Friday, January 1, 2010
Day 56: eating and drinking in the sunshine.
Today the sun came out again after two days of rain. In typical schizophrenic Christchurch style, it was a scorcher, dry and hot and burny. As you never know how long these sunny spells will last in this coastal, small island-ish part of the world, we made the most of the day. After a leisurely breakfast (involving chocolates) and some time spent reading in the sun, I, my Dad, my big brother Nic, sister-in-law Kate, baby nephew Rex, and an old family friend Mike, went on a sojourn to Sumner beach in search of fish and chips. We found them. They were awesome (go the kumera chips!). Interestingly enough, it turned out that Mike’s girlfriend works for some part of the government concerned with protecting people from the harmful effects of alcohol. I think her division was called something like “limiting harm”, which says quite a lot about alcohol and what it’s doing for us. Anyway. We had also made plans to have a barbeque out at the farm with one of my oldest and closest friends Jane, her family, and her partner James, so we headed back home to get things ready. Dad and I went via the supermarket (we picked up some ciders, some non-alcos and various other supplies, like cherries and lollipops), and Kate and Nic went via a winery, did some wine tasting and picked up a case. And then we made the food, our guests arrived and we had a wonderful time sitting in the sunshine sipping drinks, eating nice things and talking. Now as it turned out, not many of us were drinking alcohol. Jane is pregnant so she was on the juices with me, her mum said wine tends to send her to sleep or give her a headache so she wasn’t drinking, and James just isn’t big on booze. This made me think. The more I go on with this mission, the more people I discover who just don’t get into alcohol that much. Jane said that even when she is able to drink she usually sticks to one or two glasses at the most because of the effect it has on her. And lots of other people are just quietly taking a moderate approach to drinking. They’re not making a big song and dance out of it, and they certainly don’t see the need to blog about it. So what’s with me? Am I some kind of lightweight, making out that something normal and easy is hard? Have I just been rolling with an alco crew? Well interestingly enough, Jane’s dad is a volunteer on the alcohol helpline here in Christchurch. If his experience is anything to go by, mine isn’t the only crew with an alcohol issue. Lots of people are struggling with the stuff, especially at this time of year. What’s more, alcohol accounts for around 1,000 deaths every year in New Zealand alone. (That’s a lot more than the one death last year from the drug P that everyone’s so obsessed with down here.) So is anything being done to try and curb people’s consumption of alcohol? Funnily enough again, Jane and James both work in advertising with one of their accounts being the government alcohol and drug safety bit (I don’t know the proper name, as you can probably tell. Maybe it’s the same unit Mike’s girlfriend works for?). Apparently the next attempt to stop people drinking so much might be based around calories. Judging by the number of Magnum ice creams, chocolates, sausages, cherries, cheese, and chips consumed in this household over the past day, it’s probably lucky most of us weren’t drinking.
Posted by Claire at 1:05 PM