Okay, the wine with the sneezing attacks I can understand giving up....but BREAD? Have you lost your mind? What next, chocolates? Where is the pleasure in life? You WILL be forced to take a lover.....when women give up bread there is just no telling how far they will go.

Yvonne said...

Alice the best way to have a G&T I am told is be making the ice from Evian and only having Schweppes as the tonic water apparently nothing like it at the end of a hard day - that was a lawyer talking. On the bread front good on you, we are not having any heavy carbs after 3pm, bread, rice, pasta or potato and feel much better for it - no weight loss but still feeling better for it mind you the odd glass of pinot does help.

Alice Band said...

Mary Alice - No lover I'm afraid. Too fat!

Yvonne - well tell your lawyer friend that in Waitrose they sell 'Fever Tree' tonic - it's fantastic. The only one they give you at the Gin Distillery in Plymouth. What do you eat for dinner then?

Yvonne said...

We have a big lunch like pasta salad or potato salad with fish, eggs or chicken and then for dinner we have fish or meat with vegetables or salad so really try to have a main meal at lunchtime so the body has time to burn the carbs before bed, don't seem to get the bloated feeling like I used to although of course lots of partying coming up so it may just go out the window for a week or so!

Lisa said...

R.I.P. to the wine, too sad.
G & T never did it for me, I am now in mojito-mode until summer truly ends, and then maybe onto dirty martinis.
Give up bread?! Hmm, clearly the lack of alcohol has affected your brain! ;)

Tara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
It's just me said...

I'm in mourning for your glass of wine. I also look forward to a glass when I get home from my daily toil.

At a push, I can replace it with a vodka, lime juice and soda, but you are right. It's just not the same...

Sally Lomax said...

Is it possibly the yeast that you are allergic to? If so then the bread would be a good thing to give up. Ironically I can't drink gin really. I do sometimes, but always regret it as it makes me wheeze and very morose!

I give up wheat from time to time, but always fail and go back to it. I know that I am healthier without, but life is so short............

Have you thought about an alternative therapist though? I interviewed a homeopath when on the radio and she offered desentisising therapies.... just a thought.

Mopsa said...

Oh Alice - me and my big arse grieve with yours. No bread = reasonably sized lassie. Back to bread - mega bummed broad. But loads of lads love a fat lass, so tell your husband not to be too self assured! And of course, any lover would love you for your brain.....

Alice Band said...

Thankyou one and all for the advice. It is really miserable and I have just made some leek and potato soup which noramlly accompany with thick slices of warm, white bread and lots of salty butter. A couple of rice cakes just didn't cut it!!
Mopsa - now a big bum like J-Lo may well be desirable but I don't think that mine is in the same league!

Lisa said...

Just a thought- They do make wheat-free bread (I think it's very expensive, but if you're the only one eating it, it may be worth it for you!)

Sally Lomax said...

Or rye bread is reasonably cheap and not too disgusting...

Broker said...

No bread, or wine or lovers - what is left?

Alice Band said...

Broker - toilet cleaning, breakfast lunch and dinner, packed lunches, cleaning, shopping, bed making, story reading, mediator and taxi driver: my life is rich and full.

enidd said...

oo, alice, and it almost sounds as if you're enjoying it. the only enjoyment in enidd's lonely working day is that glass of red wine (or fake fizz) at the end of it. have you tried a few different varieties to see if it's a particular yeast you're allergic too? or organic wine, in case it's some of the chemicals? if enidd was there, she'd offer to help in your quest.

Sally Lomax said...

Ooh now there's an idea. Wehn you are next over in the UK Enidd, perhaps the three of us (I assume that I am invited of course, as I have invited myself!) could get together and try out all organic and alternative types of wine that we can lay our hands on. That should with any luck do the trick Alice. With such a sledgehammer approach you may even be rid of your allergy, and if not you can have a great time finding out?!!

enidd said...

brilliant plan, sally. count enidd in.