When I first met my husband we had both had come from different paths in life, I had been married for 22 years and didn’t really know a life without everything being shared, his was very much single minded…and maybe not so used to thinking of someone else. Neither was the right or wrong way to be, they were just different.
What we needed was a hobby, something that we both enjoyed. Something that was new for both of us. I can’t really remember how we got onto it but we decided on Gin Tasting….and I’m glad we did.
So what started with a bottle of Blue Sapphire Gin and thinking that Fever Tree was being adventurous with the tonic is now a collection of over 100 Gins, and as many different tonics to go with them, and a bar in our garden room.
Ok, so some may say that’s just an excuse to drink, but as a hobby it was all about the flavour, and mixers. When I was 18 years old Gin and Ginger Ale was my drink of choice, but at that time Gin was really an old ladies drink. Fast forward 30 years and there are as many different flavours of Gin as you can imagine.
We started going to Gin Festivals, joined the Craft Gin Club and so our little collection grew and grew. Whenever we were out it was about we were always on the look out for new flavours. I don’t want to be a gin connoisseur, I just want to enjoy what I drink! The first Gin Festival we went to was at Blackpool Tower, so in true form we danced on the famous Blackpool Dance floor holding our Copa Glasses ….well very quick little dance but I can confirm the floor was definitely bouncy.
20 mins from our home is the picturesque village of Haworth, home to the Bronte Sisters, and once a year venue for the Haworth Gin Festival. 10 mins away is Oakworth Railway station, part of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway where The original Railway Children was filmed, oh and also has a Gin Festival each year. As hobbies went this one was really fun!
For a wedding present my husband gave me engraved Gin Glasses, and when we went on honeymoon we flew from Gatwick Airport which at the time we visited was home to the worlds first airport gin distillery – The Nicolas Culpeper. Just a quick word of advice if you get chance to visit….allow plenty of time to sample the delicious food and gin cocktails.
So when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer the following year, I decided the Gin had to stop. Its not that there seems to be any hard and fast guidance on what was right or wrong, I just wanted to give my body the best chance to recover and also I was tired of the arguments that we used to have after one too many. I was desperate for answers and this was one thing that I could control. It did however take us a few months to cancel the monthly Craft Gin Club delivery, and even then we just reduced this to quarterly.
18 months later, and all the invasive treatments have finished and I am tentatively having the occasional Gin again. This time I’m very choosy about what I have – favourite tipple at the moment…