Category Archives: Wine

Football And Gardening

A very good evening from the Lifestyle Support Guru! I realise that it is a little while since I offered any advice on coping with everything that life can throw at you, whether it be avoiding the World Cup or dealing with weeds on the garden path (it’s always a good idea to keep your garden path clear in case anyone ever tries to lead you down it).

Football

Avoiding the World Cup is quite difficult, as I’m sure many of you are probably finding, but it can be done:
1. You can settle down at home with a good book and a glass of wine.
2. You can find a pub without a television and settle down with a good book and a glass of wine.
3. You can download a good book on your Kindle and settle down with a glass of wine.
4. Forget the books and just settle down with a glass of wine.

Gardening

Clearing the garden path is very easy – all you need is a sibling (or some other family member), some weed killer and a few black bin bags.
1. Persuade your sibling/other family member that your arthritis is really playing you up – limp heavily and often – and say in a pathetic voice that you wish you could bend to clear the garden path (this is actually a downright lie, but needs must…).
2. Sibling/other family member will get so fed up of your pathetic whining that he/she will ask where the weed killer is, which he/she will then spray liberally over the said weeds.
3. You, meanwhile, will be tasked with the dangerous job of keeping the cat indoors, which is best done with a good book and a glass of wine (or was that the World Cup? So easy to get confused.).
4. Once the weeds have been sprayed, sibling/other family member will cover the area with black bin liners, stating that they will remain in place for the foreseeable future because they will block the sun, thus discouraging the weeds from daring to show their faces ever again. You accept this as the absolute truth because you have imbibed so much wine that you no longer care that the garden path now looks like the aftermath of a rock festival, bin liners fluttering gently in the breeze, held down by an assortment of garden items ranging from garden chairs to rotting plastic watering cans, and part of a hydraulic jack which has been a feature of the garden since you moved in and which you haven’t thrown away because you’re sure you can make it a ‘proper’ garden feature, maybe even a postmodern water feature, with a gentle stream of water trickling softly over the side. Or maybe just wait for it to rain …
And there you have it – football and gardening sorted, providing you have a good book, a sibling/other family member, weed killer, bin liners, a cat and, of course, a plentiful supply of wine …
I will finish by saying that I may adopt an ancient Roman habit of those in high places – to employ a slave to whisper in your ear that you are only human. (The slave should also be able to pour a glass of wine without spilling a drop…)
Sleep well, adoring acolytes!

Another Career Move

A very good Bank Holiday evening to you all – I hope you have made the most of the sunshine and fine weather. One of my local pubs has already made the most of it by running out of the ‘reassuringly expensive’ lager that next-sibling-down enjoys, even though there’s still another day of the holiday to go, so we have had to repair to the next local along. Luckily, both places stock Sauvignon Blanc, so the Lifestyle Support Guru is not suffering at all.
Tonight, I wish to tell you about my ever-growing CV – quiz-setting, lunching, proofreading, lunching, making people smile (sometimes), lunching, annoying male siblings by talking too much, lunching, and now… MODEL! Yes, I have added MODEL to my list of accomplishments. And it didn’t take a lot of effort or practice to be a model MODEL – to some it just comes naturally and the LSG is the perfect example of that.
I shall set the scene, as usual:
– being a community-minded sort of person, I belong to a couple of local committees (‘community-minded’ is a lie, really – I only belong to them because they meet in the pub), and one of these committees decided to run a charity fashion show (at my suggestion, I’m pleased to say – yet another self-sacrificing suggestion, because, as I’m sure you realise, a fashion show wouldn’t really be to my taste at all…). Volunteer models were required, so, in my usual self-effacing way, I put myself forward as a possibility, along with four or five others. To say that the offer was snapped up would be an understatement, and I like to think that it was because of the LSG’s natural aptitude for modelling rather than through a lack of other volunteers. I also like to think that I was offering to be representative of the curvier end of the modelling spectrum – and this same thought was also clearly reflected by another volunteer in the following conversation:

