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Saturday 15 October 2022

A new(ish) privation

German and OK.
But sometimes...
I’ve raised this subject before and not found a satisfactory answer. When did I last do something new? Followed by the inevitable corollary: are novelty and old age incompatible?

Well there is something new except not quite. After the second op I was off-booze for a while. This led to my exploring alcohol-free gin, something I cannot recommend. Or only if you’ve never tasted alcoholic gin. A dreadful – perhaps laughable – letdown. Boozeless beer was better, and boozeless German beer better still. Then my personal Alcoholic Lent came to an end and I was back to the real thing from the South Wye Brewery.

But now I’m on blood thinner. A month’s trial, then a test, then - if all’s well – five months of pills with no booze. Every so often I visit the garage with its special racking; run my fingers over bottles of white wine, cans of cider, various beers.

And sigh.

Back to boozeless beer again. What’s different is the length of abstinence. Five months takes me all the way to Spring 2023, by way of a less-than-festive Christmas.  Those familiar with Tone Deaf will recall my upping the average price I pay for a bottle of red wine to £35. And, yes, red has accumulated.  These days I open a bottle, fill a shot glass to keep my taste buds active, and pour out the rest for VR. Who is careful not to appear too enthusiastic.

Other than those quick nips of red I do not intend to cheat. Advice about booze and blood thinner is distinctly minatory. Drink booze and the liver spends all its time processing the alcohol and ignoring the effects of the pills.

Periods of yearning come and go but I find clinging to life more persuasive. Anything else new?


  1. I am so sorry you can't drink wine. I have a glass of red wine with dinner every night. It never occurred to me that the liver would process the alcohol first. Interesting bit of body chemistry. Please take care there.

  2. Twenty-two years ago, I was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis and told to go on the transplant list as statistically, women of my age (then) with a similar diagnosis had a rapid decline of liver function. This was not what happened to me. Liver is healthy but now otherwise challenged by medications. I haven' t had a drop of alcohol since (and none of that boozeless stuff, yuk) because, like you, I was told that alcohol gets the VIP treatment every time we drink it, hogging the liver until the last drop has been metabolised before paying attention to anything else we may have eaten or otherwise consumed. Explains all hangovers, stomach upsets after xmas dinner etc.
    Anyway, I thought it would be hard but no. The only bother is that some people need explaining that I am not a dry alcoholic, although I don't always do that. It's fun to watch them checking me out.

  3. Sabine: As I say, the desire for alcohol comes and goes. But it doesn't manifest itself physiologically. More socially, which is easier to handle. Luckily booze is the basis of a million jokes and I can afford to be unserious about this change in my behaviour. After all, there's not much fun in sharing a room with drinking friends who are wondering if they should feel guilty about their imbibances.

  4. Replies
    1. Colette: Hey things could be worse. You could have entered a competition to pick hymns for my obsequies. And discovered you hadn't even got to first base, given that the settings all had to be English tunes, Just imagine the frustration.

    2. If I picked the hymns they would all be in Latin.

    3. Colette: Accompanied by Latin music? The rumba, the samba, the flamenco?

      The high school I went to (that failed to educate me) was pretentious to a degree. Thus when Christmas rolled around we never sang "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" but always "Adeste Fideles". VR, who went to a high school which did educate her, resents my singing this Latin version round the house. In those days I had an extremely absorbent memory and easily memorised all the verses. Here's the last one:

      Cantet nunc aula
      Die hodierna
      Cantet nunc aula
      Gloria, in excelsis Deo
      Venite adoremus
      Venite adoremus
      Venite adoremus

      Proof, if any were needed, that I am frequently sickeningly bad company when time hangs heavy.

  5. I used to be a gin and tonic and glass of red wine a day man. Never did like beer - too filling.. Then came a stroke (7 years ago) and I found that the blood pressure reduction medication (Lisinopril) gave me a slight feeling of being perpetually slightly drunk - but not pleasantly. (I have only been actually drunk twice in my life and felt dreadful each time - so to be ever after eschewed.).

    The result was that I simply stopped drinking alcohol, it wasn't an actual decision, it just faded away. I just, now, have no need of it at all.

    The same was with tobacco. I never smoked cigarettes, but had the odd cigar at Christmas and smoked a pipe for about 10 years in middle age. One Christmas I found I was out of tobacco and couldn't be bothered to go out and find some. Pipe smoking just stopped then, no decision again - it just faded away.

  6. Avus: I'm not sure I'd have been pleased by all these "fading aways". Might have thought they were were trailers to the main event.

    I got three major things right in my life. The first two were: choosing the right profession (which I practised round the world for 44½ years, getting better and better) and the right wife (the 62nd was celebrated a fortnight ago).

    Then, most mysteriously and still unexplained, some years before I had to give up booze and in a genuine Damascene moment, I chose to take singing lessons - a variation on what Faulkner called in his Nobel acceptance speech "creating that which did not previously exist". Look, these are just lessons, there is no further goal. But when V tells me to do something and I do it and get it right, the stimulation I undergo exceeds that I felt when I drank a glass of 1945 Richebourg (a very noble burgundy) and the aftermath is not nearly as destructive. And there's a further bonus: singing lessons also inform me about music in general; I now also know more about Beethoven piano sonatas and quartets, Sibelius symphonies, and Wagner operas.

    But where did that impulse come from? Vengeful Jahweh taking a day off?