I’ve been on holiday in Winona, Ontario these past few days with my wife, staying at her parents’ house. It’s a bit of a shift from our red brick terrace in East Ham, London. Right now I am drinking a Jack Daniels Gentleman Jack from a plated silver chalice. If this were a lifestyle blog I would add a picture but it is better if you imagine the chalice. It is slightly bent out of shape and I could only half clean it (I ran out of Silvo, Brasso’s posher cousin) so it has dark patches of oxidization. It has some inlay on the handle (leaf patterning) and a circular base of around an inch in radius.
Gentleman Jack, by the way, is twice mellowed. They run it twice through the charcoal filter (the Lincoln County Process), once before ageing and one again after. It really is exceptionally smooth and can easily be drunk in large measures with no ice or mixer. Especially from a silver cup. I recommend it.
We’ve been driving around in Betty’s Pontiac Sunfire (Laura’s relative, who is over 90 and doesn’t drive any more). The Sunfire is aubergine coloured, purchased from Nissan Leggat, and automatic transmission. The suspension is pretty much shot and it doesn’t like uphill gradients anymore, but the tape deck works just fine and we’ve been listening to some old tapes – Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road and The Cranberries. In the Pontiac Grand Prix, my wife’s parents’ car, the only CD we have for the CD player is “Grammy Nominees 1996” (or possibly ’97). Coolio’s ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ and Alanis Morrisette’s ‘You Oughta Know’ have been on repeat along with TLC and Joan Osborne. Rolling up to the lights, window down, singing along to Coolio’s haunting paean for a gritty project life that is difficult to escape from was a particular highlight although it lost much of its effect as I was/am wearing a camel-colour duffel coat with wood toggles. No one else is dressed like me, right up the Lee Cooper high-tops with faux fir trim. I felt out of place browsing the Dad jackets and terrible golfing polo shirts in Sears, yesterday. The prices were good: they are unfortunately made for the wrong decade.
I wrote ‘CLEAN ME PLZ’ on the Pontiac while we were stopped over in Hamilton and I got a lot of shit for it. It’s hard to keep cars clean here as the road up to the house is a private dirt track. No one found it funny when we got back home and Laura had to wipe it off with a napkin. She refuses to take it to a car wash and the dirt trapped in the headlamps has run out, making it look like the car is crying and its mascara has run.
I have been writing the third installment of ‘B30’, my Michael Trilling short story series. It is nearly done and I will hopefully get it up on the Kindle Store soon for 79p, please do drop by and pick up a copy. Parts 1 and 2 are already up there.
As I write this I look out on the Fifty Cemetery. It’s right next to the house and a sobering reminder to drink up, drink up: it’s later than you think, friends.