Posts Tagged ‘cheap fizz’

As my husband set off on his [Asian sex tour with the local rugby club], I realised with no small amount of horror that he’d left me with just three bottles of low-alcohol/low-joule sparkling wine to last me for twelve days. After some quick calculations, I worked out that meant he’d left me with less than one standard drink per day. Yes, that was per day, not per hour.

I panicked.

Of course, I’d like to add here that I am both capable of surviving twelve days with my children without alcohol in my system and of buying my own wine from the local Liquor Superstore, but there’s a principle involved here. Somewhere.

This wasn’t the first alcohol crisis I’d had to weather this week. My Annual Night Out with the Dashing Solicitor last Sunday saw us accidentally order a bottle of Sparkling Red, something the DS had obviously never encountered in the top London restaurants he usually frequents, as evident by his polite exclamation of “WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT?”.

“Oh, it’s sparkling red. Sometimes it’s quite drinkable,” I said, all the while thinking that the words “sparkling” and “red” should generally only be put together when describing the shoes Judy Garland wore in “The Wizard of Oz”.

We both took a sip.

“It’s like sparkling Ribena!” The DS all but spat his mouthful out, utterly appalled.

“With medicinal highlights!” I added, swallowing mine with some difficulty.

Before we’d even finished our first glass, the DS was already getting ready to leave, the rest of the bottle left untouched in its bucket.

Now, I’ve never left a bottle of alcohol undrunk like that. Although there was that one time at a party when my Mother’s Group made the spontaneous decision to all tip the “sweet shit” we were drinking into the garden and move onto something a bit more “Brut” or even “Brut de Brut”, which I’ve secretly always thought sounded a bit like Randy Macho Man Savage’s French nemesis.

Anyway, despite my misgivings, the DS insisted we leave that bottle behind and relocate ourselves to an establishment which would never dream of serving such a swill and would instead served us a chilled bottle of 2003 Louis Roederer Vintage Champagne with a suitably deferential smile. Which is exactly what we did and what we drank. And for someone who had thought ‘Roederer’ was Roger Federer’s J-Lo name up that point, I enjoyed it immensely.

Of course, now that my husband has gone, I’m wondering if I should have taken the DS to the local Liquor Superstore instead and asked him to buy me two dozen of the usual cheap crap I drink for the same price. You know, just sayin’.

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Let it be known that I love a good quiz night as much as the next person. As long as that next person is not my husband, of course, who doesn’t like them much at all.

But I have to admit I was just a little bit worried when I bought ten tickets for the Teeny Tots Jazz Ballet Fundraiser for a Mothers Group Night Out. As I handed over my money, one of the organisers rushed forward to hug me and, with tears in her eyes, told me she loved me. 

My train of thought went something like this: Oh shit…We might be the only table there… But then at least we’ll win… Unless, of course, we begin competing with each other… In which case it will get pretty damn nasty… And will probably end in some spontaneous naked jelly wrestling. 

Actually that last thought was my husband’s. Stupid husband thoughts. 

On the morning of the quiz night, I confessed my fears of a Dud Night to the Mild-Mannered Lawyer.

“Whatever happens, we’ll have good food and cheap fizz,” I philosophised. “It will be what it will be…”

“… and that is rowdy,” the MML concluded and I agreed. And we may even have then both punched the air and shouted “QUIIIZZZZZZZZ NIIIIGGGGGGHHHHHHHTTT!!!” in a spontaneous expression of our sheer excitement.

But when the MML and I first arrived at the quiz night that evening, our rowdy excitement was somewhat quelled. Something about the flourescent lighting in the cold Scouts hall and the family groups sitting around eating bowls of Cheesels and drinking soft drinks that made us both nervous.

“Do you think we can open our champagne?” the MML whispered, ever-so-slightly panicked. “Nobody else looks like they’re drinking…”

“Oh god, there are small children present!” I whispered back.

Luckily the rest of our table arrived, as did other people, and soon the hall was buzzing with conversation and our (numerous) bottles of wine weren’t quite so conspicuous.

“Of course, it will be a different story at the end of the night when we have to sneak out all the empties,” I observed quietly to the MML. “But by then, we will probably be too drunk to care.”

