Quarantine Diaries XXXV
Saturday 2nd May 2020
As one or two of you may have noticed, I set myself a little project amidst the chaos and panic of the early days of lockdown to wear a different outfit and full make-up every day until it was all over. Unsurprisingly to anyone who knows me personally, this has not yet proven to be a particularly tricky enterprise. I have a lot of clothes. Not what I would consider a stupid or embarrassing amount (though others may beg to differ), but a lot. While the purpose of the exercise has been to provide distraction and offer focus and routine, it’s also felt like a bit of a lifeline to the real world, where (like many other extroverts) I love to dress up and be ridiculously visible – cos why the hell not?! Doing the sartorial equivalent of dancing while nobody’s watching is definitely serving its purpose of injecting me with that extra push to get out of bed and make each day into as much of a real day as possible instead of lying in bed waiting for time to pass, something I can so easily see myself falling into without these little props and crutches. It has also been a saviour on my really bad days. Once I’ve found the strength to start dressing, the process almost takes on a life of its own, and it is difficult (though not impossible) to be miserable in a gorgeous flouncy party dress. I miss my regular thrift store raids (I don’t buy much new – for once the needs of the environment and my bank account are in alignment), stocking up on OTT $5 dresses I don’t really need but absolutely adore. I miss sticking out in outre ensembles in bars, clubs and restaurants. But giving my ludicrous wardrobe a whole lotta love right now is giving more purpose and fulfilment than I would have imagined possible if you had described this scenario to me two months ago. Yes, Cinderella shall go to the ball! I will be partying in my living room every damn day til this is over.
Hedgehog Mango Tango Farmhouse Ale
One of Austin’s newest breweries, Hedgehog made an immediate stand-out impression on me when I first sampled their wares at an HEB tasting back when such things were still allowed. Their fresh, bright, funky, brews are clever and refined but also highly moreish. I’m not always a fan of less-is-more flavours but the, for me, Hedgehog’s restraint is their strength, and this is particularly true of this delightful mango-habanero Farmhouse Ale. The yeast-forward tangy sherbet spritz is gently punctuated with the light, clean notes of mango you get from a Rubicon (sorry US readers), skilfully keeping the flavour in check to prevent it dominating or becoming too heavy. The habanero has a rich warmth to it that builds slowly over each sip, subtly intensifying into a satisfying kick towards the end of the bottle. Having a very Sri Lankan palate, mango-chilli is a flavour combination that I love dearly, but it is easy to get wrong in beer as both flavours are strong and need balance and tempering around the beer itself. This is a masterclass in doing it right. More please.
Also, I now want a Rubicon…
A few of my silly outfits, just in case you missed them!