Category: alcohol

Learning to Live with Lockdown

It is months and months and months since I last wrote anything to help you cope with life and all its pitfalls, but even I, the Lifestyle Support Guru, could not have foreseen the arrival of coronavirus and the fallout from it. I hope you have all come through it safely, if not sanely. There is so much I could tell you (although it’s a little late to offer advice now) and I have made many discoveries during Lockdown (I afford it the importance of a capital letter because it completely changed my life, as you will learn).
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/As part of the change in our lives because of Lockdown, younger sibling and I have been watching much more television, even though the pubs are open again, and we decided to watch The Revenant last night because neither of us had seen it and we wanted to see if it deserved its Oscars. If you haven’t seen it and intend to, beware that there are spoilers!
What a tedious film! I thought the grizzly bear was more deserving of an Oscar than DiCaprio, who spent most of the film grunting and staring around him; at least the bear showed a bit of emotion as she tried to kill him for getting in between her and her cubs, although she wouldn’t really have come out of hibernation at that time of year anyway, but maybe I’m being picky.https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/ I suppose the scenery wouldn’t have been as spectacular later in the year when all the snow had disappeared (which it did completely in one scene, then reappeared in the next!). And as for the number of times DiCaprio got soaked through by wading across rivers or floating down rapids but never once succumbed to hypothermia – what can I say? And not a sign of septicaemia from his wounds – you only have to walk past a hospital in this country and you’re hit by it!
The director obviously liked scenery shots, particularly of tall trees – it was rather like a French film, but with lingering shots of the snow-covered treetops instead of heroines gazing into the distance (see my previous film review). I would also have liked subtitles all the way through, not just when the Native Americans or French were talking – in common with many other American films, I found the speech garbled and almost incomprehensible at times, although, admittedly, DiCaprio had a large hole in his throat, made by the aforementioned bear, which clearly made speaking a little difficult. But Tom Hardy seemed to garble at times and then at other times spoke in a clear English accent!
The film was described as ‘an immersive and visceral cinematic experience capturing one man’s epic adventure of survival and the extraordinary power of the human spirit.’ on Rotten Tomatoes. ‘Extraordinary power of the human spirit’ – you can say that again! I couldn’t have got through it without that power – and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc!
Watch it if you must! I shall stick to Carry On and James Bond films from now on, I think!

A Wet Weekend in Worcester

Original art by Joseph Morewood Staniforth (died 1921) - Western Mail (Wales), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6643053Hello, Beloved Believers! Here I am again, the Lifestyle Support Guru, fresh from my annual rugby trip with a few followers, this time to Worcester, which is a very nice place to visit, with lots of pubs and friendly people who were quite happy to let us eat and drink well after the time they were going to close – well done, Worcesterians, or whatever people from Worcester may be called.

However, not everything was perfect, starting with sibling’s choice of transportation for his change of clothing for the weekend. We have a range of cases and holdalls, from small to large, to cover all holiday eventualities, but his personal preference? A large, bright blue recycling bag with ‘GLASS’ printed in large letters on the side. I didn’t ask what he had done with the actual recycling …

We collected the Tiny Tyke and set off, arriving in good time and just ahead of the other party members whom I shall call Nigel and Ian for the sake of anonymity. This early arrival turned out to be very fortuitous because, somehow, Nigel – to be referred to as NN (Nigel the Nincompoop) from now on – had made a real mess of his booking. I shall try to explain this.

NN only had one job and that was to book two rooms – one for him, one for Ian; he managed to book three: two through the hotel chain’s central reservation and one through an agency – the LSG is still trying to follow the logic of that. On top of that, he booked them for the wrong date! One job, Nigel, that’s all you had! That was not the end of it by any means, though. He changed the dates – or so he thought – and offered one of the rooms to the LSG, who had not yet booked her allocation for the Derby Deputation. The offer was accepted and the LSG went on to book two more rooms for sibling and TT (Tiny Tyke). All’s well that ends well – or does it? It turned out that only two of the three rooms had been changed to the correct date and that the other one had been classed as a ‘no show’ for the previous weekend, so we were one room short. When I say ‘we’, I mean NN was short of a room… To cut a long story short, the LSG, TT and recycling sibling went off to the pub while NN and Ian the Intelligent tried to sort out the rooms. The story ended with NN having to check into another hotel, but that’s for another day …

glass of red wine

glass of red wine

What else did the LSG learn about Worcester? Well, I knew it was posh because it has a Waitrose, but this Waitrose has … a wine bar!! That’s a difficult decision – shopping or wine bar? Wine bar or shopping? It’s a little bit like baked beans and sherry trifle – both nice, but you wouldn’t put them together (well, you might if you’re the TT because he likes weird mixtures of food, but there again, he IS from Yorkshire). Even the LSG wouldn’t combine shopping and wine, much as she enjoys both – that way lies disaster and a much-depleted bank account!

There was much laughter and jollity over the weekend ( although most of it shouldn’t be repeated in polite company) and much quaffing of alcoholic drinks and I would recommend Worcester as a place to visit, but don’t – I repeat, DON’T – let the Nincompoop book your rooms. Let your mantra be: Leave it to the LSG!

Party Animal!

https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/Good evening once again from the Lifestyle Support Guru! I now regard myself as a REAL party animal. I have been to two parties in as many weeks, which is twice as many as in the past two years, so I feel that I am more than qualified to offer advice on how parties should be run should you wish to organise one of your own.

