"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"

Sunday, 12 October 2014

sunday is a day of rest...

I worked too hard yesterday so today has been a lazy Sunday.

A very busy Saturday, starting with a lovely long walk and being spoilt with a clear, warm morning and stunning spring flowers in bloom.  Then some time in the garden with our ever, enthusiastic gardener who also helped with the sweeping and clearing out of the garage (not planning to die Gareth, just essential to be able to make room for the new treasures collected from Albion Road). This took up much of the day, with a breather to watch the best tennis match I have seen in ages between Roger and Novac.

The day was rounded off with a lovely house-warming dinner party at my brother and sister-in-law. Lovely food and company but it was late and left me feeling a bit tender today (the lateness causing the tenderness and not the whole bottle of bubbles I consumed).  However, I was not too tender that I could not make my way to the Apple Store to replace my stolen iPad this morning. Not really fair when you only get paid out R7 300 by your insurance for the iPad and have to pay R8 599 for the new one (and no cover). Then, the irritation of waiting in a queue at Vodacom to change a SIM card (they issued me with the incorrect sized SIM), only to find out that I have to do it at my service provider. Anyway the iPad is now up and running and I am so grateful that all my settings could be retrieved. These machines and stuff in the clouds are very clever.

So this afternoon was spent...

Taking pictures of wine bottles with the iPad for my new newsletter, 

and a bit of fiddling and playing with my new art project
the lounge smells of lacquer thinners which is supposed to transfer the pictures on the paper, sometimes I win, sometimes just an inky blob but it is all in the name of art

I think it is the lacquer thinners that made me thirsty. Thirsty for what? Not feeling much like wine today. What about the bottle Ricard I paid a fortune for the other day?  A bit of background:-

My crazy friend Cheryl (the one in New Zealand, remember?) and her husband have just had a wonderful holiday in Europe. For two months we were entertained with her daily diary. Following their travels, what they were eating and drinking and doing was armchair travel at it's best

" and went through the back street markets, which were busy and bustling and shady
.....filled with ice cream parlours, bakeries, butcheries etc....oh and boring clothing and tourist stuff too.....Stopped for lunch and Pastis, I was having withdrawals by now......and Ian even found a bottle store and bought me my own whole new bottle of blue Pastis. The lady in the bottle store smiled sweetly and said "brave"... Ian smiled sweetly and I left them both with their various dreams. So - more walking back to the hotel via the water fountains, and for a cool shower,for Le lobsters one and two.....and we are off again to see some of the night life of Nice......two pink glow in the dark TOURISTS hahah xxx"  

She is home now but her talk of Pastis got me thinking as the only Pastis I know of is that restaurant in Constantia. Last weekend I found myself in a bottle store - don't have to visit them much anymore as my job has certain "perks". While waiting to get the stuff I had hired, I spied the Pastis and remembered the above picture on Facebook. I had to try it (not the blue one unfortunately). 

That evening I made a jug when my mom, Kathy and Dalene visited (they did not seem too impressed) and a second jug was not needed.

So tonight was the night and, not feeling much like wine, I would experiment with a more refreshing drink.

Definitely an acquired taste (I have just poured my second glass as we "speak"). It numbs your tastebuds (and tongue) but I love the licorice flavour, the clean, herby taste on your palate and the fact that it is not sweet. I also decided to do a little research on the product (in case I was making too strong a mixture) and that perhaps you could mix it with something bubbly.

french estate agentsEnter a French bar anytime after 11am on a Sunday morning and you will be hit by a wave of strong-smelling aniseed which wafts from the Pastis glasses lining the bar. For Pastis is a favourite tipple at apero time for many French people. Drunk with a small dash of water which turns the yellow liquor cloudy, it is popular with both young and old, men and women.

The name pastis comes from the Provencal word pastisson, which means a mixture. And although Pastis producers are extremely guarded about their famous recipe, it is understood to be based on a melange of star anise, licorice and a handful of Provencal herbs.
real estate south of francePastis is a derivative of absinthe, a lethal alcoholic drink made from wormwood as far back as the 18th century. It used to be given to patients suffering from rheumatism and intestinal worms but became a bona fide drink when it was discovered by Frenchman Henri-Louis Pernod in the 19th century.
In 1805 Pernod built a distillery in Pontarlier, near the Swiss border, in which he made copious amounts of absinthe for a growing fan club. Over the next century it became hugley popular, with imbibers claiming that the drink was hallucinogenic. property for sale st paul de venceOne such admirer was Oscar Wilde, who wrote: “The first stage is like ordinary drinking, the second when you begin to see monstrous and cruel things, but if you can persevere you will enter in upon the third stage where you see things that you want to see, wonderful, curious things.”
The drink was deemed so dangerous that in 1915, it was banned by the French government. However, less than a decade later politicians caved in, and allowed absinthe-style drinks to be sold as long as they did not contain wormwood.
A number of anise-based drinks began to creep into bars and homes in the south of France, but none had got the recipe quite right, according to one young man in Marseille called Paul Ricard. The 23-year-old man spent months working on a winning formula, adding different ingredients until in 1932, he got it just right.
Ricard, the son of a wine merchant, started marketing his anise-flavoured drink, Pastis, which he called “the true pastis from Marseille”. After several run-ins with the authorities he was given the right to make and sell the drink in 1938.
In 1951 Pernod launched a counter attack, bringing out his own version of the anise drink which he called Pastis 51. Pernod and Ricard then joined together in 1974 to create the world’s second largest drinks company.
Pastis is now the second most popular drink in France after wine, especially amongst people living in the south, from where it originated.

Seems like I am adding too much water and Oh my word - Absinthe!!

"Compared to other spirits, absinthe is as unique as they come. Absinthe may not have the same effects as certain illegal drugs, but it definitely awakens the senses in a way that no other alcohol truly can. As you sip your absinthe, try listening to a favorite song, or looking through a photo-book. We suspect that the increased sensory awareness – the only true and common effect of absinthe we know of – is what made the drink a hit with artists such as Van Gogh, Hemingway, Rimbaud, and many others (though we don’t believe Van Gogh lost his ear due to an absinthe binge!)

Absinthe need not remain a mystery to you. The experience of preparing, pouring, and drinking absinthe is difficult to describe without resorting to extravagant language, and so we recommend that you see for yourself what all the fuss is about."

So here I sit, busy deciding whether another drink is in order, while writing my newsletter and this blog and listening and singing along to an old Crowded House CD. 

Watch out Hemingway and Picasso (and Edith Piaf), I can multi-task!!

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