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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Dione

Another Day Without Gin

Sunday Morning

I was up again at 05:45. A triumph in my books that leaves me with a smug sense of achievement. Breaking open the black out curtains and snuggling back into the warm bed, there is a stirring Benjamin by my side. The sky is beginning to change as first light creeps its way over the roof tops of every building and grey wisps of cloud scatter the sky in twelve shades of grey. It’s been the same view for three mornings now and each time it has been different, whether it's a different colour pallet or painted with a different brush. There’s a beautiful peace in watching the light slowly rise, but I suppose most people who are up at this time are up for a reason; they have somewhere to be, places to go, careers to progress. They are most likely experiencing this time in the shower, or a train, or frantically eating breakfast and searching for their keys.

06:10 rolled around and it was high time for a cup of tea. Down in the carpark of freedom I notice the early morning runners have come in force. There is one woman in particular who is impressive to say the least. This woman is running faster than I would to the last train of the night out of a dangerous neighbourhood... and she isn't even sweating. In fact, I’m pretty sure that she is checking her messages every ten minutes (or her lap time). Either way she is effervescent, gliding across the parking spaces as if weightless. I hate that. I hate running.

I have found one type of running that I can withstand and I only discovered it in the last 3 months. I haven’t been able to do it for 4 weeks now as the gym was a big 'no no' on the run up to our PCR tests. Basically, I run at 13km/hr for 20 seconds and then I stop for 20 seconds. I do this for 18-24minutes and by the end of it I am more puddle than I am human. When I first started doing this, 6 minutes was enough, then 10, then 12. With perseverance and hatred in may heart, I was able to reach 18 and finally 24minutes. That was a proud day. Of course, that was my last run. But it’s important to remember that fitness is a lifelong journey not a three month before and after photo. It will rise and fall with what life throws your way and comparisons should only be made over large time periods. I miss the gym, I miss exercise in general. I especially miss the hour long weights session that followed my sprints and left me aching for days. Every ache and pain acting as a pat on the back for prioritising my health, reminding me to keep showing up.

I’m sure as you're reading this that you’re wondering: but Alicia... you had the outside world, why didn’t you run just go for a run in nature? Let me explain; I hate running. The only way that you will get me to run is if you put me in the perfect conditions. I’m like an Orchid. A fussy, pedantic, pain-in-the-arse orchid. Here are my terms:

#1: The ground beneath me must be moving. There has to be a serious threat of my body being flung at a wall for me to run.

#2: No wind. I have very sensitive ears and if they get too cold they get shooting pains that could make me cry. It has been happening since I was a child and it's probably because they stick out a fair bit, (childhood bully nickname- Dumbo).

#3: Air conditioned. I have tried running outdoors with a warm band around my ears to stop them getting chilly, but it turns out that ears are the main cooler of blood when you are exercising. It is one of the reasons desert animals like the Jackrabbits have such enormous ears; it helps them loose unwanted heat!

#4: Straightforward. I need every drop of brain power and stamina to be focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I cannot be wasting said energy on dodging dog walkers, drains, bumps in the road and bikes.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.



Two days ago we were able to order our trainers (brilliant), and a food order with one particular key ingredient: Lemonade. This lemonade is special because we intend to grace it with the beauty we call 'gin'. Yesterday we awaited the order in the time slot assigned to us... nothing. We made some calls, did some chasing. "Oh yes, I am terribly sorry for this. I will book you in for tomorrow and we will call you in the morning". Perfect. Roll today? Food order still not here! We received no call and no emails. After chasing our order yet again, we are now not getting our delivery until tomorrow, which means: Another day without gin. To be clear, there are a good few things in the shop that are desirable, but all myself and Ben really care about is the God damn lemonade! The shop "Countdown", have been very apologetic and it seems to be down to a technical fault. When we highlighted the absence of our order yesterday they apologies and refunded the $14NZD delivery charge. Today when we still had no delivery, they refunded a further $20NZD! Amazing customer service but Ben and I stand by the fact, that we would rather have paid the whole fee and had our gin.