Other Model: I’ve waxed my legs and put some tanning lotion on them ready for the show.
LSG: Really? I wasn’t thinking of going to those lengths. I’ll just be grateful if they’ve got clothes that will fit me.
OM: Oh, they’re bound to have some that will fit – they need all sizes of models, from ‘C’ over there (pointing to a tiny, incredibly slim committee member who normally wears a size SIX!!) to me and ‘R’ (pointing to herself and the wonderful, amazingly enthusiastic Rachel, who is the Chair of the committee) who can cover the normal/medium sizes; they’ll be bound to have your size and shape as well.

I took a large gulp of wine and smiled sweetly, whilst thinking evil thoughts. Other Model, do not think that you will get away scot free by making such underhand comments…

On the evening itself, there was a HUGE audience – thank goodness I am used to appearing in public and am not fazed by such attention. We were allowed to choose our own outfits, although one of these had to be a dress, a type of garment I haven’t worn since I retired over 7 years ago, but I am prepared to sacrifice my principles for a good cause (and the right size). I sashayed out onto the catwalk, displaying a broad grin (and an even broader behind, probably) and that was my next career launched!
It seemed to me that the most popular garment sold on the night was one that the LSG had modelled – a pink and white striped tunic, which looked lovely with a tan, and in the case of the LSG, a REAL tan, unlike the OM’s bottle tan (which didn’t really show up anyway – she’d left it too late for it to have any impact). Conversely, I didn’t notice lots of people rushing to buy the OM’s choice of dress, although I did persuade her that it looked absolutely delightful on her and she decided to buy it – but sometimes I don’t always tell the WHOLE truth…
Kate Moss, eat your heart out…

(On the plus side – my size! – the evening raised over £600 and the LSG added to her wardrobe, including a rather nice pink and white striped tunic which looks lovely with a tan, but which every other female in the area may also well be wearing!)
Enjoy the rest of the Bank Holiday.

Making an exhibition of myself

A very good evening to you all from the Lifestyle Support Guru! I hope you have all been coping well with the snow and biting winds – don’t you just love a British spring? I have some sound advice for you tonight about visiting exhibitions and how to get the most out of them. I have recently been to two very different exhibitions and I believe that I learned valuable lessons from both. The visits were made as a result of the male siblings’ interests, since one doesn’t come across many exhibitions about my own interests, specifically ‘A hundred ways to prepare a Pot Noodle’ and ‘Cork or screwtop? A wine drinker’s dilemma.’

Photo by Artiom Vallat on Unsplash

The first exhibition was to do with properties abroad, with a view to avoiding the British winter, although that becomes more and more difficult as the years go by because the British winter now seems to last from August to June. This was perhaps the most fun of the two because I simply stood next to youngest sibling and said nothing. (This was, in fact, quite difficult because, as the LSG, I feel it almost essential to offer my valuable advice whenever I think it necessary, which is most of the time. I think this may be the reason that next-youngest sibling always allows youngest sibling to sit in the front of the car when I’m driving, with the words, ‘I’d like some peace and quiet.’) Anyway, I digress. My silence clearly disconcerted the exhibitors because they kept trying to make eye contact with me and include me in their conversation; they are obviously not used to a woman standing saying nothing, just nodding occasionally. I smiled mysteriously at times and at one exhibitor’s stand I actually said, ‘I’m his minder.’ Strangely, they didn’t look surprised – more scared, if anything. We came away with several brochures and a cotton carrier bag which I shall use for dirty laundry when I go on holiday.

