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Category: Wine

Another Film Review

A very good evening to you all! The Lifestyle Support Guru here with another insightful and incisive film review. The film, a French one, was suggested by Mrs Marzipan (who featured heavily in my last post). She was accompanied by her husband, Mr Lederhosen (who also featured briefly in the same post and who, for once, had not managed to come up quickly enough with a DIY project to get out of the afternoon’s entertainment).
The film was called ‘Les Gardiennes’ and had been positively reviewed in some newspaper or other, although Mrs Marzipan couldn’t remember which one – I have a feeling it may have been ‘Farmers’ Weekly’.
www.lifestylesupportguru.comThe film was about how the women in France coped while their men were fighting in the Great War and, since I enjoy films about the two World Wars, I thought this would be an interesting ‘take’. Well, for the first hour, I thought we’d accidentally bought tickets for a screening of ‘Countryfile’ which had been filmed in an agricultural museum. We had long scenes of women haymaking, while the older men of the village stood around drinking homemade wine; every so often, a younger male member of the main family would turn up on leave from the front, give a little help in the fields, have a nightmare or two about the hostilities, then gaze into the distance for a while (as they always do in French films) before going back to fight.
A young woman, Francine, an orphan, joined the cast to help on the farm and, of course, fell in love with Georges, one of the sons of Hortense, the matriarch of the family. The tempo was upped a bit by now because Hortense, after falling over as she was guiding the plough (too much homemade wine, I suspect), decided to mechanise the haymaking and we were treated to a ten-minute scene of how this machine worked – fascinating! I was waiting for Hortense to get swept into the machine, but no such luck. Given that there was a war on, how did they manage to get the money? By selling homemade wine to some dastardly American soldiers who had not yet been sent to the front.
www.lifestylesupportguru.comI’m not sure you want much more detail – a tractor featured, and we were treated to five minutes of that being driven around the farmyard – and Hortense didn’t get run over, sadly.
Meanwhile, Francine has been getting more involved with Georges – they go off on a picnic and ‘cement’ their relationship, so to speak. I was most disappointed because they didn’t touch their picnic at all, leaving the baguette sticking up out of the wicker basket to go stale. 😊

www.lifestylesupportguru.comHowever, things were not meant to run smoothly – as Georges was being driven to the station by his mother to go back to the front, they pass Francine selling some wine to one of the dastardly Americans who is trying to kiss her – of course, Georges gets completely the wrong end of the stick (or baguette?) and Hortense encourages him in his mistake. Briefly, Francine gets the push and, of course, she finds out she’s pregnant but, although she writes to Hortense to tell her this, Hortense throws her letter on the fire.
As the film was going on, the year would be shown briefly when action changed and I (naively, as it turned out) assumed it would finish in 1918. It was when 1920 flashed up that I whispered to Mrs Marzipan and Mr Lederhosen, ‘I just hope this isn’t going to continue into the 21st century – we’ll be here all night.’
All ends happily – sort of (this is a French film, after all!). Francine, who has come into some money, is leading a happy life as a singer, and Georges turns up where she’s singing, and he looks thoroughly miserable. Hah!

We felt in need of some refreshment after all this agricultural misery, so we repaired to the bar for some wine. With eyes bigger than our thirsts, we ended up not finishing a bottle of wine and Mrs Marzipan and Mr Lederhosen insisting that I take the unfinished bottle home with me. Picture me getting on the bus home with a half-finished bottle of wine sticking up out of my handbag. Luckily, no neighbours were on the bus, so I think I got away with it!
Enjoy the rest of your evening! 🍷📽️🚜🥖👩‍🌾

The Cost Of Being Single

A very good evening from the Lifestyle Support Guru.

I decided to write this after reading an article in that esteemed, if just the teensiest bit left-wing, newspaper, The Grauniad (not to be confused with its sister paper, The Guardian), about the TRUE cost of being single.

‘Aha!’ I thought, ‘someone else who has wondered why M&S doesn’t do a ‘Dine in for One for £5 with free bottle of wine’, instead of assuming that everyone has someone with whom they wish to share their Gastropub Fish Pie or Gastropub Steak Lasagne with a side of Wild Rocket (that’s a SIDE dish?? That’s just a few pieces of grass which stick in your teeth and tickle your throat, making you cough and choke!)

WHEN SOMEONE OFFERS ME A SALAD

In fact, come to think of it, there are probably people who are NOT single who would not wish to share their Gastropub Fish Pie or Gastropub Steak Lasagne, but they are called ‘greedy’ (and they’d probably go for the side dish of Chunky Chips rather than the Wild Rocket, and the other person in their life wouldn’t even get a look in at the Profiterole Stack).

http://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/But I digress. How disappointed I was when I read the article in full and found that it was just a whiney piece by some woman who was bemoaning the fact that she hadn’t found her rock, her soulmate, her ‘yang’ to her ‘yin’, her Andy Pandy to her Looby Loo, her Simon to her Garfunkel, her Thelma to her Louise (I’m being fully inclusive here), and how the government is bleeding her dry because of that. She came up with one or two interesting facts, I have to say – there are more unmarried women alive today than at any point in history, apparently, although I’m not sure if this will still be the same tomorrow or the day after…

However, on the plus side, I find I’ve saved money because she says, on average, women spend £1,280 a year on dates. The obvious answer is – just don’t go on dates, you stupid woman!
Hah! Bet some of you thought I was going to make some obvious, sexist remark about how women shouldn’t pay on dates anyway – believe me, I learned my lesson on that a long time ago in Redditch (where I was working at the time) when my date paid for the meal but said I could choose the wine since I spoke French (logic?) then said he only drank Liebfraumilch (not my favourite tipple, as Beloved Believers will know). Not only that, when he drove me back to my flat and I politely asked him if he wanted a coffee – hoping he’d say no – he produced a LITRE bottle of Liebfraumilch from the back seat and said we could drink that instead. He got coffee.

http://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/To compound matters, as he was leaving shortly after (I made him drink his coffee very quickly), he gave me a goodnight kiss and said I was a very sweet person. SWEET? SWEET?? SWEET??? The LSG may be many things – all-seeing, all-knowing, all over the place, but SWEET??? Reader, I did not marry him…

But I have strayed from the subject again. There are times when I feel aggrieved because I have to pay a supplement for being single (hotels, holidays, that sort of thing) but they have not yet started charging a premium on single women drinking wine, and that is something for which I am eternally grateful… unless someone from the government reads this and thinks, ‘What a jolly wheeze! Let’s start a new tax for all those people drinking on their own, even if they’re happy doing that. In fact, let’s tax them even more simply because they’re happy being on their own!’ They’d make a fortune from at least three people in my family!
Have a good weekend, dear LSG followers. I shall spend it avoiding anywhere and anyone that offers me a glass of Liebfraumilch…
… and paying for my own meal.

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!

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