Party 1

This was a 50th birthday party for a good friend of mine who is just marginally younger than me, so I don’t wish to call her an ‘old’ friend. I’ll call her Sarah for the sake of anonymity. She started the evening well in the LSG’s eyes by inviting me and next-sibling-down to join her and her own siblings, whom we have known for many a decade – in fact, probably our oldest friends – for a pre-party glass or two of bubbles at her gaff since, as she said, we count as family. There’s lovely, as they say in the Valleys!
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/
Buoyed by the bubbles, we moved on to the local rugby club (where else would you have a party in Wales?) and continued with the celebrations. We all made sure we had a table next to the toilets – well, not next to, but very near, since advancing years mean that one’s visits to the toilets increase accordingly – but also withing spitting distance of the bar – well, not quite spitting distance, but close enough to mean that arthritic joints don’t have to be overused. Isn’t age a wonderful thing? 😊
All the birthday girl had to do was sit at the well-placed table and wait for guests to arrive and duly hand over their presents which were all of the alcoholic variety – can’t imagine why, since Sarah is a woman of meagre habits when it comes to alcohol. A distinct lack of imagination, I feel, on the part of her friends. I can’t remember what I gave her … 😊
The last I heard, she was talking about opening her own off-licence …

Party 2

https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/This second party was a new one for the LSG. It was described as a ‘drinks reception’ – such an event in itself is not a new experience for the LSG, of course, but it was being thrown by a three-month-old baby! I have a feeling this child will go far in the world. This is far better than those awful ‘baby showers’ imported from America where yummy mummies sit around in ‘rustic’ settings eating ‘artisan’ cucumber sandwiches and drinking fruit tea. How can that possibly compare to a choice of wines (specially selected by a qualified wine taster! – my heroine! Since she’s an ex-student, I like to think I played no small part in her choice of career, although I’m sure her mother and father will also have encouraged her to follow that path) and snacks such as samosas, brie bites, spicy sausage roll slices, radishes (yum, yum!), smoked salmon and cream cheese on cucumber slices, battered prawns …
The party started with a discussion with the baby’s Irish father about the upcoming rugby matches and who would win the 6 Nations – we were both very polite about each other’s teams – much to the baby’s grandmother’s relief, who had envisaged fisticuffs of some sort since she is a football supporter and that is all they understand. 😊 In fact, the conversation didn’t wander much further from that topic all afternoon!
A very pleasant occasion and the only thing that puzzled the LSG was the number of people who removed their shoes before going into the living room. It would have been understandable if they had been asked to do so by the hosts and if most guests had been wearing stiletto heels, but nearly everyone was of a ‘certain age’ and, therefore, wearing ‘sensible’ shoes. Even the younger element was in low heels. One person had even brought her own fluffy slippers – that’s above and beyond! The baby who was throwing the party behaved impeccably throughout and even earned a smile from the LSG, which is unusual, to say the least!
I can certainly recommend going to a drinks reception thrown by a baby – they know how to party! Don’t forget to invite the LSG! And if you enjoyed this piece of advice from the LSG, you may also enjoy Party Animal Aces It, Confessions Of A Party Animal, and The Party Is Over, though of course it wasn’t!

Confessions Of A Rugby Supporter

A very good evening yet again from the Lifestyle Support Guru! After being silent for so long, I now find myself producing another missive within 24 hours of the last one – a bit like buses, I suppose: none come along for ages and then several turn up at once!
As many of you will know, we are currently speeding towards the end of the 6 Nations rugby season and there is everything to play for!
www.lifestylesupportguru.comWhen watching the rugby, I like to watch it either in the company of a group of friends or at home on my own where I can rant and rave or cheer as loudly as I want, frightening the cat along the way. Today, I decided to watch the game on the big screen in my local, mainly because I knew there would be nobody else in to watch it – a) it’s a football pub and b) Derby was playing at home, so most would be at the game anyway.
I settled myself in glorious solitude at a table in front of the big screen and watched the first half undisturbed – apart from someone coming up halfway through the Welsh anthem to ask me if I would sign their passport photos!

And then, from out of nowhere, during the interval, a man came and set his drink down on ‘my’ table and asked if I minded if he sat next to me. I replied that that was fine as long as he didn’t speak during the game and he said he knew nothing about rugby anyway, to which I replied, ‘Well, don’t expect me to explain it to you.’ (this is called ‘Welsh hospitality’). You may have gathered that I’m not one for chitchat during an important game.
He settled himself down with his pint and a packet of Mini Cheddars. Within two minutes, however, he had gone up to the bar and bought another pint (the other one was still full) and two more packets of Mini Cheddars, this time in Branston Pickle flavour – I HATE Branston Pickle! Halfway through the second half, he went up to the bar again and bought himself another pint (he’d still got a pint and a half left from previous rounds) and 3 – THREE! – more packets of Branston Pickle Mini Cheddars! This man has a worse diet then me – at least I went home and had a hot meal (courtesy of the microwave, of course).
The game ended and ‘mystery man’ took it as a sign that he could now chat away to his heart’s content. Sadly, for him, I had finished my drink and was ready to go home. I left him heading towards some other unsuspecting patron while I wended my way to the microwave.
Everyone else gets the ‘nutters on the bus’ – why do I get them in the pub?? Good night!

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! 🍷📽️🚜🥖👩‍🌾