I got a little annoyed with January and everyone wanting to have a ‘dry January’. I had worked all through December and I wanted to have fun for the beginning of the year. Luckily I had a few trusted friends who were equally unimpressed with the dry Jan concept. But of course, everyone was broke (including myself) so I decided that it was going to be a month of drinking good wine at home.
That’s the thing with London, there is always something good to do, there is always somewhere great to be; it’s a tricky city to be in, when broke. And January is such a sad month, that you want to brighten it up with fun, but you don’t have the money to do so. When I went back to uni to do my PhD I used up all my savings and really didn’t have time to pick up extra work, so even though I graduated six months ago, I’m still playing catch up and living pay check to pay check. Therefore despite the December work slog, I was back to being broke by January. And I know that I’m not alone in this boat.
I do think it’s getting harder in London, there are so many people my age (early - mid 30s), with good jobs, and still living precariously. I think rents are ridiculous in London, they have risen so much faster than inflation; with the financial crash in 2007/8 pay has been frozen in many companies, yet rent and cost of living still rises. I felt I knew more people in my 20s who were buying flats than I do now.
My January plan was to cook healthy and drink well. What dictated my cooking was simple - Highbury Vintners. We went there one afternoon and they had a sign in the window that said ‘Dry January’ over a number of bottles of dry rieslings. So, there you go - I decided to drink resiling in January! And I love a good bowl of spicy, asian inspired food to go with my riesling.
My desire for good wine and not going out in January was all about the here and now, and having to come to terms that at 33 I’m not as grown up as I wanted and thought I would be. I’m not financially secure, I’m not secure in my career - although lots of great things are happening and I have every faith that I will be. But thinking back to my mid 20s, I thought I would be ‘sorted’ by now. I am learning that you never really are ‘sorted'; and sometimes you need to take different journeys than you thought, to get to where you actually want to be. But, in opposition, my interest in riesling is all about the past.
Why I love riesling is to do with the first time. The first time I had a glass of riesling poured for me, I stuck my nose in the glass and inhaled petrol. The scent of petrol was so strong that I was instantly taken back to my childhood, on the rivers of Sarawak, with dad, going up river in the longboat and the smell of petrol on the air from the boat’s motor. So my love of riesling is purely emotional. Funny that a german wine (which that first one was) would make me think so vividly of the jungles of Borneo.
I now like and appreciate a wide range of riesling, and some of my favourites are from New Zealand - so also a touch of home and nostalgia there, too.