Day 34 – Stash news

Yesterday: another day of lockdown, another day of not touching The Stash.

Well done, me.

The Stash is the household alcohol supply – specifically my half of it. We’re not permitted to buy alcohol here during the lockdown, so it’s a case of making what you have, last.

My wife and I generally drink different stuff, so we can effectively divide the adult drinks into hers (gin, white wine, cider) and mine (brandy, red wine, beer). And we’re lucky in that I saw the lockdown coming and stocked up a bit before it hit us. We’re still ok for drinks at the moment, but it is a one-way street, because there’s going to be nothing new coming in for really quite some time.

I’ve realised that I have taken something of a scientific approach: subconsciously analysing my drinking habits, while (equally subconsciously) grading the drinks I have left. Some sort of informal scale has been drawn up mentally, and I refer to it often.

An aside: it’s interesting (to me, at least) that one starts drinking the decent brandy first, leaving the rough stuff til desperation strikes, while the “everyday” wine takes a hammering long before you contemplate the nice stuff hidden at the back of the cupboard under the stairs.

My first worry is beer though. I like beer and there’s not too much left. And so, by the laws of scarcity, every single one becomes more valuable: something special, not to be wasted. Add that to their already inflated value on the subconscious grading scale, and you can see that they need to be looked after.

Problem is that the first one each evening goes down like the proverbial homesick mole. Whoosh.

There’s a South African expression:

n boer maak ‘n plan

Literally, “a farmer makes a plan”: something about the indefatigable nature of the Afrikaans farmer, sure, but with an element of “necessity is the mother of invention” as well.

My invention is to replace my first beer with a cheap brandy and coke. Yes, the cheap brandy (I’m using Olaf Bergh, named after the noise you make after drinking three of them) is part of The Stash, but it’s a very minor part – way down the list from the heady heights of Castle Milk Stout. And it’s backed up by more cheap(ish) brandy in the form of two unopened bottles of Klipdrift Premium still safely sequestered.

It’s not great, but since it goes down like a fat kid on a see-saw anyway, there’s not too much afterburn. Immediate thirst quenched.

Not only does this mean that I don’t wastefully use up a first beer, it also means that I can’t have a second beer either – simply because I haven’t had a first. And thus The Stash remains in (relatively) good repair. Brandy and coke certainly wouldn’t be my first choice of beverage in any other situation, but if I were in fact a boer, it might well be, and that little bit of synchronicity makes me happy.

Tonight is pub quiz night and so I will require some actual beer, but that initial hit will once again be from Olaf, the previously unsung superhero of the lockdown.

Please join me in raising a glass to him this evening. What you fill it with is up to you.

Day 33 – I’m not your dog

OK, so a music post, but one with a bit of a story, at least.

I was listening to the radio last week – something I’ve been doing a lot more of during lockdown – and on came this song with some French lyrics in it. Now, the majority of the song was Baxter Dury languidly describing some bad event in his love life, coupled with an addictive little keyboard synth strings riff, but then there was this French bit. I was hooked, but the French had me a little stumped. Initially, at least.
I often joke that I can speak just enough French, German and Afrikaans not to get by. This time, I managed immediately to identify:

Ce n’est pas mon probleme.

It’s not my problem.

But then things went massively astray, because I thought I heard:

Je ne suis pas ton chien.

Which translates as “I’m not your dog”.

wut?

Now, I could remember Madame Clarke telling us that when we were doing listening tests in French, you could give yourself a little advantage by looking at the hypothetical situation and thinking what might be being said. It’s all about context. For example, if you are in a supermarket and you are asking where the wine section is, the assistant is unlikely to tell you that the trees in Morocco are very green at this time of year. Unless you’re both spies introducing yourselves to one another. But that was never a thing in GCSE French.

Maybe it should have been.

Applying that advice to this situation, I really didn’t think that Baxter would be telling someone that he wasn’t their dog. I’ve listened to a lot of bitter, heartbroken love songs* in my time, and this was a sentiment that I’d not heard expressed before.

