Know what February’s famous for, apart from Valentine’s, that is? Belt-tightening, that’s what. All those impulsive credit-card buys before Christmas have finally caught up with you and you’ve come back down to earth with a very broke bump. But you don’t have to sit on your own crying into a glass of water. Cocooning is out this year and socialising is back in vogue, and that doesn’t need to translate into big restaurant bills and rip-off wine lists. You can still party with the best of them; just make a few clever little economies, starting with having friends over to your place instead of going out. It’s still great weather for eating on the verandah and you can throw together a summer salad that’s looks sexy and tastes gorgeous without spending a fortune. Braai chicken instead of porterhouse and fill up on pap and baked potatoes, washed down with oodles of cheap wine. There are plenty of bargains around that taste a lot more expensive than they actually are and if you want to be really cunning you can decant them and pour them from a carafe. Then sit back and smile while your superannuated winey friends try and guess what they’re drinking which can stay a secret between you and your bank manager.
Encourage your friends to rotate the venue and if everyone takes a turn and also brings something along to contribute to the supper nobody will feel the financial pinch and you still get the chance to chill out, skinner with your mates and be a wild party animal.
‘Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to trip’. Comes from a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge called The Rime of The Ancient Mariner which we had to read and remember at school. I could never work out why it didn’t say ‘but not a drop to drink’ and why ‘rhyme’ was spelt wrong but I guess it’s what’s called poetic license. Either that or bad grammar and plain ignorance!
Round here it’s more a case of ‘cattle, cattle, everywhere, nor any milk to drink’ cos we’ve got cows for Africa but basically no dairy industry. Odd, that. We send our beef south of the border and they send us up milk, cream, cheese and yoghurt. And don’t be fooled if the label mentions Botswana ÔÇô that’s just where it was bottled. It was definitely de-cowed down south. Now I don’t know about you but I have calcium issues and I drink a lot of milk. I’m also a bit fussy as far as that sort of thing goes. When I’m feeling flush I splash out on organic full-cream from Woolies and I wish they were still allowed to bring in their Ayrshire full-cream. Yes, it costs a tiny bit more than the other stuff but it’s better quality milk and comes from better quality cows. Also when you could buy those squashy plastic bags of the stuff it actually worked out cheaper. Course you can still get their low-fat or fat-free and that’s also Ayrshire so if your clothes are feeling a bit tight and you’re beginning to regret all that festive overindulgence might I suggest you start getting your body back into shape and give your taste buds a treat with a glass of the good stuff? Bottoms up!