Z opens envelopes

I’ve had a splendid idea – well, I think so.  Yesterday, I measured out 125 ml of wine into my glass,  to see how much that actually was.  I was pleased to note that it’s more than I usually pour as a measure.  So today, I did it the other way round.  13.5% wine has 10.1 units in a 750 ml bottle, so I did it the other way round and measured out 75 ml, ie one unit.  That’s slightly less than I usually pour myself, but not much.  Once I get used to the quantity and don’t have to measure it every time (my scales can be set to weigh in millilitres, I’m not having to use a jug), it’ll be a useful check on what I drink.  In fact, I reckon on a bottle of wine lasting three nights and often use a splash of that in cooking, which reduces its alcohol content, so I feel reasonably comfortable about the matter anyway.  I can’t promise not to have the occasional liver-pickling session of course but, apart from that splendid New Year’s Eve party, I’ve only once come unstuck since Russell died and I didn’t drink that much then, I don’t know what happened but it hit me dismayingly hard and I woke up on the bathroom floor at midnight, having not quite dared to go straight to bed, with a sense of shame and a resolve not to do that again.  One learns more from failure, as we tell our students when encouraging them to take risks.  And yes, I know it’d be a good idea to have a couple of nights a week when I don’t drink at all, but frankly that’s not realistic.

i went to a Nadfas lecture today, on the painting of the Sistine Chapel, which was very interesting and splendidly delivered.  As I went in, one of the committee greeted me warmly but rather too sympathetically and a lump rose in my throat – yes, I’d had to pluck up a degree of backbone to go, but not that much and I’d had a couple of brief, smiling chats already.  There’s a fine line in regard to the best approach and meeting it head on is quite all right, except that four months on, maybe a cheerful “lovely to see you, hope you’re doing okay” is a bit more tactful in a roomful of people.  One the way out, I spotted another friend and didn’t catch her eye, I wasn’t equal to the possibility of more sympathy.

The local cyder club is having its annual wassail party and, because it’s on the eve of Burns Night, they’ve decided on a Scottish theme.  The combination of rotgut cider and haggis is too much for me and I’m giving it a miss this year.  The Yacht Club is adding a piper and poetry to their bash the next night – sadly, though I’m rather fond of Burns, I’ve never been anywhere where they’ve piped in the haggis and I never intend to.  I have no idea how it’s come about that a dish of offal and oatmeal is treated with more ceremony than the magnificence of English roast beef, but people can take pride in strange things.  I don’t mind haggis, but I’d never actually choose it from a menu.

The accountant has sent me my tax returns for the year.  I haven’t opened them yet.  That’s the job for tonight, along with a form from the Inland Revenue to fill in, to work out my new tax code. I just have to open three envelopes (yes, that’s how many tax returns to be filed this year: yes, I pay a lot to my accountant) and check figures and sign my name, look up some figures and fill in a form.  I can do that.  It’s not as if it’s difficult, it’s – oh look, I’m just going to open the damn envelopes and find out how much I’ve got to pay.

Oh! This is a low payment year – because of the odd way that the self-employed tax is dealt with, I always way overpay one year and don’t have much to pay the next.  I’ve got less than £1,200 to pay.  I’ve saved up masses in preparation and most of it isn’t needed.

 I have fish for supper and have put a potato in the Aga to bake and picked some Swiss chard.  I will have another glass of wine, in the happy knowledge that I don’t drink more than is good for me after all.  Or not often, anyway.



7 comments on “Z opens envelopes

  1. sablonneuse

    One bottle of wine lasts three nights? No, that’s not excessive; just about right I’d say. In fact, according to the French it’s very good for you!

  2. Z Post author

    I certainly can drink more, with pleasure but, particularly when I’m on my own, I think some self-control is a good idea. I’m quite small so it’s more concentrated.

  3. 63mago

    Caramba, you have strong wines there ! In a week I drink in average two beer (that is one liter), and always look for something “special” or different – there is a nice shop that has a lot of various sorts. Wine – this depends on my whim, maybe it’s a cheap white Italian from the supermarket, or I go to Ludwig and buy a bottle of local wine (he makes a good Silvaner !), also white. But it is rare that I have alcohol on more than three nights a week. I am careful to avoid Riesling, it makes me awake, and the strong reds I preferred ten years ago are no good for my stomach these days. (If I could, I’d happily pay a visit to the Bordeaux area now, eine Weinreise …)
    It really depends, I think one has to respect all the work that goes into a bottle of good wine, and to do it justice it needs a bit of concentration, less distraction. When I simply want to have a light buzz a bottle of Austrian “Heuriger” or a Veltliner is good enough. They usually come with ten percent alcohol, and a third glass is no crime then. Self control is it, after all we deal with a drug. The ancients mixed their wine – and they spiked it too – and I always have a glass of cool water next to the wineglass, so it holds a bit longer.

  4. Z Post author

    Wine has got stronger over the past few decades, it’s often remarked on. I don’t know how strong English wine tends to be, I don’t have any in at present. I’ve just been browsing through my wine rack – the least strong is a Portuguese Vinho Verde at 11% and the strongest is a Spanish red at 14%. Most of the French wine is 13% – 13.5% whether red or white and the Italian reds are 13% and the whites 12%. I’ve only one bottle of German white, which is 12%. Also Chilean, New Zealand, Australian, all in the 12% – 13.5% range. If I want less alcohol, my best bet is Prosecco at 10.5% but the one bottle of champagne I have at present, a Pol Roger, is 12.5%. And I’ve remembered a case of very nice Bordeaux that Russell was given in exchange for a valuation (he didn’t charge, but he was given it as a present later) and that’s 12%!

    Too much information, dearest?? 🙂


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