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Sobember

  Thu 7th November 2013

Day 7 of Sober in November. Do you bugger "feel better", "sleep better", "feel more refreshed" etc. You eat like a horse and develop weird food tastes, like those of a pregnant woman. The one advantage is that you do save money--except if you try to rejoin normal society, as I discovered last night. In The B---, two Ginger Beers (250ml each) came to £5.40. In another pub, soda water was £1.00.

Sod this for a game of marbles. Next time I fancy going out I'm going to drop six quid down the grid and go back in. It's quicker, you don't get cold walking, and it produces the same results.


I made up a fire in the front room and sat down with the computer. I became alert as I heard the stairs. The Moldovans made a bold entrance. Ionache was brandishing a bottle of vodka; both were dressed strangely, half zip-up outdoor nylon coats and long but flimsy shorts attracting too much attention to the regions of overlooking. Andrei apologised for interrupting me.

"Would you like to have a glass of fifty-one year-old vodka?" I heard him say, but it turned out he was saying that he wanted us all to have some vodka because it was Ionache's thirty-first birthday.

I explained that at any other time I'd love to, but I'm going sober for November.

It was a great evening, the best of ice-breakers. Ioanache went to the kitchen to find some shot glasses; I haven't got any, never needing them, so came back with an eggcup. We got through most of a bottle of vodka and some tins of Fosters. They taught me the Romanian for "cheers", and we passed the eggcup round repeatedly, the coarse but socially important throat-scrape of neat vodka, accompanied by some herring, feta and cucumber.

"You are a good man," said Andrei, repeatedly, in the friendly pan-Continental locution. "We will meet again--we will take you out. My bill, we pay everything. But you show us the best pubs. Maybe there is football? Next time, we pay everything. This is inside, next time, out."

"I don't know how is in your house, but this is your house, and we must respect. And in the house before, every week, we all go together to clean. All of us, we do everything. I show respect to you. It is your house. We keep our room clean and we all clean." It's alright mate, we're not that rigid about it.

They unwrap a huge supermarket pizza, and lay an entire packet of sliced chorizo over it. "Now is a true pizza." I offer baking trays but they say the cardboard base will be good enough.

"How much you think a week in Moldova, how much you think?" I prevaricate, trying to think of a figure which doesn't sound imperialistic. "I'm not... I don't know, I've never been." "Do not go to Chișinău without asking us first. One hundred pounds, one week--beer, wine, everything. That is all, and we show you Moldovan wine. Moldovan wine..." and he shakes his head, transported, wishing he had a bottle to prove his point.

Next morning, I discover the pizza has leaked everywhere and baked to black onto the most inaccessible rear parts of the oven, and it takes me forty minutes to clean it, using wire wool and anti-greasing agents strong enough to kill small birds.

12 comments

Comment from: smallbeds [Visitor]

Well, if you’re going to break a resolution, half measures are futile. Especially if you’re measuring them out with an eggcup.

Fri 8th November 2013 @ 08:48
Comment from: [Member]

It would have been a solecism of the highest order to refuse. They don’t know anyone in Lancaster, and it was his birthday. Had I refused, and then they’d seen me drinking with Trina or Ned or Tess, the atmosphere in the house would have been permanently soured. We need to all get on here, which is more important than doggedly sticking to a personal resolution.

It wasn’t even as if I enjoyed the drink. How vodka can even be seen as desirable is beyond me.

However, lapse I did, so as compensation, I am adding another day on, only recommencing drinking on 2nd December.

Fri 8th November 2013 @ 09:26

You made it seven days, which shows real heart. Your accented dialog is very effective. Too bad about the pizza. I think they had good intentions. How old are these dudes?

Fri 8th November 2013 @ 11:50
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks! They do mean well, I’m sure, and they won’t get the hump when I tell them to use baking trays next time. Everyone here is breathing a sigh of relief that we have normal, sociable, people in the house again.

Ioanache has just turned 31, and Andrei is a couple of years younger.

I hope you don’t get the impression I’ve given up. That was a one-night lapse for overwhelming and unavoidable social reasons; I’m back on the wagon now, till 2nd December.

Fri 8th November 2013 @ 12:03
Comment from: Homer [Visitor]

Ioanache is a great name. How’s it pronounced?

Fri 8th November 2013 @ 15:01
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Roughly – ee-yo-ahn-NAH-kay. Romanian/Moldovan form of Jonathan. Not his real name of course.

Fri 8th November 2013 @ 16:12
Comment from: Chef [Visitor]

20 minutes it took me to come up with a suitable reply. 20 minutes of which I can never get back. Gone….Vanished, never to return.

Do you think Ioanache & Andrei, the ‘possible’ butchers of Srebrenica took it?

Fri 8th November 2013 @ 16:41
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Botheration! The vortex of lost comments sucks once more.

Srbrenica? Wrong country, but birthday boy did receive an axe in the post the other day (I’m not making that up).

Sat 9th November 2013 @ 00:03
Comment from: Chef [Visitor]

Actually, I beg to differ. Moldova just sounds better than Srebrenica when you are trying to rent a room.

Nice axe.

Sat 9th November 2013 @ 14:39
Comment from: [Member]

nicely done, all the way around! you absolutely could not refuse the offer… even if they offered *before* they got the axe Chef sent in the post…

Sat 9th November 2013 @ 22:04
Comment from: [Member]

They have got the axe… :(
(contd. overleaf)

Sun 10th November 2013 @ 08:52
Comment from: Chef [Visitor]

When in Moldova…

Sun 10th November 2013 @ 09:21


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