And sure enough, that “Beyond Care” moment came, but quite possibly a little sooner than I would have liked. I knew it was upon me the moment I accidentally tripped over something and, so that people didn’t think I was drunk, I just kept on walking. Of course a sober person might turn around to look at what they’ve tripped over. Or, arguably, not have tripped over at all.

But listen, in my defence, it was The Night After The Day Before (see “A Normal Person“) and I had just a little bit of unwinding to do.

And no, I’m not proud of my behaviour. I’m not proud that I tried to bribe the quiz night judges by giving them cupcakes. Nor that I manually altered the results on the whiteboard by adding a digit to my team’s score. Nor that I ended up screaming “Luscious Lushes!” repeatedly in the Quiz Master’s face while my stockings fell down. Nor am I proud that I texted the lyrics of The Beach Boys’ “Kokomo” to my husband – although, admittedly, that was the MML who did that and I’m actually proud of her for doing it and quite possibly would have done it myself had I not been so bloody drunk.

The next day, my husband looked at me nursing my aching head and asked: “Do you think they’ll ever let you attend one of those quiz nights again?”

“Why of course they will! Everyone in that room would have regarded me as a bon vivant of the best kind…” I replied confidently, before adding: “As long as they were as drunk as me.”


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Somehow I managed to fall in love with – and subsequently marry and have children with – a man who did not share my taste in books. Yes, my husband simply refuses to read any fiction published after a very specific date which I  believe to be somewhere around mid-July, 1959. He has, however, conceded that he has some interest in reading “Lucky Jim” by Kingsley Amis one of these days, claiming it was published in the early ’60s. However, when I wikipediaed it, I found out that it was first published in 1954, thus proving that his Cut-Off is iron-clad. 

Anyway, this was all an interesting lesson for me about how we can’t get everything out of the one relationship and why they invented Book Group (see “In The Good Books” for more on that merry band of women in my life). And in any case, I have been lucky enough to collect enough friends over the years to complement the many different facets of my personality. I have Sparkly friends and Sane friends. Silly friends and Soulful friends. Coffee-Scones-and-Double-Cream friends and Long-Afternoons-Drinking-Cheap-Fizz friends. And I love them all. 

And then I have “The Cousins”. On my dad’s side of the family, there are eight of us who have been putting on Cousin Christmas Spectaculars and sharing in-jokes since we were in nappies (some of us are still in nappies but I ain’t sayin’ who). Somehow, however, the Cousin Thing in my life has been kept largely separate from my Friends Thing. Perhaps it’s because, whenever the two worlds meet, all my male hetreosexual friends try to crack onto my cousins – both the boys and the girls. What can I say? We’re one hell of a good looking family. 

Recently we had a mini Cousin Get-Together because one of my cousins was in town with her brand spankin’ new fiance. Some last-minute scheduling problems meant that this get-together converged with a spontaneous BBQ we had put on for some other dear friends of ours. As I was introducing everyone, I realised that they already knew each other but just not in the flesh. Why, there I had three of my regular blog commenters all in the same room – “mystery v”, “MM” and “KC” (although, I should hasten to mention that MM and KC have been married for over a decade and have managed to have a relationship outside of my blog, their son being overwhelming proof of this). Luckily, mystery v’s new man “Imaginary D” had been exposed to enough of my blog to appreciate the exchanges of knowing “Aaahhhs!” and cries of “Boobalicious!!” that followed. 

And so we all sat around my kitchen table for some hastily-thrown together food, cheap fizz and lively conversation. I realised I was in safe hands when I was able to exclaim “Bloody Haemophiliacs!” without anyone judging me too harshly for such a random and tasteless joke. And certainly, once my “Rock Cousin” arrived, things shifted to a whole new level. At one point, there was muttering in one corner about “www.cousinswap.com”, which nobody involved in its conception seemed to be able to explain to me. And then later, there was even talk of “www.cousindump.com” which I think was a website that helps arrange certain scattalogical services to be performed by a distance blood relative but I can’t be sure. Best not dwell too long on such things, really. 

In any case, I was well pleased. Some of my worlds – virtual and real, family and friends – had successfully converged for a pleasant afternoon of spontaneous silliness. As you would certainly hope would happen when some of the family you love and some of the family you’ve chosen meet… Perhaps that’s what http://www.cousinswap.com was all about?

Whatever the hell it is, we here at NDM Central raise our glasses of cheap fizz to friendship! And to cousinship! And lazy Saturday afternoons! May the three often converge…

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