A week of champagne flutes and popping corks.
Pink fizz at a book launch in the book-crammed downstairs of a West London second-hand bookshop. Bottle drained into my glass over and over. Followed by a fancy dinner I don't really remember apart from hot and delicious, hiccups, and lovely company. Then the worst hangover of my life the next morning. A curled up in a tight ball on my bed with my hair still soaking from a rather shaky shower kind of hangover.
Glasses of prosecco for a birthday after work and before I read at the poetry evening I'd been waiting for, held in the upstairs of a tavern. I was one of six children, reading with my five 'siblings' and our 'father'. The 'father' who used to teach me about homosexuality in British and American poetry of the 19th and 20th century. Now he has a Faber collection the colour of mint choc-chip icecream. My face burned to match my red trousers as I read, and I was told later that I was dressed like Katherine Hepburn. Audrey was always the Hepburn I was drawn to, but Katherine has a sharper tongue, and I'm starting to wish I was more like her; all barbed for protection and witty as hell. So my face was red, and my hand was blue, darker at the nails, stained by diluted biro ink from earlier in the day. Godiva Blue as the South African said. Well, I'm no naked woman on horseback, but I think I know what he was getting at. Romantic tragic heroine, with death at her fingertips.
Champagne after a confirmation, the service taking place in a school chapel in Brighton. The choir in school uniform, proud mothers in Hobbs and Boden. A sermon mostly about sheep, and I holding back as the congregation took communion. All the wine that has been blessed must be drunk, so the chaplain downed the last of it. I was shown around the old school, all grand and flash where robes would fit right in. Giant paintings of past headmasters lining the dinner hall, especially commissioned and bright, surreal, bold, reminiscent of those Soviat realism portraits. Then drinks on the lawn back at the house, with grandmothers in resplendent purple velvet, a salmon platter, so much asparagus, tomato garlic basil, pavlova, apricot cake, almond maccaroons, the richest chill-set biscuit and dried fruit dark chocolate cake that rivals my mother's chocolate mousse, and food babies. Gin o'clock and dozing to Countryfile with Matt Baker.