Posts Tagged ‘Wine’

We met at 16. She was the foreigner, the stranger from Buffalo, New York, USA. She’d crossed the world and ended up in our little town. I was the enthusiastic sixth former, hoping for (but at the time unaware of) the opportunity to go on a similar adventure of my own. We became friends, and shared a great year. I remember the day Betsy left. Another friend and I got up early, and headed to the airport of the nearest city, ready to farewell her. January 1980: It was a gloomy morning, reflective of all our moods. It took 20 years for us to meet again, this time in Florida, in February 2000. I met her husband, and we found again we had a lot in common.

We didn’t have to wait so long for our most recent reunion. This last week, a mere 12 years since our last meeting, Betsy returned to New Zealand for the first time in 32 years. It was her husband’s first visit here. They arrived in time to sit down, with a glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc, and check the US election results. They were happy, we were happy, and we proceeded to have a good couple of days together. I showed them Wellington, and besides the bitter chill in the air (freezing to Floridians), the harbour city put on a good day. Yesterday we ventured over the hill to the Martinborough wine village, and tasted some wine and ate lunch amongst the vines. We laughed at the occasional linguistic difficulties – accents, and terminology. Translating rocket to arugula, and explaining fritters, learning about hush puppies (I thought they were shoes). The sky was blue, unmarred by clouds, and the sun – thankfully –warmed the bones of the travellers and residents alike. Today we said good-bye, making plans to meet again – perhaps in five years or so, and perhaps somewhere like Napa Valley, where we could indulge our shared interest in wine. Before we get out the Zimmer frames at least!

It was wrong that we had both turned 50 this year. We still felt like the teenagers we were when we had met. She at least still looks like the teenager I knew. My first US friendship. Not my last. And now there’s Craig too. But I am counting on my friendship with Betsy being the longest.

At times though I feel I have too many far-flung relationships. They take a toll; missing people who were, no … are, an important part of my life (whether I’ve met them yet or not). Yet they bring great joy too. I hope you all know that.


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The day after

Women who drink one to two drinks of wine per day have higher levels of bone density that non-drinkers or heavy drinkers.  Not drinking for even two weeks triggers an accelerated deteriorating of bone cells.  This is good news for middle-aged women; a group in which I now undeniably belong.

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Any excuse for a drink

Autumn is in the air. It is indefinable, but we know it is there; we can sense it, feel it, see it, smell it. All told we haven’t had a bad summer this year – one that started early, and whilst it hasn’t been overly hot (though I maintain that 25 degrees in Wellington is hotter than 25 degrees anywhere else), warm days have continued into March, and we’re hopeful they will continue on into April. That said, we know the end is nigh. The temperatures have dipped a few degrees – and in Wellington, that can be the difference between basking outside, and feeling a slight chill in the air. And so, on a warm day like today, with sun, blue sky, and a gentle breeze, I want to make the most of the remaining good weather. I know my elderly neighbour, a former Symphony Orchestra cellist, is doing so – I can hear the strains of Bach drifting down through my open window, along with the happy sounds of his laughter with a friend.

I of course want to toast the good weather and enjoy a drink on the deck with my husband when he gets home from work. Strictly speaking though, we shouldn’t. It is Monday, and – in an effort to avoid becoming alcoholics, and to lose a bit of weight – we try not to drink on Monday nights. But how many more Monday nights on the deck will we have left this summer? Who knows how many months it will be before we can sit outside and enjoy a glass of summer wine again? It could indeed be the last of the summer wine. We shouldn’t let that pass us by.

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