Until I met my Schatz, in May 2012, I’d never drunk cocktails.  My drink of choice used to be vodka, especially Absolut with vanilla or mandarin.  Actually, Danzas with grapefruit is also very potable.  Anyway, I speak more fluent Russian once I’ve glugged back a few glasses of vodka.  (That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.)

Nowadays I love heading to Düsseldorf Altstadt and enjoying:

  • Mai thai
  • Zombie
  • Planter’s punch
  • Swimming pool
  • Caipirinha


I tell a lie.  I have “drunk” a cocktail before May 2012.  It’s called depression, also known as Winston Churchill’s black dog.

Why is depression a cocktail?

Answer: it’s a mix of many “ingredients”:

  • Childhood upbringing – “big boys don’t cry”
  • The British stiff upper lip
  • Biological predisposition – being born that way – genetic factors
  • Hormonal factors
  • Seasonal affective disorder, causing seratonin levels to drop
  • Life events, such as:
    • Loss of job
    • Divorce or breakdown of relationship
    • Bereavement
    • Money worries
    • etc, etc, etc, und, und, und, und, ad nauseum

Sometimes depression can come out of the blue.  Maybe that’s not quite true.  I can only write from personal experience, but for me, depression can be a case of, the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Today was such a day.

The day had begun well.  Nice shower: Body Shop’s best satsuma shower gel, a nice shave under the shower (face really strokeably smooth), and then buffet breakfast in Kaiswerth, followed by a walk along the River Rhine in the glorious sunshine, hand in hand with my Schatz.  (Not the shower and shave, just the buffet breakfast onwards!)

Usually exercise and “Bewegung” have a positive effect on my mood.  Not today, however.  After getting home, I went online to upload Kaiserswerth photos to Facebook, because I know all my ex-squaddie Facebook friends love to reminisce every time they see photos of German villages, Kaffee and Kuchen, etc, etc.  Sure enough, within a minute of uploading today’s photos, I got two likes, both off old comrades of Sunray (see previous article to find out about Sunray).

So, what about depression?  The “straw that broke the camel’s back” effect?

  • Why is it taking so long for the laptop to boot up?
  • Why is it taking the internet browser so long to open up?
  • Why is the plug-in not working?
  • Why am I so useless?
  • Why have I still not got a job?
  • Why have the eleven years since I first left Germany being such a struggle?
  • I don’t beat people up, I do help old ladies cross the road.  Why have a got to suffer?  God, why are you doing this to me?
  • Childhood events start flashing before my eyes in my “Kopfkino” (“head cinema” – it makes more sense in German)
    • Flashbacks of being treated as a verbal punchbag by certain relatives of mine
      • “You’re a weirdo, a Walter Mitty”
      • “I’m going to tell everyone at school tomorrow that you used to wet the bed till you were nine”
    • Guaranteed ringside seat on Saturday evening, between the end of World of Sport and Mind Your Language, to see problem drinker Sunray engineering an argument with wife to have a valid excuse to head down the Serjeants Mess (sic – RMAS, hence Household Division spelling of the rank).  “Not in front of the children” was an expression never heard in our married quarter, when I was growing up.  Believe me, witnessing domestic violence sure as hell makes you grow up quickly.
  • All the unfinished tasks that I still haven’t got round to doing, hanging around like a bad smell and constantly tapping me on the shoulder (apologies for the mixed metaphor).
    • Why, oh, why did I agree to all those translations?  How can I get closure on them?
    • Why have I still not organised all that pile of laundry?
    • Why have I not organised all that pile of paperwork in the schrank?

And then it all accumulates and escalates and escalates.  The self-criticism then starts.

  • “You’ve always been useless.”
  • “Ginge in Germany has got a lot of brains, but…”

etc, etc, etc, und, und, und…

Schatz comes out of the bedroom into the living room, sits next to me on the sofa.

But, to correctly quote Greta Garbo, “I want to be left alone.”

I get up.  “I need to clean my teeth.  My breath smells after eating that frikadelle.”  (Actually it does.)

Bathroom.  Electric toothbrush.  DM’s own brand Brillant Weiss toothpaste.  Blood in saliva after cleaning teeth.  A sign of gingivitis, imflamed gums, nothing to do with being a redhead.

Into bedroom.  Sit on end of bed.  Head in hands.  Stare at floor.  Lots of Kopfkino going on.  Deafening loud, as 8-year-old male relative prods me in the kidney just for fun.  His fun.  Don’t worry, that was only Kopfkino, not in real life.  Stare down at floor.  A couple of teardrops have landed on the parquet floor.  Time to close bedroom door and let Schatz watch TV.  Back to bed.  Time for a good cry.

Why?  Why?  Why?  Why me?

“Du bist ein guter Mensch.  Du bist intelligent,” I hear in Kopfkino.

Self-criticism goes into overdrive.

“Yeah, in that case why am I 44, fat, overweight, diabetic and jobless?”

More tears landing on the parquet.

Five minutes later, footsteps coming from living room through hallway/Diele.  Left, right, left, right, halt.

Bedroom door opens.

Schatz walks in.  A hug and kind words.

“A shower and then a cup of tea?”

Schatz has become truly British after over two years of dating this Inselaffe.  She’s suggested a cup of tea as a solution to a problem!

A chat among the sniffs, and then ten minutes, perhaps less, “‘me’ time” and space to think things through.

Oh well, if even Jesus (who had the advantage of being Son of God) went through mental turmoil during his forty days and forty nights alone in the desert, then it’s ok for Ginge in Germany to have a moment of self-doubt and drop the stiff upper lip for a while.

As for the cup of tea, that helped, served on a tray covered in some kind of laurel leaves.  Wie niedlich!

And now I am feeling better.  Blogging is really rather therapeutic.

Thank you for reading this article.

Have a therapeutic day, won’t you!






One thought on “Cocktails

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