Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Noo Joysey

Back from the Good Ol’ US of A, after a fabulous holiday of sun, sand, sea and sauvignon.

Saving me from the inevitable ‘post vacational tristesse’ and among the barrage of grim or threatening correspondence, were a couple of cyber-gongs!
So, before I do anything else, I need to thank Akelamalu for this:

Mother at Large for this:

And The Good Woman for this:
Almost as important as the shiny badges (but not quite – I can be very shallow) were the kind words they used when ‘presenting’ the awards. Thank you all very much – I have already been toasting your future health and happiness! I know I am supposed to pass two of them on, but having been away for so long, I feel I have rather missed the boat – and everyone I would have suggested appears to have been nominated already!

Anyway, our family holiday was a fantastic trip. The flights were painless, courtesy of the in-flight films and interactive games. In fact, the boys spent the entire flight immobile apart from their thumbs. I have no idea if deep vein thrombosis is a risk for the under eights, but I did check them for bed sores.
We spent the first week in Bay Head, New Jersey, which must be one of the prettiest, most manicured towns I have ever visited. I don’t think there has been any crime there since an ugly incident two years ago when a feckless resident allowed his front lawn to become slightly overgrown. He was fined and probably had his membership of the Yacht Club revoked. I believe the public shame and humiliation forced him to sell up and move to a neighbourhood more suited to his slovenly habits.
Even the beach in Bay Head is sparkling clean and litter-free, since you aren’t allowed to eat anything while you are on it, and you can only take water to drink (which seems rather uncivilised). No-one locks the doors of their house or their car, because the town groans under the weight of so many ‘enforcement’ squads – law, traffic, beach. I knew without asking that topless sunbathing would be forbidden. There’s probably a ‘boob enforcement’ squad somewhere, ready to pounce on unsuspecting European sunbathers and cover them up with bandeau bikini tops.
Even if you told your whinging children to ‘run along and play in the traffic’ they would be safe in Bay Head, because all the traffic yields to pedestrians. There is even one road down which the residents avoid driving, because the local kiddies like to roller-blade and ride their bikes and skateboards on it. My children already suffer from the delusion that the world revolves around them. Staying in Bay Head just confirmed their belief.
Such a squeaky-clean place would have had me snorting with derision when I was in my twenties. Since the town doesn’t even have a bar, I would have seen no reason to stay longer than to sneer a few well-chosen insults about a ‘police-state’ before retreating to the nearest den of iniquity. But as an aging mother of three, I loved it and didn’t want to leave. Ever. It was like living in a Doris Day film, but cleaner and more wholesome.
H and I spent the week eating the local specialities - lobster, clams, oysters. Attempts to get the kids to sample these delicacies ended in the usual theatrical face-pulling from them, and mutterings about ‘casting pearls before swine’ from me. They preferred to gorge on those other local specialities - hot dogs and burgers. Even then, faced with the cornucopia of options (Tomato? Onion? Dill pickle? American cheese? Cheddar cheese? Swiss cheese? Lettuce? Ranch dressing? Blue cheese dressing?) they still opted for ‘just ketchup please.’ My irritation with them was soothed only after several glasses of a delicious Napa Valley Miller Ranch Sauvignon Blanc.
We drank some fabulous wines during the holiday, but they were nearly all from California (with the notable exception of a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Oregon). My ‘Friday Night Fizz’ was a bottle of Korbel Brut Champagne - a light and crisp Californian sparkling wine which is allowed to call itself ‘champagne’ without invoking litigation from the French producers.
Despite making (fairly illegible) notes of the wines we drank, I have only been able to find a UK supplier for one, so most of them will have to remain a distant but tasty memory. The one I can get here is a Fetzer Valley Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon (Ocado £7.49) which I am drinking right now, and desperately trying to recreate that holiday feeling. Despite its delicious black cherry and spicy taste, it just doesn’t have the same magic as it did when we were away. I suppose it must be similar to the disappointment of a holiday romance, when that waiter who looked like a sleek stallion in Santorini, just looks like a greasy gelding in Gatwick. Another glass, perhaps, and I might be able to rekindle the romance.

We finished the holiday with some time in Manhattan, but I need to sober up a bit and engage in some hand-to-hand combat with the laundry before I get the chance to write about that.


Frog in the Field said...

Dear Drunk Mummy, so glad you are home, I've missed laughing at/with your blogs.
I must confess I have only just finished all the holiday washing and we've been home 2 weeks!
I gave up bringing home drinks from abroad because like you, I've found they just don't have the same flavour once on British soil. The same goes for clothes. You buy those lovely Caribbean colours that look so cool and chic in warmer climates, but when you put them on at home they just look bloody garish.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

hurrah! you are back...I have to say the Bay Head place sounds really alarming, i'm sure everyone there is very tidy and would frighten the hell out of me. Very pleased you had a good time, as a swine, may I cast a pearl your way? The washing is an evil force for enslaving women, it will never be finished with you. Take it one day at a time, sipping and slurping wine as you go, and don't try to do it in one day. Washing. Evil. Remember that drunk Mummy. I note your use of the word Laundry...an over the pond-ism that you have bought back with you?! A bientot, Pigx

The Good Woman said...

Hurrah! You're back. Just before I leave...

I must admit that, as Glasgow, has me thinking 'police state' much of the time, Bays Head may well send me over the brink. But I am glad you had a good time and retrned sans bedsores or, indeed, deep vein thrombosis!

mutterings and meanderings said...

Welcome back, m'dear!

That place sounds like the film with JIm Carrey in, where he's part of a TV show but doesn't know. Sorry, braindead and can't remember what it's called!

