On my way up to my room to watch a film on the lap top (while the rest of the family gathered round some fantasy action movie downstairs) I told Son. No.2, over my shoulder, that I was watching a movie about Dylan Thomas, the poet. “He drank himself to death”, I shouted. It’s a hard sentence to say without sounding Irish or Welsh. He giggled. I hadn’t meant it to be funny.
It was a beautiful and poignant film about a wondrous poet who raged. And drank. And raged. And drank. It made me think of a cousin. Our family has a weakness for booze. And a propensity for madness. Maybe every family does.
My grandfather was a heavy drinker in a time when to be so could be seen as romantic. Many of his sons were the same in an era where romance and booze were not seen through the hazy glow of romance at all. One or two went far enough to be alcoholics. Another Irish phrase comes to mind – ‘Oh but he’s an awful alcoholic.’
My cousin, a brilliant and flawed girl, drank herself to death. She really did. And broke my heart. I waited years for that phone call, unable to change her fate. My Dad rang me with the news. It wasn’t the first time I’d said the f-word but never was it more heart-felt.
My first drink was given to me at about the age of 14. By my much beloved Nan. Homemade elderflower wine. She was babysitting me. When my parents arrived home I fell off the stool I was attempting to sit on. Mum seethed silent rage. Anyone who does that to my boys would get more than silent rage. But this was the seventies, when anything homemade was good for you. My mother still labours under the misapprehension that cider is merely apple juice.
I have always been the worst party girl. In that I was completely rubbish at it. A few drinks away from loving everyone in the room. Conducting group hugs with complete strangers. Copying strange accents until the owner of them wanted to throttle me. I’ve woken up a few times wondering what had happened at the end of a party. Who had I offended? It’s not a nice feeling. And the mixture of the drink and bipolar (my particular form of madness) is neither a wise nor pleasant one.
Son No.2 again. He’s doing a project on Van Gogh. “He cut his ear off in a fit of madness.” He looked at me from under his lashes. “Don’t get any ideas will you.”

7 thoughts on “A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF

  1. Wow. … !!. … Well done you, I love it. A while back this wouldn’t have meant quite so much to me, but today I sorta get it.

    I’ve printed and posted a copy to a friend of mine, I can’t wait to hear his comments.

    Luvya gal! xxx

    • Thanks Julia! I’ve missed you! I guess you’re very busy with life and work. Thanks for you comments – my blogs don’t seem real until you comment on them. Love you too. Look after yourself and know you have done great things. XXX
      Are you writing? You have talent and it really does make sense of life.

  2. It was a fantastic film. It does make you stop and wonder about how we are all very flawed and unaware of it, when those flaws tip over into being an identifiable medical condition it can lock us in. Don’t ever be locked in, we are all a mess one way or another. You are so many really wonderful things. X

    • I have learnt to live with it, more or less. Two things came out it – my writing and I went to work on my self esteem (which previously was pretty terrible). All healthy on that regard now. Love you, Rosie. XXXXX

  3. Thanks, sweetheart! Yep I’m flat-out busy, so naah no time to write for me, any spare(??!) time is spent writing letters to a friend & taking heaps of photos to put in same to keep spirits up. I guess those letters will be interesting to read looking back one day …

    Take care o’ you & yours xxx

    • After moving over here 17 years ago I wrote to heaps of friends. Now not so much. But I do still write to one. Great huge weighty letters. Nothing like it. We should keep copies really. All the posh and famous people of letter writing did. Love JulesX

  4. Yeah, know the feeling. Nowadays all is jabbed briefly, or ramblingly as the mood takes, by email – when time permits, from both sides … oh, 6 months not heard back from you? ah well, guess you’re ok or busy or bored by me (also applicable both sides) … And in this tekonogical age (I sound like a dinosaur – probly am) even those regular letters I write & post right now with heapsa pics are printed from computer (so they’re all saved as long as my dusty computer lives) … The handwritten replies I get (no computer access there!) are so special in the mailbox at the gate … geez, might have to scan & save them 😉 xx

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