I have been wondering when to have my first Christmas drink. The reason I am delaying is because I have gone a long time without alcohol – around nine months now – and although I miss the idea of having a drink, I do not miss the idea of waking up with the taste of stale alcohol in my mouth, or the general fatigue that goes along with drinking.
Why have one at all? I wonder, and why – other than through force of habit, am I buying so much of the damn stuff: boxes of wine, vodka, Tuaca, port? It is currently sitting unopened in boxes in my garage and on my shelves. I think back to the film Carol which featured the impossibly glamourous Cate Blanchette drinking neat whisky from an exquisite cut glass old-fashioned and it looked so sophisticated. But then the story was set in America in winter and the weather did sort of lend itself more to the earthy notes of dark liquor.
The chances are that my downward slide will begin with either a Cosmopolitan – which is my hot weather Christmas drink, or Baileys which I drink regardless of climate or season. You can put ice cubes in it and drink it like an iced coffee, or substitute it for milk in a hot cup of coffee and still come up smiling. Perhaps I will try a bottle of what my parents are currently drinking by the vat-load, a pink Moscato.
Last night it was just as well I did not break my abstinence, though – although I did glance sideways at the vodka for a split second. I was really tired and almost ready to head for bed when I got a message from my husband to say he was going to be late in and wondering if I could pick him up; at midnight. I looked at the clock, it was not even ten so it was going to be tricky staying the distance, but I said yes and to ring my phone if I did not respond to his text message because it would mean I was snoring on the couch.
By the time I pulled in to the station to collect him, I was almost asleep at the wheel, but Lucy and Archie were wide awake. Lucy had kept vigil with me in the lounge, but Archie had been in the bedroom and I was wondering whether to leave him there as I grabbed my keys to leave, but even as I did so, I heard his paws on the floor to the corridor and turned to see his face at the sliding door. He was wearing an expression of not hurt, exactly, but mild confusion as to why we may have been considering going anywhere without him.
Despite vowing to limit the dogs’ time in the car, I had towels and sheets down from previous trips and they hopped in as if going for a drive at midnight was the most usual thing in the world. As we pulled up at the station, I could see the train was already in and it was a matter of waiting for my husband to drop off his paperwork and appear from the office.
I dropped the back window a couple of inches for Lucy, so she could stick her nose out. I saw him before she did, and made the mistake of asking her where he was, ‘Where is he, Lucy? Where is he?’ I said playfully – and stupidly.
She caught sight of her beloved (she really does love him to bits) and immediately wanted to get over to seen him. In desparation she clawed furiously at the only thing that stood between her and the object of her adoration: the window. Jack Russells have pretty good claws for digging and I immediately pictured the scratchmarks on the window as I remembered what her teeth and claws had once done to a blind that had impeded her view out of the window.
That woke me up, alright, ‘LUCY GET DOWN!’ I yelled. And she did, but with a look that told me as only a look can, that it was this kind of spoil sportery that meant I would never be her favourite.
Fortunately Mr Favourite then approached the car and opened the door, so I only had to endure her withering disdain for seconds before she switched back to ecstasy to greet my husband. I looked at Archie, he looked at me as if to say, ‘What can you do? With a love like this, there is no point in trying to stop them.’
Thanks Archie, it is nice to know that we have a poet in the family.