Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Drink and I

First of all let me be clear: I don’t have a problem. I can take it or leave it and just at this moment in time I am choosing to leave it. For now. A week or so ago I had a bug which rendered me sans energy and appetite. After three days I got better and realised that for the first time for decades I had gone longer than 24 hours without a glass of wine. It seemed like an interesting experiment to continue for as long as it felt comfortable and see what effect it had both on my spirits and on my weight. I have difficulty keeping under 9 stone and a few pounds above that and it feels uncomfortable owing to small bones and a short torso. Eight and a half would be grand.

I didn’t want to miss the evening ritual – a relaxed drink before supper – so substituted Diet coke. (Flat D.C. is great, incidentally for Delhi Belly.)

As a child – at Sunday school I was a member of the Band of Hope – much to my Granddad’s amusement – him being a regular at The Rose and Crown, My first memory of sampling the demon drink was the end of our last term at grammar school. In the bowels of the cloakrooms we had discovered an unlocked cupboard which housed meters and had a faint gassy smell. Four of us girls would crouch in there at lunch time in the dark and discuss what we were going to do with our lives, boys and tell each other creepy stories; Edgar Allen Poe was a great favourite. Cider was our tipple - thank goodness we hadn’t got into smoking or I fear we’d have been blown sky high.

In the fifties with babies and little spare money we entertained friends with coffee and sandwiches. It was in the sixties the rot set in; we didn’t do drugs but it was the era of the dinner party. There would be quite stiff drinks as aperitifs, copious amounts of wine with the meal – each course of which would be laced with alcohol and followed by liqueurs and anything we fancied. Then we would drive home. Breathalysers were unheard of. Fortunately the roads were much quieter then.

In the seventies we became more health conscious and many of us stopped smoking and cut down on unhealthy foods and drink. Alcohol became more of a treat and I remember fondly visits to my friend’s farmhouse in the Dordogne. The mornings would be spent hard at work making the house liveable and then at lunchtime we would be treated to champagne cocktails and oysters.

In the eighties after my reunion with MTL there were some long evenings over a bottle of whisky as we caught up with 30 years of living and eventually I realised that spirits were not for me – I couldn’t take the headaches. So wine only was my tipple from then on. The amount would vary according to events and the company but then – after three separate leg fractures I took on board that alcohol inhibits the absorption of calcium and cut down further. So a glass a day is now the norm.

I’m not sure if I shall have a drink before Christmas – I’m not making any promises. It would be good to be more of an epicure and drink only excellent wine, modestly on special occasions. I asked MTL if he had noticed any difference since I cut out the alk. He said:

“You don’t stagger and fall over quite so much.”

That’s a joke!


Scarlet Blue said...

I think I'm the only person I know who doesn't like wine [other than port or champagne]! This makes it easy for me to go for weeks without alcohol... and then I might have a bit of a whiskey binge... less said...

Granny Annie said...

I signed a "total alcohol abstinence" pledge card in my church when I was 12. When I was fifteen I attended a sleepover at a friends and we had found a whiskey bottle in the gutter with "something" still in it. We sipped the liquid and pretended to get drunk. Someone told us later someone had probably peed in the bottle. Drinking at parties became the norm in my adult life but we never had booze in the home. Now I have wine, scotch, rum, bourbon in the cabinet. My spouse has not had a drink in over 15 years which leaves me a the drinker in the family and I have, at this late age, developed a liking. Not a good taste to acquire in my 60s after heart attack, etc. Once I fall off the porch I might consider quitting. No, it's really not that bad ... yet. Keep us posted and perhaps I shall follow your example.

R. Sherman said...

One a day is good for you, though. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.


Pearl said...

"Not staggering and falling down as much" are my bywords.

I'm amazed at how my drinking has changed over the years, and it seems to have followed a similar course to yours. I've always been a beer drinker, although more and more a glass of white wine appeals to me. I had my first "dirty" martini the other day; and while definitely a "sipper", I could see having another!


Guyana-Gyal said...

I don't drink "likka" [as we call it] but I still stumble into things, bang my toe, my elbow, my hip. And I'm a silly-billy without alcohol. Can you imagine what I'd be like if I were to drink? :-O

Pat said...

Scarlet: I even left a half empty bottle of champagne in the fridge.
Shame you don't fancy wine - champers gets a bit pricey.

Granny Annie: even after a heart attack I think a drink in moderation is not harmful. The porch will be a g9ood guide.

Pearl: I remember having a martini in the Plaza New York and could have developed a taste for it.

GG: yes you must definitely stay sober. You have a natural Joi de vivre anyhow.

Randall: fear not - it's an experiment not a life change:)

Four Dinners said...

Before I was a driving instructor my motto was 'I drink therefore I am'.....been good for me liver this lark has..;-)

john.g. said...

I still booze a fair bit(lot), but my blood pressure is normal, and my doctor isn't bothered. Just stay off the top shelf!

mapstew said...