Stay at home dad said...

Welcome back DM - you were missed. It rained, then there was sun ... Why is the Korbel allowed to be Champagne?

Tracey said...

Who cares about the washing... (and "washing" it should be, I agree!)... It's not like it's going anywhere - it'll still be there tomorrow! Whereas we are waiting impatiently for the rest of the holiday report! I can see I wasn't the only one who missed your charming wit, sparkling repartee, and wine appreciation in the context of motherhood.
(And yes! Why is the Korbel allowed to be called 'Champagne'?)

mcewen said...

looks like you were over here whilst I was over there! At least you missed the rain [I presume?]
Best wishes

sufferingsummer said...

Welcome home and congratulations,you deserve each and every accolade.
We used to live in the Willamette Valley and went wine tasting all the time...it is a treasure trove, glad you got to taste a bit whilst visiting.

DJ Kirkby said...

I.AM.SO.JEALOUS! Your hol sounds fabulous, so far anyway. Looking forward to reading about the rest once the washing is done.

Vanessa said...

Good to see you back and delighted that the new institution of Friday Night Fizz has gone transatlantic! Last Friday's was just prosecco but this week's such a nightmare so far that I can it being a Taittinger Friday in a couple of days (left over from the duty free).

New Jersey sounds nicer than I expected - all I know of it is gleaned from Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels....

rilly super said...

dear desperatestepfordhousewife mummy, awfully glad to see you back and if you couldn't leave you heart in san franciso it does sound very much like you left your liver in new jersey to make up for it darling. Ah yes, manhattan, lovely with a cherry on top, oh hang on, you mean there's a place named after the drink, blaardy hell I knew it was popular...

@themill said...

Ploody holl. More gongs than an Oscar ceremony, but I hope fewer tears than Gwyneth Paltrow.
So glad the holiday was a success, hope the liver is recuperating and good luck with the laundry!

EmmaK said...

So glad you are back. You are amazingly enthusiastic about the USA....I have lived here for seven years and have yet to reach the raptures of excitement that you experienced. Frankly, I am jealous. I obviously need to get up to New Jersey more often. Congrats on the awards!

Elsie Button said...

Drunk Mummy - it's GREAT to have you back! Yay! Bay Head sounds fantastic. I think I would have spent my whole time worrying about getting arrested for something, I don't know what.... kicking a dog perhaps?

Can't wait to hear about Manhattan.

Congrats on all the awards.

Drunk Mummy said...

frog in the field - ah yes, I am very familiar with that dysmorphic clothing syndrome - I have the same problem with my skin. I blame the light.

Pig - what a good way of looking at it. Are you also known as 'Piggy the Washing Slayer'?

good woman - (if you are still there!) it really was a great place - just with very high standards!

M&M - absolutely - The Truman Show.
It also reminded me of the opening sequence of Edward Scissorhands (H just looked at me blankly when I said that).

SAHD (and Tracy) - apparently after WW1, the Americans did not sign the part of the Treaty of Versailles which prevented other European countries from calling their fizzy wines 'champagne'. The US was still in prohibition, so it was felt there would be no need for them to sign that part of the treaty, as they couldn't sell any alcohol (oh yeah?).
This of course left the French producers to pick on the little Hereford and Somerset producers of Pomagne and Babycham instead (RIP for both those fine teenage tipples).

mcewen - yes, so far we have managed to dodge most of the summer downpours. They are bound to catch us at some point.

suffering summer - how wonderful to have lived in the Willamette valley! That wine was fantastic - I would have loved to try some more examples.

djkirkby - it was great fun. We may have set the bar a little high in terms of the kids' future holiday expectations, but I expect a few wet weeks camping in Wales will put them firmly back in touch with reality.

Vanessa - I have never read any of those novels - I will try and have a look some time.
New Jersey gets a bit of sneery treatment from some quarters, and doubtless, parts of it are grim, like anywhere else. But the part we were in really was beautiful, and the beaches were fantastic!

Rilly - sad to say, I didn't manage to drink a Manhattan in Manhattan. Maybe next time, (sigh).

@themill - I stocked up on my waterproof mascara, to avoid looking like a panda, when I did my 'Gwynnie' acceptance speech!

emmak - thanks! I have lived in the US twice before. The people have always been incredibly kind and friendly, which is why I am such a fan.

elsie button - thanks! There is probably a Dog Enforcement squad in Bay Head too. I didn't see any dog poo anywhere (unsurprisingly). Maybe the dogs are either potty trained or forced to wear nappies?

Drunk Mummy said...

Reluctant Memsahib contacted me to add a comment, as she is having problems posting from Wordpress to Blogger.
'welcome back. very funny, loved the face pulling over clams and the just ketchup when faced with plethora of exotic others, such as lettuce.'

reluctant memsahib - it's good to know that it's not just my kids who are 'food purists' - to use a certain euphemism.

Akelamalu said...

Oh great you're back!

Only water to drink on the beach???? What's that all about??????

Omega Mum said...

Many congratulations on your awards. All entirely well deserved. Like the sound of that wine. And at least you're not trying to recrate the magic of the duff liqueur that removes make up, lights barbecues and strips paint, yet had a strangely nuanced taste when the waiter set fire to it in that lovely little waterside restaurant in Greece/Tuscany/France

Drunk Mummy said...

akelamalu - I did wonder whether I might drink some water with a little cocktail umbrella in it.

omega mum - thanks!
I seem to remember such liqueurs are always lurid shades of primary colours. The warning is quite obvious, when you look at it in retrospect!

lin said...
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