We’re about as deep into the commonwealth as you can get without stopping by some remote research station in the Antarctic. The Marlborough Sounds have been our base of exploration for most of February. While there we found it necessary to make a foray to the New Zealand interior for a provisioning run. The outpost of Blenheim was safely made and after some surprisingly adequate espresso we found the strength to continue. Our stocks were seriously low and the need for replenishment dire. But just how far would we have to lower our standards? There really was only the one option, so we made a U-Turn, crossed to the wrong side of the street, and pulled into the “Drive-Thru.” Clive was the proprietor and he trades on his looks. The girls never stood a chance. The men held the credit cards, but that meant nothing; the girls know how to get what they want. Let’s just say that after we’d settled upon a very nice “everyday” bottle of gin we then moved to the top shelf and the local craft gins for those “special occasions.” Obviously these can’t be appreciated with just any old tonic. Schewppes be dammed. Fever-Tree is just OK. But what you really need is the local Quina-Fina, made with artesian water, organic lemon and cinchona bark extract. No matter where you are, there’s just no excuse for dropping one’s standards.
I believe my Aunt Elizabeth’s 102nd birthday merits toasting. Happy Birthday.