A year in people #25 – B

B’s description on Meetup is ‘Tiny pom living in Christchurch’ yet when I met her for the first time I somehow thought she was a kiwi. I have no idea why, as now I realise she has very little kiwi twang to her Cheshire accent. She is tiny though.

But the best things come in small packages <3.

B is the first friend I made in Christchurch and our intial get togethers involved running and the odd coffee. All very civilised. We got on so decided to take our friendship to the next level: Going Out For Wine.

I wasn’t a big fan of white wine after getting drunk on it a few too many times with Kim back in my twenties (the whole Schwine/”you’ll f*ck your jeans up” evening – but that’s another story) but when I got to New Zealand I was introduced to the treasure here known as Sav (sauvignon blanc), getting into it in a grown up drinking way (i.e. only having a maximum of 2 glasses, who knew) in the run up to that first Christmas.

B was off work for a couple of weeks, and I was an unemployed bum, so we decided to go out for Lunch and Wine. Anyone knows at this point that two Brits doing this is probably a Bad Idea.

We prefixed the lunch with a run in the morning, and then we both biked to the pub. All that exercise is great just before wine. A pub, I should mention, that has comfortable seats and looks like your nan’s house (it’s a retro pub). These seats should be remembered for later on.

We chose The Ned sav, and I chose the beef cheek stew with mashed potato for lunch. I’m not sure why, as I don’t like a lot of meat but I think I thought this would be like some kind of braising steak stew and I love mashed potato and gravy. Oh no no no. Every mouthful of meat, or even the stew sauce, tasted like how a butchers shop smells. Needless to say, I couldn’t eat much of it, but I did enjoy my lunch of a spoonful of mashed potato, thanks very much. Again, this is information that needs to be considered in context with the next part of the story.

We retired upstairs, the only people there, to the corner of the granny bar, in the very comfortable armchairs and a side table with a doily on it, the bottle of Ned sitting in the middle like an ornamental trophy.

Chat, chat, laugh, laugh, laugh, chat, chat, chat.

Bottle number 1: gone.

Chat, chat, laugh, chat, laugh, chat. B told me all about her, her life in the UK and her life in NZ.

Bottle number 2: gone.

Chat, chat, laugh, chat.

B’s partner J turned up to join us for a drink after work. It was about 4pm at this point. I think it was to check I wasn’t a weirdo. At this point we may have been a little tiddly. Chat, chat, laugh, chat, laugh, chat. He left.

Bottle number 3: gone.

Chat, laugh, chat. A few more people were now upstairs.

Bottle number 4: halfway through.

Chat, laugh, chat. I was definitely swaying around a little bit at this point. Possibly seeing more than one B in front of me. My boyfriend at the time, Mike, then turned up to join us for a drink. He looked at the discarded bottles. “How much have you had?” “Not a lot <giggle>”. This was the first time he’d met drunk Tara, and the first time he’d met B.

They started chatting. I slid down into the very comfortable chair. Next thing I know it’s dark outside and there are loads of people in the bar and I’m very confused. “Good sleep?” Cringe.  “Probably time to go home. I’m in the ute, I’ll stick the bikes in the back.” Bikes? Oh yeah. Forgot about those.

Getting down the stairs was a mammoth task. It’s like someone had flicked a switch, and my legs were a little unsteady. All that running and biking no doubt. We went to pay the bill. B at this point seemed sober as anything. She tapped in her PIN no problem, I just could not make mine work. I think I was putting the completely wrong PIN in for the card I was using, probably trying my UK one. Mike picked up the bill for me and tried to bundle me in the car. “I need the toilet!” “OK”. He watched me toddle off to the toilets (which were outside) and then straight back into the bar. I was like a roaming cat with a bad memory.

I have never had such a bad hangover IN MY LIFE. I couldn’t get out of bed for the entire day. I woke up with The Fear combined with feeling like I was poisoned, dying a slow death. It lasted 3 days. I totally thought B would probably never talk to me again, such was the embarassment.

Looking back, it was the first time I got drunk in New Zealand, the first friend I had made on my own and a bit of a release from the whole intense situation I’d found myself in. B got this and thankfully kept talking to me. Well, she doesn’t really get a choice, haha.

She is the BEST tiny pom I know. She listens to my endless drivel, looks after me and indulges my need for dancing and random activities and doesn’t judge my alcohol intake – although I didn’t drink for well over a month after Winegate, and haven’t touched white wine since. Sometimes we drink non-alcoholic beers in the sun and laugh at our smugness. Sometimes we drink and dance. But never white wine.

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