My sister’s staying with me at the moment as she’s having extensive renovation work done in her house and is about to murder the workmen because, like many of us, she’s working from home.
Why is it that men in the construction industry have to make every day a re-enaction of an Ibiza club night? Radio blasting, screaming at each other over the techno. Lads, is it possible to plaster or lay bricks without the Ministry of Sound at 95 decibels?
It reminded me of a couple of years ago, when I was in the midst of a telephone interview for an article about mental health. Suddenly, Radio 2 and Billy Ocean’s “When the Going Gets Tough” started vibrating through the walls.
I cut short the interview with the psychologist, threw open the window and screamed, “Can you turn that down, I’m trying to do an interview here!!!”
‘Four hours later, we’d found gin, smashed glasses, cried, laughed, danced, played ear-splitting tunes until two in the morning and I’d abused a couple of chancers on a dating app’
‘Hope you get the job after you’ve sorted your anger issues, sweetheart!” came the chirpy reply.
Anyway, it’s much calmer in my house than my sister’s at the moment. Or it was until Saturday night. We’d made a pact not to drink much as far too much alcohol has been consumed in lockdown and we were determined to exert a positive influence on each other. We agreed, shook hands and I poured her a modest glass of wine to seal the deal.
Four hours later, we’d found gin, smashed glasses, cried, laughed, danced, played ear-splitting tunes until two in the morning and I’d abused a couple of chancers on a dating app.
Somehow, in the midst of this drunken Armageddon, I’d managed to make a salmon ramen. We can’t remember eating it. In fact, I wasn’t even aware that I knew how to make a ramen. But the next morning there was evidence all over the kitchen floor and down my sweatshirt. Oh, and the nauseating whiff of shrimp paste.
The ultimate symbol of degradation, however, was finding the silver skin of the salmon stuck up my sleeve, like a stinky handkerchief, and another piece stuck to my temple. Why? What? How?
‘I laughed, fell over and slid across the length of the dance floor, through open double doors and eventually came to a halt still clutching my glass of wine, having not spilt a drop. Class!’
And then the ultimate walk of shame to the bottle bin…twice. Have you ever tried putting bottles in the recycle bin quietly, it’s impossible.
But what a laugh. My sister recalled the time when we were teenagers at the local disco in the Labour Club. She was dancing to Northern Soul and tripped. I laughed, fell over and slid across the length of the dance floor, through open double doors and eventually came to a halt still clutching my glass of wine, having not spilt a drop. Class!
I recalled the time when she came to my rescue when a lad tried to chat me up in a music bar on holiday. I didn’t want to know, so he pulled my shirt out at the back and poured a pint of beer down it. My sister was so incensed that she grabbed the nearest pint of beer from a bystander to throw in my assailant’s face. But she missed and soaked a gang of disco-boys. However, she managed to get off with the best looking one among them, so it wasn’t such a tragedy after all. Well, apart from my dripping back and hoppy aroma, that is.
Anyway, it’s Wednesday as I’m writing this and we’ve gone a whole three nights without touching a drop. We’ve also upped our walking and we’re eating healthily, particularly as I’ve mysteriously mastered some ramen-making skills. Who knew? I feel it’s a success, one day at a time and all that.
During lockdown, I’ve done Sober October and Dry January (most of it, anyway) relatively easily. But, if my sister’s extension isn’t finished soon, we’ll both be forced to follow the PPP – Post-Pandemic Pause – alcohol cessation programme just as pubs are opening their doors again. And the going really would get tough then!
So, don’t be like the Sisters Grimm, folks! Drink sensibly unless, of course, builders are driving you to distraction and if that’s the case, you’ll need to fill your boots!
Main pic by @olenkasergienko