20. Anyone for a sherry?

We couldn’t leave Southwold without a stroll through the town and, thankfully, once we were away from the sea front and sheltered from the howling wind by a few buildings we could resume communications although it was still VERY cold. I wondered if it was being a Queenslander that made me want to buy a big pair of woolly gloves but when we ducked into the Lord Nelson Inn for a drink and some respite from the weather it was obvious from the banter that the locals thought it was a bit nippy as well.


What a lovely spot! Warm, cosy and welcoming with an easy-going air. Jason was keen to try the beer made by the brewery in town.  Adnams Brewery is at the centre of the action in Southwold, not far from the lighthouse and its steaming chimney is a notable structure on the skyline.  Sue and I sipped soft-stuff while Jason downed what appeared to be a gallon of local brew.  He could hardly get his fingers round the glass and he is a strapping fellow. What do the people with smaller hands do? Use both hands?

Oh well it’s not my problem as I don’t drink the stuff.

True, I don’t drink these days but when I used to live in England, in the days way back when, I was always partial to a drop or two of the hard stuff. I acquired the English habit of drinking sherry and enjoyed it enormously. And speaking of large glasses – I remember when my sister and her husband moved to Oxford from Toronto. We helped them settle in and visited some firm about a job for my brother-in-law, Mark. It was early November and England had been experiencing a real Indian summer and in my letters and phone calls I’d been telling them how wonderfully warm it was.

And it was – until the morning we picked them up from Heathrow. We awoke to find it had snowed heavily overnight and was exceptionally cold.

Oh well, I thought, that’s life.

Anyway, in Oxford, after Mark’s interview the job fellow was very cordial and asked us to join him for a drink at the nearby pub. As we divested ourselves of heavy coats and gloves and scraped chairs to get ourselves seated he suggested we might need some sherry to warm us up.

Great !

Yes, please.

We sat down, enjoying the view over a  much-snowed-upon lawn and the gorgeous bare branches of trees covered in a pure white icing of snow. These are the very same branches of course, which drive you round the twist especially as the joy and good will of the festive season wears off ……… cause you to be depressed for most of the year ……… the dry, grey wood with nary a leaf in sight. Combined with the ubiquitous drizzle it’s enough to send the sanest of us rushing off to the nearest travel agent to find a cheap trip to a sunny part of the world. Ibiza here I come!

Ahhh, he’s back with the sherries.

As we each receive our glassful we exchange furtive glances. Surely someone has made a mistake. These aren’t sherry glasses.

They’re schooners.

Schooners of sherry.

Mr Jobman looks very pleased with himself and we dubiously raise our glasses to toast something or other. We look at each other doubtfully. God, how will we get all this down?

Three schooners each later we had no such concerns. We wouldn’t have recognized a concern if it came up and bit us.

Finding someone sober enough to drive was the only difficulty and not one that bothered us much – and boy had we warmed up! And….isn’t it amazing how everything seems so funny when you’re tipsy………Ok……drunk.

‘So… who’s going to drive ?’

Gales of laughter and much falling about on the chairs.

‘Mark, have you had much?’

Gales of laughter and much falling about on the chairs.

‘When do we have to get back?’

Gales of laughter and much falling about on the chairs.  People are starting to look and the faces with indulgent smiles are beginning to turn  a little sour.

Who can blame them?     They haven’t just imbibed numerous schooners of potent sherry on empty stomachs.

And, of course, we’re colonials.

And they think it shows.

Whenever one of us mentions one of these facts it’s followed by gales of laughter and much falling about on chairs.

Maybe we’d better get out of here before we wear out our welcome.


Gales of laughter and much falling about on the chairs.

Or maybe jeopardise my brother-in-law’s job!!


This thought sobers us up a little and we start to leave, only to find that the message to move has not yet reached our legs.


Gales of laughter and much tripping and lurching.


Whispering now…  ‘let’s get out of here, quick’.

Bumping and scraping of chairs and much ssshh-ing followed by laughter that we actually seem to believe no-one else can hear.

Finally we burst out into the freezing cold and the extraordinary difference in temperature momentarily leaves us speechless. Gasping in vast lungfuls of cold air is an unpleasant experience and acts as a natural dampener on the gales of laughter. We come over all dignified like as we walk away but begin to feel a little uncertain and somewhat chastened as none of us can remember where the car is.

Needless to say we eventually found the car and my brother-in-law secured the job so no harm done. But……let this be a warning to unwary Aussies about the English and their wicked ways with sherry!

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4 Responses to 20. Anyone for a sherry?

  1. mary says:

    Now that’s a great story! You lot were wild!

  2. cindy knoke says:

    Now this I remember very well! Lovely town. Stayed in Buford for a summer in a cottage. Want to go back and rent again, but maybe somewhere else! Great photos and narratives. Bring back happy memories.

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