Well I couldn’t very well remain “The Rose Wine Lover” now that I’m teetotal, could I? That would make no sense whatsoever, even to a mind as random as my own; and so The Hairy Housewife has been born (regenerated?) from the ashes of my old life instead.
So… where exactly should I begin, under this new name? I suppose I ought to begin with the past weekend, visiting my family.
This was the first time I’d been away from home since my hospitalisation and recovery, so it was extremely tiring – but, as always, worth it. After we’d settled into our room at Hope Orchard (where we always stay) my Mum opened her house to us for stonebaked pizza with garlic bread, and drinks for those who wanted. I’m perfectly happy with tonic water and cranberry juice, but have no objections to the husband-shape having the occasional beer. Why should I? Besides, it is Christmas! My sister also dropped by, as we hadn’t seen each other closer to my birthday as planned – due to my health – and we do miss each other, living on different sides of the U.K as we do. Next year I’d like to plan a few weekends that are just about my sister and I, rather than trying to squeeze everybody and everything into one weekend (these visits will also, of course, encompass my parents).
My son is as well as can be expected; he still resides in the same residential college/unit as before, but will be transferred next summer when he is nineteen. He is to have an operation soon, which I would sooner not speak about now because the time schedule for this is not as yet in place. Suffice to say that he will be seeing an end to what may very well be an entire lifetime of considerable pain.
As you can see here, the weather could have been better (we were driving home at this point, but the entire weekend in Cheltenham had included temperatures of freezing or below). Thankfully I recently gutted my entire wardrobe due to my change in weight (it was truly amazing just how little there was of me hidden underneath all of that hideous, agonising ascites) and my new purchases include extremely warm and cozy jumpers, along with new jeans; I’ve not worn jeans for years because I was generally ill and uncomfortable and couldn’t stand to have anything buttoned across my stomach and it actually feels quite marvellous to be able to slip them on again.
Finally, on to the main question that I know you’ve all been wanting to ask:
What Have I Been Doing Since Being Teetotal?
Truthfully… not an awful lot. Mostly recovering, eating and regaining my strength (now sorely depleted again after the weekend, so much sleeping is currently on the agenda). I’ve been caring for my tarantulas, doing a little bit of tidying here and there, clearing my wardrobe and my section of the chest of drawers of unwanted/rendered useless clothing (and being messed about by time wasters on Freecycle as a result) and have even resumed my pickling hobby!
I am also making a return to baking, after at least eighteen years away from it. As a child I used to do a lot of baking with my grandmother, and have recently found myself missing her home made Welsh cakes, and a new-found love of cakes in general (which can be blamed on my Mother-In-Law). Hence the purchase of some books on baking (my Good Housekeeping Cook Book from 1987 doesn’t have recipes for anything my grandmother ever taught me!), an apron and a large stonewear mixing bowl; my grandmother actually gave me such a mixing bowl as a gift for my first home, but it was sadly broken in transit during one of my many house moves. Recipes for carrot cake, Welsh cakes, boiled fruit cake and a few other old favourites have been found online and printed off, and all that’s missing now is the ingredients, which I see no point in buying until I actually have all the utensils to hand – and books, of course; just because… well, because they’re cookery books and you can never have too many of those.
I have also discovered that I am not actually lactose intolerant as always believed – even that was a side effect of having a dodgy liver – and so I have taken to drinking hot chocolate before bed again. I am very much looking forward to baking my first batch of biscuits to go with it.
I have learned a lot over this past year – mostly about myself and my own body. I have literally conquered Death, come back fighting and reset my priorities. My interests have changed. I have changed.
And all of it is for the better. Contentment is in every waking moment now, and I feel blessed by my home, my husband’s heart and my wonderful family.
Wishing you all a wonderful festive season and new year,
The Hairy Housewife, AKA The Rose Wine Lover.