So that clearly couldn’t be it.

But that’s what it sounded like.

And guess what?

Brilliant song (best of 2020 so far, IMHO), brilliant single shot video as dawn breaks over Benidorm. And yes – Baxter Dury is not your dog.

I’m well aware that Je ne suis pas ton chien is hardly higher grade French – you probably conjugated être and did pets in your very first term.

But hearing something over your shoulder in a foreign language while you are cleaning the dishwasher [#glamour] and having the confidence to stick with your original translation despite the clear lack of context, [several] years after your last French lesson?

I’m happy enough. Happier than Baxter, certainly.

 

* far too many actually, now I start to think about it. [sad face emoji]

Day 14 – Deep Clean

To be honest, the living room and dining room (ok, it’s actually just one room) weren’t dirty. But we do have two kids and a dog, and a large sliding door which is open all day every day in the nice weather. So yeah, I can see where a bit of muck might have got in.

I went at it with some enthusiasm and managed to remove basically a whole garden’s worth of dirt and dust, and at least two beagles worth of beagle fur from the house. I honestly cannot believe that we were living with that.

And yes, I still fully support my assertion that that bit of the house wasn’t dirty, but paradoxically, it does look cleaner now. For a short while, our place (or at least one big room of it) could have taken pride of place on one of those fancy house shows. Until the beagle trailed some grass clippings in from out the back, at least.

Later today, I’m going to pave over the garden and maybe the beagle as well, and I think that will make a big difference.

In other news, spring cleaning is great for your Discovery (health insurance) points. OK, so I did do a little workout yesterday evening as well, but I managed 16,000 steps and I (quite literally) didn’t left the house the whole day.

Again.

Day 12 – Still ‘togging

In case you had forgotten, I’m still sharing a photo each day of the lockdown.

You can see them here.

Today’s image is from an impromptu sesh yesterday afternoon, once the kids had finished their schoolwork and I had done the washing and cleaned the house.
I’m writing this post yesterday evening, and I’ve set it to publish a couple of hours later than usual today so that I can upload the image to Flickr tomorrow this morning so that you can see it when you’re reading this. (The Flickr one is different to the one below.)

We (the kids and I) played with some oil and water photography: a flat-bottomed dish suspended by some books (and a couple of cartons of UHT milk) above an iPad with some bright images on it. I reckon I got three half decent(ish) shots, post-editing, one of which I’ll pop into the album linked to above, and the other two I’ll at least stick onto Flickr if only to see how much better I get when (if) I try this sort of thing again.

All in all, it was a reasonable success: and another hour of lockdown boredom killed before some Minecraft (the boy wonder), a class Zoom call (the girl wonder) and some exercise in the drizzle for me.

As far as entertainment goes, it was completely immiscible.

Day 10 – Quiz advice

Double figures!

Well done, us!

Whoop!

Meh.

 

One thing I have managed to do while we’ve been on lockdown is a bit of quizzing. I’ve done some live quizzes on Quizando, I’ve played the old quiz that I used to play back in the UK (because he’s had to move online as all the pubs are shut), and I’ve been enjoying Jimmy Carr’s The Little Tiny Quiz of the Lockdown on Youtube.

10 questions every evening at 6pm UK time (that’s 7pm CAT), with the answers 2 hours later at 8pm UK time (that’s 9pm CAT) (although if I had to tell you that, you’re probably not going to do very well).

Less than 10 minutes per evening, all in, and there have been some cracking questions for pub quiz addicts. And amazingly family friendly as well.

Here are the Day 1 videos for you to try, first of all the Questions:

And the Answers:

I’ve just finished Day 6, and I’m doing pretty well. And this is just for fun: no prizes here, so no point googling or cheating or whatever – just enjoy it.

If you’ve got any decent quiz ideas while we’re all stuck indoors, please leave me (and with me, everyone else) a comment on the 6000.co.za Facebook page.
There is always space in my life for more pub quiz goodness.