"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Monday, 22 August 2011

in celebration of the juniper berry

At a guess it must have been about 19 years ago - hells bells that is a long time ago - when Kathy and I started taking lessons in drinking.   It was Justin's birthday and she had a crowd of little boys coming over to her lovely flat at Montebello.  Lucky for her it was a lovely April's day and she had about 20 little boys running wild on the grass while mothers sipped tea (can you believe it?) and ate cake on picnic blankets under the trees.  I was the only "Bosch Mom" amongst practically the whole of the SACS Sub A class.  Nic (my middle son) and Justin have been mates since nappy and dummy days so Nic was having a ball with the SACS boys.  It was the first time that I was meeting most of these moms so I was not quite as at home in this new crowd as Nicholas James was.  (This was all to change in later years when I went to watch Justin play waterpolo for SACS. His captain's mom was chatting to Kathy and, in conversation reminded me to please to bring a green salad to the evening function).   Back to this particular 6th (or 7th) birthday party.  I am always one to know someone in a group and met up with a friend from college days. A very proper mother with an angelic looking child in a superman outfit (who was actually a monster in disguise).  Chit, chat about this and that, where I lived, who I married, how many times a day (sorry week) I had sex (joking) and then she asked me "So which one is your little boy?"  As I looked up across the rolling lawns I spied Nic (in his ninja outfit) pinning the angelic child against the tree and giving him a couple of good punches.  At this stage I did not know that the superman little sh*t belonged to her.  "There he is, the blonde ninja sorting out that impossible little Superman".  With that she took off, at speed, to rescue her little darling and I ducked off upstairs to hide and eat popcorn and fizzers with the older "unsociable" boys.

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.

Gordons Gin

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.



1 comment:

  1. he he he xxxxxx as in se se se...but I cannot find the kappie!