Regular readers of the blog will know of the long-standing tradition of the cocktail hour – a weekly occurrence in which Karen would invite readers to place drinks orders on Friday morning and then basically spend her entire day using this to compose a funny and charming post. Obviously this is predicated on her not having anything more important to do with her Friday, so some years it’s happened more often than others, depending upon what her job was at the time.
Finding these cocktail hours posts can be quite tricky. You can use the cocktails tag, but that also turns up some other posts about cocktails, and only goes back as far as March 2013 (as we didn’t do any tagging before then). Or you can try searching, which goes back to April 2004, but this also has the flaw of providing some false positives, and also apparently missing some occasions when we didn’t use the word “cocktail”. And there are even earlier examples than that, but thanks to an embarrassing incident involving the entire site being deleted, they are hard to get to and the stylesheets are broken (UPDATE: I fixed the stylesheets!). But here’s evidence that it can be done! It took me about half an hour to find that.
Due to time pressures, Karen had to basically stop doing them in 2015. There was one in summer 2019, but other than that, nothing.
Back at the end of March we decided to throw a little online Zoom-based cocktail hour. It was, I think it’s fair to say, a bit of a success, so the weekly cocktails have been resurrected into a regular “sesh” which I think has been a pleasing salve during lockdown. Ten weeks later, and I’m thinking that we should be keeping some sort of record of this, so that when younger generations say “hey, Grandad Pete, what did you do during the 2020 pandemic?” then I can dandle them on my knee and say, weeeeeeelll, on the 22nd May we all got together and talked about the following items:
- Cheese. Approximately 20 minutes of discussion about cheese, including a heated debate upon what is and isn’t considered to be legitimate cheese. At one point Stuart nearly stopped himself in the middle of a story when he realised how spectacularly dull it was, but we all forced him to finish it anyway. Fluffspangle had a lot to say about cheese, as she always does.
- Beaches. Clair briefly showed us the sea view from her window, which induced a chorus of jealous groans, and we all agreed that the sight of the sea can do wonders for your mental state.
- Pissing in peoples’ gardens. The jury was unanimous on the verdict that when someone invites you to their house, then they implicitly give you permission to “water” their garden. While still on the topic of urination, we discussed the utility of a crinoline skirt in allowing one to carry their own portable vessel for collecting waste, while ensuring that your companions are none the wiser.
- There was a brief rant about people who can’t observe the 2m rule while out and about. It was a brief rant, as we’ve been able to mostly get this out of our system already in previous weeks. However, the Uborka Brain Trust did make another one of their startling discoveries, which is that the reason for people standing too close together in supermarkets can only be explained by a bending of the space-time continuum caused by the excessive gravity coming about as a result of all the
- There was also some fantastic punwork on display, man-of-the-match here probably being Lyle. At one point we were making electricity-themed puns, and I was able to say “What?” (watt) about six times before it stopped being funny. As Karen said, between paroxysms of laughter and glugs of bubbly, “You’re so funny when I’m drunk”
- Colour-changing goldfish. That’s what I’ve written down here. My memory’s a bit hazy here, but I think I recall a story about someone convincing their daughter that goldfish can change colour at will, and the daughter believed this until they were 21?
- The smell of smoke on your clothes. Gammidgy and Ms Gammidgy (let me know if you prefer me to use a different pseudonym here) were recounting how the smell of woodsmoke permeates her clothes after an extended period of re-enacting days of yore. Lori reminisced about her youth, when she was able to hide her smoking habit from her parents by dint of the fact that everyone’s clothes smelled of smoke after a night at the pub, whether they’d been smoking or not.
All of this in under an hour. If you missed it, then the die is cast, but you can at least endeavour to not miss next week’s as well.