Quarantine Diaries XXVII
Friday 24th April 2020
My dad had something to do today. This might not sound like a big deal, and it certainly might not sound like something worth writing about, but this tiny click of normality felt ridiculously good. Amethyst Heels Sr is 83 years old, and he lives by himself. He is indefatigably jolly, happily independent, mercifully healthy and a wonderfully gregarious social butterfly. Lockdown has completely ruined his life. I do not use these words lightly. I know that I am lucky to have an elderly relative whose health has been unaffected, but anyone remote-caring for a lone older person will be aware of how limited their worlds have suddenly become. My dad went out every single day – to the gym, the shops, to visit friends and go to the cinema and theatre. He was always running from here to there and my regular calls to check in on him were so often met with a speedy ‘I’m fine, must go now’ as he headed off to his volunteering slot at the local community centre or went to cheer on his mates in the skittles team at his club. He organised bus trips to the theatre in London, sometimes marshalling up to 65 Swindonians to see the latest West End musical, and is a fully qualified cricket umpire who spent his summer weekends in charge of league, county and public school matches. All of this is gone now. He has daily walks alone, phone calls with friends, sudoku and television. It is breaking my heart. I try to call every day for as long as I can, even my most upbeat banter cannot replace everything he has lost. Of course, he is taking it on the chin – never a word of complaint or disgruntlement, just a slightly mournful sound when I have to go. So when he told me yesterday that actually he had something to do (a scheduled live performance of Love Never Dies on iPlayer – thank you BBC), I almost burst into tears with joy.
(AHS in happier times, at our wedding and enjoying a pint!)
New Braunfels Brewing Company – Triple Scorpion Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Y’all will be reading a lot about the fab folks at NBBC over the next couple of weeks as we did a huge pickup of their phenomenal spontaneous-ferment sours for our first stop on the Great Texas Beer Run! A visit to NBBC is always a treat, and even in these most straining of circumstances we were so happy to be there picking up a mix of greatest hits and new releases that I have such high expectations for, which are safely grounded on past experience. This particular beer has fascinatingly contradictory characteristics – the sweet caramel-malt infused with a lilt of yeasty tartness yielding a unique and complex finish. This lil beaut went down ever so quickly, and I am so looking forward to hitting up the rest of our stash!