And incoming from this blog’s Swiss wine expert…..

The information on which of the good wines will be sold under which of the vin de table labels?

Swiss winemakers are to receive state aid to downgrade their finest appellation labels to cheaper vin de table after sales of quality vintages plummeted during the coronavirus lockdown.

Swiss wineries will receive 10 million Swiss francs (£8.5m) of government funds to repackage thousands of quality bottles unsold after restaurants and bars remained shut for two months in the Alpine nation, leading to a 40 per cent drop in sales, according to producers.

In a boon for wine buffs, wines that have received the coveted “controlled designation of origin” (appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC)) designation – some of which can sell for hundreds of pounds – will now be on sale for a fraction of that price starting from June 1….

Umm, this blog does have a Swiss wine expert, doesn’t it?

It’s that third pint that does it


Binge drinking among the over 50s could be fuelling a rise in violence within that age group, new research has suggested.

That third pint is what turns the Missus black and blue:

Binge drinking usually refers to drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk.

In the UK, binge drinking is drinking more than:

8 units of alcohol in a single session for men
6 units of alcohol in a single session for women

6 units is 2 pints of 5% strength beer or 2 large (250ml) glasses of 12% wine

It really is that third pint.

One of the things that does confuse here is why newspapers aren’t laughing this all out of court. Three pints used to be what journalists referred to as breakfast.


Something that Bloke on M4 likes to talk about:

I would expect there to be, in the post-Covid-19 economy, much more home working, perhaps part time and part in the office, than we had at the beginning of this year. Not because our technology has suddenly leapt forward, but because we have now had a taste of how the new way might work and, who knows, we might even like it.

Put into slightly more formal terms, it’s the coordination problem. As to who might benefit from more home working, one idea:

As to who will really benefit from this, my bet would be on the chimney pot pub. We humans are, after all, primarily social beings and once we are not getting our gossip at the water cooler, something will have to take its place. Why not that ancient grand hub of a British community, the pub on the corner?

Do I have any Bath based readers?

I know there is at least one formerly Bath based reader. Bloke in Bilbao grew up 50 yards away from me even if it was several hundred by the road. But that’s not quite what I mean. Is there anyone actually in Bath at present?

I think, maybe, Flatcap Army might be? But anyone else?

The point here. Mother is in lockdown which at her rate of maturity is a good idea. She’s also running out of wine. At which point, a scheme to try and get her a case.

She’s 100 yards from a Majestic but they’re so busy that delivery dates are out to next century some time. They’re also not doing click and collect. The one vintner I can find (Novel, in Weston) that is offering deliveries doesn’t stock the wine she prefers. Sainsbury’s won’t let me register for delivery or click and collect because I’m not the “vulnerable” person. But the aim of getting me to try to organise a case is that – laughable though it may seem – my computer skills are greater than those of my mother. Lidl doesn’t do click and collect so it’s not even possible to send Abbey Taxis around to collect some.

Yes, obviously, this is being picky, picky.

But what is the potential solution here? The aim being to get a case of the preferred wine to mother. I’ll pay, obviously. There are stores open that stock it but the interaction between delivery options and sometime in the next 14 days seems to be lacking.

Which leads to the question up at the top. Anyone actually in Bath and bored enough to help out?


This is now solved.

The local Co Op, would we believe. They stock the particular wine. And they don’t have any online system, delivery drivers or whatever. They do however have helpful people who will trot down the road that 100 yards with some.

Adaptability see, not systems!


Johnson said that with the agreement of the three devolved governments, “we are telling – telling – cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to close tonight, as soon as they reasonably can, and not open tomorrow”. They would be allowed to sell takeaway food and drink, he added.

The same instruction was being given to nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres, Johnson added.

Gyms have just become the new offies, right?

So, where are they lying?

That they are, we know. It’s the where that has to be worked out.

Probably best to wait for Chris Snowdon on this:

Alcohol sales in Scotland’s supermarkets and off-licences have fallen following the introduction of a minimum pricing policy.

In the 12 months after the implementation of minimum unit pricing (MUP) the volume of pure alcohol sold in shops fell by 3.6 per cent, from 7.4 to 7.1 litres per adult.

That they’re not telling us that total consumption has fallen means – near certainly – that it hasn’t. They’re also not including cross border sales. But we’ll let The Man Who Knows tell us about this, yes?

The reason for a mass brawl aboard ship

‘Mass brawl’ breaks out on P&O cruise ship Britannia


He said one witness “explained to staff that things kicked off when another passenger appeared dressed as a clown. This upset one of their party because they’d specifically booked a cruise with no fancy dress. It led to a violent confrontation.”

Well, OK, it is the Express here

Royal shock: The Queen should NEVER be served wine for one surprising reason
QUEEN ELIZABETH II shouldn’t be served wine but does drink other alcoholic beverages.

Well, maybe we shouldn’t serve it to her because she’s got a decent cellar?

No, not the reason:

“I told her that the official wine for the Oxford and Cambridge boat race was English sparkling rather than French champagne and that English wine was becoming more popular and much better.

“And she said, ‘I don’t actually drink wine myself, but I hear it’s very good.’”

OK, fair enough. She is Brenda after all, can do what she damn well wants.

