In the middle of this day, while picking out salted anchovies from a tiny jar to split and splosh onto a cheerful oval ceramic plate already full of cos lettuce, cucumber, cut up overripe baby tomatoes, Kalamata olives glistening in oil, three hard-boiled eggs cut up, leftover boiled baby potatoes artfully arranged in between, I had a craving for a really strong gin and tonic. And since the rather ridiculous (but I choose to believe well-meaning) ban on the sale of alcohol during the current stage of lockdown had been lifted, there was gin in the dresser, the sideboard really, with its drop-down door with squeaky hinges: a piece of furniture from my childhood, and a couple of tins of tonic in the fridge. So, of course, I poured myself a drink. In a fancy balloon-shaped glass, two chunks of ice, two dehydrated slices of blood orange, a double Gordons and a tin of tonic, and sat myself out on the little stoep looking out over the tiny back garden and tried hard to not feel guilty for having these consolations in the midst of this Coronavirus pandemic.
Day drinking turned into twilight drinking. I had a long bath as the day dropped down to night, a G&T solidly by my side on the rim of the bath, and now I’m having a third and last drink, thinking about setting up a first al fresco lunch/day drinking date. There will be Persian rice, and a fancied up Israeli salad, and a chunk of lamb on the Weber, and homemade falafel for the vegans and hummus and beetroot dip and a orange and pistachio almond flour cake for after and lots of sparkling wine and pink G&T’s and pomegranate arils and mint and sweet basil and lemons to decorate and flavour the drinks. Soon, while the jasmine out there is still flowering. We will start at midday, and end at dusk with the fairy lights I wrapped around the magnolia by the little fish pond coming on, and we may move inside and have one more glass of whiskey or wine and we will get my husband to play the sax and maybe a guest will go and fetch his horn from a car, and another, maybe a trombone, and maybe I and another friend will hum and sing along the romantic tunes called out from sofas and smiling friends filled up by such a day. Almost like how it used to be.