A Spoonful of Sugar
I love wine. I love everything about it. In fact, I would marry wine if I could.
If you pushed me, I’d tell you that red’s my favourite. Although I rarely say no to a chilled glass of white; even if it’s a very nice bottle, I’ll put ice cubes in it – makes it crisper and it lasts longer. I occasionally have a glass or two of Chardonnay; I know lots of people despise it but sometimes I crave that oaky, acidic aftertaste; it feels kinky. I like rosé as well, nothing too dark and sweet though; a light peachy pink is perfect. If I can drink it overlooking a river, or in a sunny garden, or wrapped in a gauze of barbeque smoke then that’s even better.
As for my beloved reds, I like them dark and smoky – Riojas, Malbecs, the odd Tempranillo. I get high just on the spicy, liquorish fumes.
It’s not just the wine itself though, I love all the paraphenalia that goes with it. The glasses especially; tall, elegant flutes or a gorgeous bubble of glass balanced on a stem as slender as a butterfly’s neck. The corkscrew; that discreet pop the cork makes as it comes out; the gentle glugging as it’s poured; the swoosh of wine against glass.
It makes everything feel better. It holds my hand at parties where I know no-one; it breaks the ice for me at awkward social occasions; it drops my hunched shoulders and it sends me off to sleep after a tough day.
Of course, it also makes me dance on tables and it dissolves some hours of my evenings into mysterious blurs or sometimes they vanish altogether into blanks and my memory runs moments from the early evening straight into snippets from hours later, like a badly-spliced film.
I don’t understand why there’s such a stigma about drinking alone though. Surely it’s much better to get carried away in your own home with no one to insult or spill over or fight with? If you do tumble over or make a fool of yourself, there’s no one there to see and be offended or remind you later.
But it’s amazing how many people are disgusted by solitary boozing. My husband, for one. When he came back from a work trip and found all my empties in the recycling bin, he went bananas. Took me straight to my GP and banged me up in a rehab unit. So now wine and I can only cast lingering looks at each other through shop windows.
I found it easier than I thought to move on. A lot easier. Some of these drunks at rehab were on their fourth or fifth visit, they kept falling off the wagon and bouncing straight back through the clinic’s doors. No willpower some people.
I might not be allowed to drink but I’m certainly allowed to eat! I got these cakes the other day. From a very posh patisserie the other side of London. It was very inconvenient to get there actually. They put the gorgeous little cakes inside a very expensive box, lined with paper and a darling little handle which helps to keep the whole thing upright and avoid the gravity/box lid icing smear. Such a waste of sugary goodness.
I like to set the table first – properly with china plates and flowers. It makes it more of a ritual. It’s also a bit more convincing – that big patisserie box is hard to dispose of subtly. If I lay the table like this I can tell him my sister popped round for afternoon tea.