So again, I have one of these. My bucket list is a list of stories about buckets and their place in my life (in case you haven’t guessed yet).
So roll back to the year 1977. I feel sure that was the year, but I am open to correction. My oldest brother Jerry got married. I wore a kind of safari style jacket that my mother made, and a pair of brown flares. Flares were not just “in fashion” in 1977, they were all you could buy. I hated flares, but there seemed to be no alternative.
The jacket was god-awful too. I have my own self to blame for that I guess. My mother asked what I would like to wear for the wedding. I was very into things african, safaris, Daktari, Born Free and all that guff. I had ambitions to become a game park ranger when I grew up. So I asked for a Safari jacket. I knew the moment that she bought the cloth for it that she was way off the mark. But I didn’t have the heart to upset my mother by pointing out that she hadn’t a clue. She wanted me to look neat and well dressed. I wanted to look beat, worn, creased, just off a dusty landrover.
Looking back I see now that I was in the early stages of my love affair with punk. I was rejecting the glamour and sparkle of the disco era. I wanted to disrupt, to break out, to smash convention. I was just that little bit too young. This was the year punk erupted on the scene in Ireland. The Boomtown Rats released “Looking After Number 1” and the music world changed completely.
So what has all this to do with large white plastic buckets? Anyone who grew up in a large family has experienced the joy of what happens when someone gets married. There were nine of us sharing four bedrooms. The departure of Jerry opened up a bed, and for the first time in my life I did not have to share one with my younger brother. My own bed. And only two of us in the room. I felt like Hitler expanding into Poland.
And since I was taking over Jerry’s bed I was not going to stop there. Jerry had a beer and wine making operation up and running. When he moved out I moved in. I had a ready made inventory of demi-jons, a pressure barrel, wine and beer bottles, crown corks, barley, hops, malt, hydrometer, thermometer and …….you guessed it…..fermentation vessels. I had a large jerry can for lager, and a big coloured plastic bin for fermentation.
I learned more about chemistry from brewing and wine making than I learned in school. I learned about enzyme reactions, the importance of temperature control, the importance of controlling the environment, sterilization. I was the 1970’s version of Walter White. I kept my family in country wines and beers for many years. I deviated into mead and it’s derivatives, and developed a taste for Metheglin. I made cordials and in turn used them to create cocktails. It was a marvelous education.
Over the years what with kids and career, my brewing activities declined. Dust gathered on the kit. Then, when we converted our garage in Clontarf into a den for the kids the brewing gear was just in the way. I sold it off.
Last Christmas my Daughter pulled me for her Kris Kindle. To my surprise she had picked up on my love of home brew from hints over the years. She bought me a kit online. So now once again I am brewing. It was a fabulous present, because it unlocked all those memories of times past. Good times, if somewhat crowded.
I almost pity my kids that they will never realize the joy of getting your very own bed. Almost…..