We sound like alcoholics over here! I have actually been enjoying the health kick that comes with Quarantine at the moment. There is such varied food that I can feel my gut is happier and more diverse than ever. I am hydrated, rested and focused. It’s a good feeling. Another item that I would love out of the order is the razor I purchased. Let me tell you, going from the middle of UK winter to the height of NZ summer... in the north (hottest part), is a Bridget Jones situation. You have your summer dresses and your shorts. You have your shades and summer vibes attitude ready to go when BAM!... You look at you legs and your eyes are met with stubbled milk bottles. I am seriously considering uber eats-ing a bottle of sprite at this point. I don’t even think it's the alcohol. It’s the ability to drink a cold beverage that isn’t water. Tea is forever the best… but lemonade. Lemonade is summer.

Our walking slot is booked for 8pm tonight. I was hoping to get some more rays to work on this pasty, Irish, yoghurt I call 'skin', but there were no earlier slots available. Eight o'clock will be much more forgiving either way, as we still have no trainers.


You won’t believe what happened. Someone in the Universe obviously heard me because I stopped typing and there was a knock at the door. It was lunch, I knew that before opening the door. Normally there is one brown bag with 2 meals or 2 brown bags with a meal in each… THERE WERE FOUR BAGS! What does this mean? What is the purpose of this change in routine? Everyday, three times a day, one or two bags. Why four? Excited by this change in events in an otherwise predictable and uneventful regime, we scurried around the bags to discover what was inside; they were fresh snack bags! Pringles, Doritos and … this is the crazy bit… four cans of fizzy fruit drinks each! Two of which were, (drumroll please), lemon lime. GIN TIME IS NIGH!


Ironically, I am having such a productive and creative life since leaving the UK I didn’t want to jump straight on the gin train. First off I did some video editing work and footage organisation. Now, I must exercise. Exercising in a room like this is odd. It adds another purpose to the room that is already your living space, work space, washing line, filming studio, yoga mat, kitchen and dining room. Thank god we have a bathroom. The main thing that I wanted to do was weights. Unfortunately I don't have access to weights but what I do have is a 10 litre box of water, gotta make the best of what you got, right? Before jumping in I reminded Ben to call down to room service for a bag of ice just to ensure gin time would be the best it could be. After a few sets of squats and lunges, I was grateful for the resistance band I had cleverly packed in my case. With blaring music in my headphones I grunted and groaned through a gruelling workout. 25 minutes later and I was content with my efforts and headed for a shower. Gin o’clock is coming.

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere

Gin = strong. There was a slight over sight in our measure pouring in that we haven’t had any alcohol in a few days. We were hit quite hard... and that was brilliant! Rick and Morty showed us some great entertainment with jokes we’ve heard a hundred times but still found amusing. We giggled our way through three gin and various mixers, (mango being the hands down favourite). Dinner rolled around and it was delicious, butter chicken curry for me and potato and chickpea curry for Ben.


We have learnt something today; the 8 o’clock walk is simply too late for me. After the gin and the food I wanted to snuggle up in bed, watch a series and sleep. Dragging myself out of said bed to get dressed and walk around a car park was not what my tired brain was in the mood for. Especially in thermal socks and hiking boots. The temperature outside was lovely, a warm summers evening that allowed for a refreshing breeze. Unfortunately, the tiredness was making me irritable... it was past my bedtime! Ben and I both had headphones in and for some reason he would talk to me as if I was going to be able to hear him over Katherine Ryan and respond. So, I would then pause my podcast to have him repeat what was being said and this happened three times in five minutes... I was fuming.

The excessive sigh and eye roll that should have put me in a coma, finally sent the message to him that this was not the way to communicate with me if he wanted to live until morning. As the outdoor time progressed, a tap on the shoulder and a pause of the podcast allowed us to share some funny anecdotes that lifted the corners of our mouths. Back up in the room and my feet went straight into left over ice from room service, and my clothes had a quick hand wash in the sink. Some brief skin care and it was PJ's and bed. I will sleep well tonight.

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