The second exhibition was a photography one, which is one of next-youngest sibling’s interests. Unfortunately, when he first said it was a camera exhibition, I misunderstood and thought he said a CAMRA exhibition and I had visions of quaffing lots of pleasant real ales. This was, sadly, not to be, but it was too late to change my mind because he’d already booked tickets. Once we arrived, I told next-youngest sibling to wander off on his own because I didn’t think ‘camera people’ would have the same approach to a silent, smiling bystander as ‘holiday people’ – they would be more likely to take a photo of me and enter it in some ‘Photo of the Year’ competition and win because of the compellingly distinguished features of the LSG.
I headed straight for the nearest coffee outlet since it was still very early in the morning (about 10.15) and I’d only had one coffee instead of my usual two. I then wandered around some of the stands, but could find none selling handbags or linen tops, both of which are high on my list of ‘things I love’, along with Pot Noodles, Pukka Pies, prosecco and frozen peas, so, losing interest, I went for another coffee. It was only on the way out of the exhibition that I spotted a stand that might have some interest for me – leather bags!
Sadly, they had a slightly strange design meant only to carry cameras and their accessories, not a mobile phone; a diary; a fat purse; a Kindle Fire; a little foldup stand for aforementioned Kindle; a little pouch which holds a mobile charger, a power lead, several different connectors, earphones and a USB lead; a Murray Mint; a little notebook; several pens; some money-off vouchers for Majestic Wines; a comb, and a couple of spare contact lenses. We came away with two carrier bags, neither of which will be suitable for dirty laundry and will simply sit in the house while I try to think of what to do with them.

So, there you have it, dear devotees – exhibitionism can enliven your life!

Supermarket Sweep – A Little Quiz

A very good evening from the Lifestyle Support Guru! Tonight, I am going to ask you a few questions that will help you work out your place in society. Clearly, as the LSG, I know exactly where I stand – my place in the very top tier of society is assured as I rub shoulders with kings and queens, princes and princesses, film stars; however, I am equally at home with those of a more rough-hewn nature – teachers, pub landlords, coach drivers, those people who are the salt of the earth!
The questions are based on my own experiences, as always, since I would never ask you to judge yourselves unless I had judged myself first – of course, I came out as a model citizen. The rest of you may find it a little more difficult to reach such a pinnacle, but you must always strive, even if you are unlikely to match me – that is something that only a very, very, very small number (in fact, probably none) will ever achieve.
Anyway, on with the quiz:
1. You are in a supermarket (let’s say Morrison’s; other supermarkets are available, but they had the best beer offer that day) with your sibling, and have stocked up on basics – beer, wine and chocolate – and you head for the nearest (and shortest) queue and unload your trolley. An old couple joins the queue immediately behind you and you can see that the female half of the couple is looking at you and your sibling in a rather angry manner, tutting and shaking her head (the male half is looking increasingly embarrassed). (Sibling hasn’t noticed any of this – he is too busy looking lovingly at his chocolate, wondering if he can open the (very large) packet of Maltesers before you’ve got through the checkout.) You wonder what is making this old woman so cross – maybe she thinks you haven’t got a proper, balanced diet in your trolley. Silly old woman! You then realise that you have accidentally joined the ‘Ten Items, Express Checkout’ queue, which is why this old bag is so incensed – you have TWELVE items in your trolley! Do you:
a) Apologise profusely to the hag and start loading the items back into your trolley so that you can go to another queue?
b) Apologise profusely to the ancient hag but stay where you are because you’re next at the checkout and reloading your trolley would take more time than going through the checkout?
c) Apologise to the checkout assistant and say you’ll move to another queue?
The obvious answer is c) because the checkout assistant has noticed this seriously deranged female monster becoming more and more angry over something incredibly petty. She says – loudly and often and with a smile – that, since there are two of you, you are allowed TWENTY items on her till and, even if you weren’t allowed that many, TWELVE items is hardly a hanging crime (well, not in the UK… yet).
2. You are on the committee of a local group that is trying to raise funds for an event in the summer (Fashion Show, May 4th; Picnic on the Green, July 8th) and you have been asked (or maybe you volunteered – my memory blurs) to find out which supermarket does the best offer on boxes of wine for the Fashion Show (did I mention it’s on May 4th?). Do you:
a) Go straight to a price comparison website for supermarkets?
b) Go straight to the Tesco website?
c) Go straight to the Waitrose website?
If you chose a) or b), then you are a reasonably balanced individual (Tesco seems to have reined in its ambitions to rule the world for now, so I am happy to look at their website, even if I can’t quite bring myself to go into the actual store). However, if you chose c), you need to reassess your understanding of ‘society’ – ‘Waitrose’ and ‘box of wine’ do NOT go together. It may be that you need to see a counsellor to understand that we are NOT ‘all in this together’, or at least not as far as Waitrose is concerned when its ‘essentials’ range includes avocado, sirloin steak and tortilla wraps. Looking for a wine box in Waitrose is like looking for a photo of a fully-clothed Kim Kardashian – it just isn’t going to happen!
Two questions are enough to cope with for now – challenges should be realistic and present goals that can be reached and I believe that these two offer enough to consider for the moment. Coming soon – a moral dilemma involving Wagamama. Sleep well, Faithful Followers!

