Last Of The Winter Wine

The fallow period between Christmas and New Year festivities is among us. It’s 27th December, the yuletide culinary smorgasbord appears threadbare which, in association with excessive imbibing of intoxicating liquor, necessitates a sojourn to the grocer for replenishments.

Big decisions ruminate around residences on this sceptred isle. Considerations such as whether to consume the confectionery remnants left within the Quality Street candy selection tub. These ‘stragglers’ laying unclaimed and unloved, with the exception of the populous’ minority who find chocolates filled with orange flavouring, Turkish delight and coffee more appealing/palatable than the majority.

These few days signal a calm spell following Christmas period’s metaphorical storm of over-indulgence, prior to a egregious denotative New Years Eve blizzard. A time where it feels like if we don’t turn down that last wafer thin mint, Mr Creosote-like, we’ll explode into a thousand pieces.

FootnoteMr. Creosote is a fictional character who appears in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. He is a monstrously obese, rude restaurant patron who is served a vast amount of food whilst vomiting repeatedly. After being persuaded to eat an after-dinner mint – “It’s only wafer-thin” – he explodes in a very graphic way.


Other conundrums befall us Creosote-esque beings post Christmas. Enigmatic notions such as whether to drink that sole bottle of mulled wine; the only plonk surviving the yuletide festivities.

If ever chez Strachan possesses mulled wine it’s usually a bottle received as an unwanted gift or tombola prize. Not a fan of this grape based beverage, I’d advocate this overly sweet tipple be avoided at any juncture of a calendar year. Yes, even when chestnuts are roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost nips at your nose.

Consequently, should I acquire a carafe of this excessively saccharin booze, I’ll always donate it to the next advertised tombola stall spotted in the local media. A strategy formed from the knowledge yours truly definitely won’t quaff this festive tipple and the bottle will merely take up valuable wine rack space.

I like a glass of wine as much as the next man***. However, I comfort myself in the knowledge as long as I’ve the discipline to refuse mulled wine, even when it’s the only drink left in the house, GJ Strachan can spurn accusations of being afflicted by drink problems.

*** – Unless the next man is teetotal. 

Incidentally, I’m aware scientists err more on the side of measuring trouble drinkers by the quantity of alcohol units quaffed per week, as opposed to how their resolve holds up when offered a mulled wine (MW) when the aren’t keen on the liquor. However, in the absence of not counting the units I consume on a weekly basis, I utilise the MW marker as an indicator as to whether my drinking has gotten out of hand.

Incidentally, I’m not naive enough to realise that donating a bottle of mulled wine is a foolproof method of ridding oneself of the unwanted beverage. It’s not implausible that if you or a family member visit the tombola stall who benefited from your donation they may win it straight back.

I recently had a angst-ridden Groundhog Day dream whereby I bequeathed a carafe of MW to a tombola. The turmoil inflicting event of my slumber visions being I kept winning the prize back despite re-donating the vino to the stall holder. A gesture backed with expressing sheer indifference in keeping the alcohol based trinket.

After repeatedly drawing ticket number green 189, the custodian of the ‘potluck stall’ constantly handing over the bottle, which in this dream I habitually donated straight back to him. As is the stuff of nightmares, though, even when I ripped up ticket number green 189, I dipped my hand in the tub still resulted in an identical number appearing.

Just prior to waking from my slumber I’d sussed the tombola stall proprietor had a ticket drum containing only hundreds of tickets numbered green 189; a fact going a long way to explaining why I kept constantly winning this bloody bottle of mulled wine,


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