The mothers eventually left and we started tidying up. Kathy poked her head out of the kitchen and gleefully showed me a bottle of gin which she had bought as a "birthday treat". Now at this stage we were not hardened drinkers (believe it or not). A beer or five on a hot day and a glass of Bellingham Grand Cru when we went out for supper (to look more sophisticated) was about it for us. She asked for help pouring this foreign (and pretty expensive for us) liquid. She opened the bottle and proceeded to use the cap of the Gordon's bottle as a tot measure. This I knew was not correct so taught her that you needed to measure 2 sideways fingers at the bottom of the glass - this equalled a single tot (my grandfather taught me well). All was fine and we enjoyed a couple of gentle gins while the boys had a bubble bath upstairs. A good and civilised end to a long day. When the bubbles started cascading down the open wooden staircase, I realised that it was time to take my 3 angelic ninja's home.
That was our introduction to gin, tonic and a slice a lemon.
A couple of months later and things suddenly progressed to another level. A week night and brother-in-law Sam was in Cape Town on business. Kathy and Dalene were visiting and, as he was the only man in the house at the time, he offered to pour our drinks. Beautifully poured gin and tonics with ice and lemon (our new favourite drink). At one stage he mentioned that we were a bit low on tonic but we did not notice any difference and they were going down very well. Sam eventually had to leave and the children started crying for their supper. Do you think that the 3 of us could get out of our chairs? Something had happened to our legs. We sat there giggling like real Gin Gerties (as my grandmother used to call her friends who "drank"). On further inspection in the kitchen everything became clear(er). The previously unopened bottle of gin had not even 2 small tots left in it. Could the four of us have finished nearly a whole bottle of gin with just one litre of tonic?
How Sam managed that, we still do not know. The fact that he left us in our armchairs and sneakily disappeared, led us to believe that he was drinking water with ice and lemon and that the gin and tonics had been poured at a half/half ratios between the 3 of us.
We salute you Colonel General!! When next you are in Cape Town and feeling brave and strong, please pop in for a drink - we may surprise you at just how much we have learned in 19 years!! Best you bring a driver too.
Nothing is more pleasurable than to sit in the shade,
sip gin and contemplate other people`s adulteries,
and while the wormy apple of marriage still lives, the novel will not die.