Losing weight

Hello, hello, hello! I realise that it has been quite some time since I offered any advice, but life has been its usual hectic, never-ending round of parties and trips abroad.
Actually, when I say ‘parties’, I really mean saying ‘hello’ to one or two people in the local and a Christmas meal with the charity committee from the local.

And when I say ‘abroad’, I really mean York, where I spent Christmas with the unmarried siblings. We had a jolly time, even bumping into the Tiny Tyke (TT) unexpectedly when he bounded up to us like an overexcited puppy in the first pub we visited! And he didn’t spill a drop of his drink as he bounded up to us, which rather impressed us!

Anyway, I digress, since this is about losing weight – but fear not! I have not succumbed to offering advice about the dreaded post-Christmas/New Year diet – no point, because you’ll only have to do it all again next year. No, this is about a medical ‘procedure’, as operations are now called. But fear not! I have not had a gastric band fitted or gone for liposuction (that could create a fatberg all of its own!). This was a ‘female’ procedure, so the boys may want to look away now. But fear not! I shall not be going into the details of the ‘procedure’ – no, no, no! The LSG has far more discretion.


All you need to know is that this required the removal of ‘bits’ which were considered ‘at risk’, although not at any life-threatening level, and I was only in for a day, although it seemed longer, since I had to be at the hospital at 7.30 in the morning, which, for the past seven years, I hadn’t realised existed any more. In addition, I was put last on the list (they obviously didn’t know who I am), which meant that, by the time they eventually got to me, I had answered questions such as ‘Are you wearing any make-up?’ (obvious answer – NO!) and ‘Do you have any body piercings?’ (also NO!), as well as ‘Do you still live at …?’ (answer – I haven’t had the chance to move house in the last eight hours) several times, even within two minutes of each other. I realise the NHS has to be careful, but there are limits…

I survived, despite the surgeon passing me a consent form for the ‘procedure’ and asking me to ‘sign my life away’ – not quite what one wishes to hear from the person who has your life in their hands. She smiled in a rather evil way, I thought, when I said, ‘I hope not!’ – jealousy of the LSG, I believe.

Large glass red wine

When I came round, I felt as if I had drunk several bottles of a strong red wine (Shiraz, perhaps?) without the benefit of going through the enjoyable phase! Youngest sibling came to collect me in the evening – not because he had a deep desire to travel from Hull to spend a Friday evening with the LSG (although many would!), but because next-youngest sibling had to go to a play rehearsal in the evening and it is recommended that you are not left on your own for 24 hours after a ‘procedure’ and Molly-the-all-black-cat was not considered a suitable companion. However, she ended up being my carer anyway, since I sent the two siblings off to the pub. There are limits to how long one can bear looking at the faces of two men who wish they were anywhere rather than sitting watching a woman who’s just had ‘bits’ removed and who don’t want ANY of the details!
I am recovering well – provided I wear elasticated trousers and ‘big’ knickers and don’t cough, sneeze or laugh.

And the weight loss? How much do ovaries weigh?