My relationship with G&T did not get off to the best of starts. My Aged Aunt Leonie and I were having a lazy day at home in front of the telly enjoying an As Time Goes By marathon. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105943/ Jean and Lionel, the lead characters in this charming BBC series and played by the incomparable Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer, were rather fond of G&Ts and after seeing another one being enjoyed by Jean and Lionel, my Aged Aunt felt compelled to visit the local drive-through grog shop to purchase the necessary ingredients so we too could enjoy a G&T.
My first experience of G&T was definitely not a case of love at first taste. It was a taste sensation akin to drinking orange juice immediately after brushing your teeth: a most inauspicious beginning. However, I felt I should give G&T a chance. If Jean and Lionel loved G&T, there must be something special about it. Over the next, I can’t remember how long, I got to know G&T slowly and tentatively, one sip at a time, until one day, finally, it happened. G&T was suddenly the most delicious beverage I had ever tasted. Well, with the exception of Masters Choc Milk, of course.
Our relationship went through the traditional intense and passionate cannot-get-enough-of-each-other stage. We spent evenings at The White Horse or Chequers with Jayne and Adey, the blissful effect of G&T on my psyche leading me, for example, into Tower Records for DVDs to play in the DVD player I had yet to acquire. I can’t remember the number of times I awoke the following morning to find the telltale yellow Tower Records bag on the floor next to my bed.
Unfortunately, G&T had a tendency to make me forget important things like the Chinese take-away across the road that made the yummiest king prawn fried rice being closed on Monday nights and, therefore, the effects of too much of G&T’s company had to be [inadequately] absorbed by three or four pieces of vegemite on toast instead. Don’t get me wrong, I love my vegemite on toast, but calming down after a night with G&T required something more than this humble carb and spread could provide.
There were the occasional snags in our otherwise blissful relationship. I can recall only a few moments of clarity on this particular journey home after a night with Jayne, Adey and G&T. I remember thinking that the fountains at Somerset House were much better than the trickles that the Powers That Be at the Royal Academy of Arts called a fountain. I remember thinking buses took their “bloody sweet time” in coming as I waited and waited for the number 188. I remember looking out the window of the bus as we crossed over Waterloo Bridge and sighing with happiness at the best view in London. As we came to the Elephant and Castle roundabout, I remembered it was Monday – no king prawn fried rice! And then, I was sober. I was sitting at a bus stop and in my hand was a half eaten kebab that I had purchased from a shop on my bus route that I had always thought looked like the best place in London to pick up a violent dose of food poisoning. The remainder of the kebab was deposited in a nearby trash receptacle and I stumbled disgusted and gagging onto the bus.
As it turned out, I was wrong about the food poisoning. Fortunately the dodgy kebab only had a rather vigorous effect on my bowels.
The period of passionate overindulgence subsided and G&T and I now have a more grown-up relationship. The days of not being able to get enough of G&T have been replaced by the happy contentment of a long lasting love. Coming home and enjoying one perfectly prepared double G&T on ice with a slice of lemon, blissful. Yes, I may enjoy the occasional glass of wine or a summery fruity pint of Pimms, but my heart and taste buds will always belong to and yearn for G&T.
Ours is a love that will last forever.