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Mumbling even before the wine


I’m really bad at saying ‘yes please I’d like a glass of wine’.

I’m also really bad at clearly saying ‘no thank you’.

I seem to find all sorts of ways of saying yes or no that don’t clearly state my preference. If you’re good at reading my body language, or you know me well enough to predict my appetite, you don’t need much of a signal to know what I want. On the other hand, if you find my alcohol consumption confusing and unpredictable, you’re going to struggle.

I tell you yes in such a way as to suggest that I’ll drink only if you really think I should, because I wouldn’t have helped myself as that might suggest a need where there is none and it doesn’t quite fit with the dainty feminine impression I’m trying to give out. Like I need to permission to have a drink?

I tell you no as if I’m trying to say that you have wonderful, lovely wine, and I really enjoy your wine, and I respect your culture to drink more than I would typically drink, and yes, I do know cheese and cake and venison and anything else you might suggest tastes better with wine, but I’m odd so I don’t want any right now.

I hadn’t realised I was so confusing. So much conflict to say a simple statement.

Why such a reluctance to forthrightly engage with the question?

And where did I pick this up from?

The hidden secret of the house on the hill

vineyard teia

If I were really rich, I’d be tempted to renovate an old ruined stone house in the countryside of Spain or Italy. I’d have an art studio and a veranda on which I could sit and write.

Of course, I’m not rich.

However, there is such a house on the other side of the main street, which is known as ‘the river’ because when it rains the water is channelled along it. It’s got a gorgeous view as it’s propped up on the hill. The village where I live sits between mountains overlooking the Mediterranean. If you look towards the village, you have the church and the town hall.

The owners began restoration, but unfortunately (or not so unfortunately) the banks made some mistakes and the economy stumbled. Lack of funds brought progress to a halt. The story could end there. An abandoned house looking out over the sea from behind locked gates, suggestive of a fairy tale or a tale of horror.

But the real story doesn’t just end there. Unable to make progress with the house, the owners came to an agreement with three local men. In return for making sure the house doesn’t go the same way as Sleeping Beauty’s palace, they can use the land and ruined building.

Teia Vineyards

They planted the vines, bought the bottles and got a small machine to insert the corks into the bottles. A new village vintage was born. A local painter designed the labels. They’re now contemplating using the ground floor as an art gallery of his work.

It’s the sort of place you need to know a person who knows a person to get a private informal tour. If you only speak English, then it helps to have someone who can translate the enthusiastic explanations for you. Otherwise, you miss out on the stories. You don’t learn they initially store the white wine in a metal container; the red goes straight into the wooden barrels. You miss the joke about not tasting cheese before trying the wine because the wine speaks for itself. You can’t miss the pride.

The hard work bottled and stacked. I’ve tasted the results and they’ve the right to be proud.

Cork machine. Spain, 2016.