3 minute read
My friend Anthea and I are very well matched. Like me, she doesn’t drink, has a dry, sarcastic sense of humor, is a women working in the tech field, has a name that everyone gets wrong, and has travelled a lot. She started writing a blog a few years ago and inspired me to do the same. She’s also mildly neurotic about doing things well and in good time like me (sorry Anthea), which is a relief when making plans together and when I'm seeking advice on how to approach various things in my own life. Anyway, these are some but not all of the similarities between me and Anthea.
I went to visit Anthea in Edinburgh once, and as we were meandering around the city, we happened upon what seemed to be some kind of food festival happening in summerhall, which is a very large and beautiful building. We went in and hung around reception awkwardly for a few minutes before deciding that there must have been no entrance fee, and that we didn’t need anyone to tell us what was going on if we just went on ahead and saw for ourselves.
We carried on and as we passed through the corridor, we walked past a table hosting drink samples. We weren’t sure at this stage whether this was a public or private event, so we did some more awkward standing around-ing until a woman came and offered us a taster.
‘What is it?’ we asked.
‘Gin!’ she replied.
Oh well. We don’t drink gin*, or any other alcohol for that matter. So we asked if maybe we could try some of the mixers, and she was more than happy to oblige.
We carried on to first of many large, vendor-filled halls and were offered a selection of very fine gin samples at the next table. Blast! What bad luck, we don’t drink gin, or any other alcohol for that matter. Could we try some of your mixer?
Before long, we realised that we had accidentally snuck in to a gin festival, that should have cost about £60 each to attend. The tragedy of our total inability to take advantage of this occupied the forefront of our minds as we went from stall to stall tasting tonics, some of which were really lovely, and many of which were not. Although we didn’t pay the entrance fee, I think we did deserve some credit for powering through the awkwardness of repeatedly responding to hyper-enthusiastic sales pitches describing how:
'This gin, this gin, is the one you need.'
‘That’s great but we’re just here for the tonic, hand it over.’
Since then, gin has seen a surge in popularity, probably because me and Anthea were seen attending a gin festival and we hold an enormous degree of social influence. Inevitably, since then, Anthea and I have often shared links to upcoming gin festivals, saying ‘Let’s go!’. The joke has yet to grow old.
I recently suffered a 29th birthday, and received a gift so fantastic from Anthea that it reminded me of why she is one of my favourite people, and is the only person in the world who I deem worthy of accompanying me to a gin festival.
*I did drink gin once a long time ago, spent the whole night being sick, and never drank it again. I was much younger then, and the gin was acquired by my cousins and I from a press in my grandmother’s house located ambiguously between the cleaning detergent press and the alcohol press. It is possible that the liquid stored in the gin bottle wasn’t actually gin, but the association alone is enough to put me off gin for the rest of my days.