I'm mostly beer. (No really, most of my cells are beer cells!) :¬)


Rog said...


Ponita in Real Life said...

@Scarlet, you're not alone. I can't stand wine either, or beer, or most hard liquors. I like cocktails that are on the sweet or tart side (but not bitter) so tend to drink things like vodka paralyzers (kahlua, vokda, milk and coke) or Smirnoff Ice (a vodka cooler that is citrus flavoured). I've had a couple of sips of champagne over the years and it will never pass my lips again. Same can be said for martinis. I was once at a martini party and since that was all that was served, I tried various "flavours" but couldn't stand any of them. I'm a wimpy drinker. ;-)

But if avoiding a daily glass of wine makes you feel better, Pat, then go for it. I don't think it would really add much weight if you only have one glass a day, though. I do know that weight management gets more difficult as we get older.

Mike and Ann said...

The simple, sober, bone dry hen
Lays eggs for years,
but dies at ten,

Whilst sinful, ginful, rum soaked men

live on for three score years and ten.

I don't think the occasional glass or so of wine, or indeed (which we're about to indulge in) a thimbleful of sloe gin, does any harm at all. As we get older we find out what (and how much of it) suits us.

Cheers, me dears.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

LOL, LOL...I love "the joke"....Your MTL has a great sense of humor.
For whatever reason, no one in our family while growing up, drank...not anything. We always had liquor in the house, and we drank Sweet Passover wine, at Passover---but nothing, otherwise. So none of my family ever seemed to get into 'the drink'. A lovely glass of Chardonney with food, became something I did ocassionally, back in the 70's and 80's....I love a little Ameretto, on rare ocassions...But that's about it.
I will be interested in the results of your abstaining...Do let us know!

Macy said...

I never touch the stuff... until five o clock.
The fact that some days this feels like an achievement should worry me more than it does..

Pat said...

4D: so glad to hear it:)

John: enlighten me - what's on the top shelf?

Map: my # 1 son swears by it.

Rog: pardon?

Ponita : one has to be aware of the size of the glass - which can vary. A lot. So far I've lost 2 lbs without changing my diet. Which pleases me.

Mike and Ann: and I bet the sloe gin is home made which is all the better.

Naomi: I'll certainly blog about it - whatever the results.

Macy: I had a late friend who reckoned she never had a drink until the sun was over the yard arm but it as a moveable feast. I first met her at a mutual friends where we were having a boozy lunch.
'I never drink during the day' she declared downing her third gin. I knew we were going to be friends.

Kim Ayres said...

I have a very low alcohol tolerance level. A glass of wine, or bottle of beer is my limit - and that makes me feel distinctly woozy. If I was to have 2 glasses, I would have a hangover. It's the primary reason I never became an alcoholic.

A bottle of wine will last me and Maggie 3 days.

My mum couldn't touch it at all. She used to say that she only had to have a sip of wine and it felt like she'd been whacked over the head with a hammer.

LL Cool Joe said...

I drink a bit more than most of you I think. There are some days I go without at all, but if we crack open a bottle of wine in the evening, generally we finish the whole lot. I also drink beer, cider, port, sherry. Well most things, but not spirits. And not all together.

AndrewM said...

The top shelf is spirits, dear. Have a look next time you are in a pub. That way lies madness.

Now good English ale is something else. As soon as I escape this hellhole (2 hours to go and counting) I shall be off to my local to partake of a half gallon of Jaipur (Thornbridge Brewery). A most splendid brew.

john.g. said...

Mum2, the 'top shelf' are the spirits!

Pat said...

Kim: you've got it sussed which simplifies life.

Joey: I'm with you on spirits and after the odd embarrassing incident treat fortified wines with the greatest respect.

AndrewM: I thought it had something to do with disgusting magazines.
Fancy calling it Jaipur (where I got Delhi Belly) I wonder why?
I'm trying to work out how much half a gallon is. I'm sure it's too much! I'm guessing 4 pints. Too Much!

John: Andrew M has just told me thanks:) And MTL said he didn't know.

Eryl said...

Well done you, these habits can be hard to break because they become part of one's story, or sense of self. I love wine but find even one glass makes me woozy these days. Any more than one, and let's face it I still succumb at times, means I pretty much lose the whole of the next day to a general feeling of inertia. So when I have work to do I don't drink at all. I have found my weight much easier to manage now I barely drink.

Judy (kenju) said...

I can take it or leave it too. I prefer beer, though, and have one can each night before bed.

Wine is saved for special occasions with friends and I only have a cocktail once or twice a year.

If you don't miss it - leave it off - but one glass per day is good for you.

Pat said...

Eryl: seems to me you have much more nous than I had at your age. Saves a lot of wear and tear:)

Judy: I have to keep well away from cocktails - they taste so good and look so pretty.
I'll be back on my 'one a day' when I've lost another couple of pounds.

Dandelion said...

For Delhi Belly, you can make a cheap version of dioralyte with 1/4 coke, 3/4 water and a pinch of salt.