Before lunch, the Queen enjoys a gin and Dubonnet with a slice of lemon and lots of ice, according to Darren McGrady, a former royal chef.

During lunch, she likes a dry gin martini, according to her cousin, Margaret Rhodes.

The Queen finished off her day with a glass of champagne before bed.

Umm, doesn’t drink wine?

I’m not sure this is beating addiction

After drugs and booze, an ultramarathon taught me how to love the mile I’m in
Breaking the cycle of my addictions was tough, but then I found inner strength by pushing myself to complete a 50-mile race

To a certain extent it appears to be a replacement of the addiction.

Physical activity does stimulate endorphin production after all.

Depends what alcohol dependence is, doesn’t it?

One in ten people in NHS hospitals is alcohol dependent, according to a major study which calls for all patients to be quizzed on their drinking habits.

The study of more than 1.6 million admissions found that one in five people admitted for any reason was drinking at harmful levels.

And one in ten was classed as being dependent on alcohol, the research by Kings College London found.

I assume “harmful levels” is more than 14 units a week. The new and even more made up than the last limit. But what’s dependent?

I saw just the tail end of this, a little bit

Finally, a story that, while strictly speaking has nothing to do with language, deserves repeating. It comes from an obituary of long-time Daily Mirror journalist John Knight, a noted bon vivant of Fleet Street.

He once went on a three-day lunch and on his return to the office was asked where he had been. “On the piss,” he replied. “Oh thank goodness for that,” said his editor. “We were worried in case you were ill.” Ah, truly those were halcyon days.

Not on Fleet Street but in some work I did for a few advertising agencies. Monumental lunches where no food was eaten….

OK, and?

Drinking a bottle of wine increases women’s cancer risk as much as smoking 10 cigarettes, research suggests.

The British study says that for men, drinking a bottle of wine a week increases the absolute lifetime risk of cancer equivalent to smoking five cigarettes weekly.

This is due to the risk of cancer in parts of the body such as the bowel, liver and oesophagus,

For women, it has a similar impact to 10 cigarettes a week, mostly due to an increased risk of breast cancer caused by alcohol, researchers from the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Bangor University and University of Southampton found.

The thing we’d really like to know here. The booze in those quantities increases lifespan on average because of the protective effects upon other things that might kill us. So, is that true of the cigarettes too?

Bit of a bargain actually

No, not an ad, just an observation:

NOW is your chance to book a bargain break to the Algarve for less than £100 per person.

The amazing deal includes flights and accommodation in the sunny Portuguese resort.

£100 for flights and hotel for nine days? That’s a significant bargain really. How they’re doing it, it’s marginal revenue upon fixed costs. The apartment hotel exists, the flights will be running anyway. Why not gain some cash?

This is for March as well, weather could be good down here. Not a bad part of town either.

The bit that catches my eye. £10 a day? The difference in prices means that someone on a pack of tabs and two pub drinks a day would find it cheaper to be here – including the cost of the holiday – than in the UK Actually, forget the tabs, three drinks a day would do it. More a measure of the overtaxation of such things in the UK than anything else….

Twat at The Guardian alert

We would not expect a pub landlord to charge people different prices based on income, with a pint of beer costing some 20p and others £20. Even if such a system might be theoretically perfectly fair, we would recognise the almighty mess it would cause in practice.

They do and always have. Saloon bar was always more expensive than the public. And that’s before we even get to the difference in prices across pubs, some being expensive precisely to keep the riff raff out.

What would these people do if The Guardian wasn’t willing to pay them, eh?

Neat rhetorical trick

Rather than viewing Dry January as a threat to their business, the alcohol industry views it as a neat distraction from an inconvenient truth. Although alcohol consumption is declining overall, 4.4% of the population account for more than 30% of all the alcohol sold in the UK. But Dry January is not aimed at high-risk drinkers, as Alcohol Change UK makes clear. It would be potentially life-threatening for people in this group to suddenly stop drinking. They need specialist support to reduce their alcohol intake if they are to avoid harming their health or, worse, dying.

Abrupt alcohol withdrawal can kill. So there is a real danger that these campaigns play well with the alcohol industry as they distract attention from a group of people who are at the greatest risk of dying prematurely due to alcohol.

You’ve got to be really caning it – couple of bottles of spirits a day level – for going cold turkey on booze to kill you. So, nice rhetorical trick there but no cigar really.

Whoa! Kids are like booze?

Having a first baby in your thirties raises your risk of breast cancer for more than two decades, an overview of research has concluded.

Five years after giving birth mothers are 80 per cent more likely to get breast cancer than childless women of the same age and the risk is higher for those who start families later, it found. They have urged doctors to be alert to the problem in those with young children.

While delaying motherhood appears to increase the short-term risk, mothers still have a lower lifetime risk of breast cancer because childbirth becomes protective against the disease by the ages when most cases occur. The study found that 35 years after giving birth, mothers were 23 per cent less likely to get breast cancer than childless women of the same age.

Childbirth has previously been found to have contradictory effects on breast cancer risk, raising it initially while lowering it in the longer term, but the point where these effects cancelled each other out had been unclear.

Not drinking is dangerous, drinking is dangerous to a different degree, where’s the sweet spot, where’s the lowest total risk?

Babbies work the same way. Actually, near all of life works this way……