Thursday 11 June 2020

Went The Day Well?

1) So, Sweden. Not only are people flocking to that country on account of it having kept bars and restaurants open throughout the crisis, it also has wine. I didn’t know this until a pal thoughtfully tipped me off about the Sav Winery. Apparently they make their stuff from birch sap, which, according to them, is an excellent source to make a well-balanced, crisp and fresh sparkling wine.’ Not only that, but, in in evironmentally conscientious way, ‘The birch sap is carefully harvested through small holes drilled in the tree trunk.’ It’s lightly sparkling and only 16. Beat that, Pol Roger!

2) Two bottles of my home-made muck still in the wine rack. I really must take a swig. I mean, if not now, when?

3) Three o’clock. Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do. An odd moment in the afternoon. Today it is intolerable. 

3a) So what would Sartre have drunk, in this state of unending global three o’clockness? I’m open to suggestions, but it seems that both Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir were not usually far from a bottle of vodka and both really enjoyed a party: ‘I liked having confused, vaguely questioning ideas that then fell apart’, Sartre said, alluding to the metaphysical playfulness which alcohol engendered. He also took amphetamines and psychedelics, but didn’t we all in those days?

3a) (i) Which still leaves the problem of the three o’clock drink implicit in Sartre’s famous quote. Yes, a cup of tea would be the sensible option but we’ve had three months of sensible. I’m sick of sensible and so is everyone else. Equally, I don’t want to uncork a bottle of dingy red (least of all my own, see 2) because by five o’clock I’ll feel like dropping down dead, even it’s a proper bottle, I mean, yes, one used to drink wine at three p.m. decades ago but then a lot of things happened decades ago, including dying at five o’clock. But, tea?

3a) (ii) But wait a minute. The Swedes! They’ve got the answer! Of course! A bottle of Sav 1785 Pétillant Naturel! It’s only 11.5%, which puts it only a shade over a strong glass of tapwater, so I can drink it at any time of the day or night. And it’s so wholesome, being organic, vegan, pesitcide-free, made using something they call the Méthode Suédoise, normally something you get from a physiotherapist, and bottled on site. You could sit around drinking fermented birch sap all afternoon and long into the evening without undue ill-effect. 

3a) (iii) But on the other hand it might just compound the ennui of three in the afternoon on account of its very Swedishness. I’ve only been to Sweden once and that was to Stockholm for a long weekend; which was nice enough although a tiny bit underwhelming. All those meatballs and lingonberries. I’m also told that the definition of boredom is the drive from Stockholm to Malmö but I don’t mean to complain about a country so broadly unfamiliar to me. I can merely see that a bottle of Sav 1785 might dig me deeper into a pit of Existential despair rather than get me out of it.

4) Didn’t it occur to Sartre that three o’clock was the perfect time to take a nap?

5) Coffee with a dash of brandy. A caffè corretto in other words. Three o’clock in Italy, in the old days, they’d just have finished lunch and be readying themselves for a bit of quiet time in the afternoon shade. Of course. I can see it now, the terrace with a broad-leafed tree at its centre, the dappled sunlight, the view over the drowsing valley, the insects buzzing in the depths of the heat, the deeper shade of the house and adjacent buildings, maybe a fountain playing not far off.

6) Sweden! I must have been mad!

7) I shall now lie down and dream about this. Bonne nuit. Godnatt. Buona notte. Good night everybody.


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