A very, very long time ago my poor mum became ill with a nasty kidney thing. Our GP at the time recommended the use of what we used to call soda water, to encourage my mum to drink as much fluid as possible.
This was remarkably sensible advice for our GP, a weary grey-complexioned chap who generally operated in a fug of Embassy Regal fag smoke tinged with a faint tang of whisky.
For a doctor, he had very little faith in medicine and was more likely to prescribe a good stride around the park or wee dram before bed than anything from the 1970s pharmaceutical armoury. The world might be catching up with him . . .
We rushed out and bought soda water, but then switched to magnificent glass Schweppes soda fountains, which my dad loved because he got to fiddle about with a complicated capsule arrangement and secondly, we bought two, which meant that one night we had a soda fountain fight, just like in the movies. The neighbours saw us. It just confirmed their worst fears, really.
The soda fountain wasn’t quite doing the job, so one day we gave up our sophisticated ways and went the full Sodastream.
In the 1970s Sodastream was the work of the future, an act of domestic revolution.
Why wait for the toothless bloke on the Alpine Lorry when you could make your own American Cream Soda? Thrash the Coca-Cola empire by daring to fizz at home. Stick it to the establishment by bubbling up home-made tonic water.
Of course, back then, people regularly bought the latest life-improvement gizmo, such as the Ronco Chop-o-matic or the K-Tel Veg-O-Matic, then put them in a cupboard, never to see the light of day again.
Sadly, once folks tasted the homebrewed fizzy drink output, well, perceptions rapidly changed.
When you were a kid, did you ever pop one of those saccharine tablets your mum put in her tea into your mouth to find out what they tasted like, and then spend ten minutes retching over the kitchen sink to get the foul thing out? That’s 1972 limeade, Sodastream-style.
Many a Sodastream was cast into kitchen sinks by disappointed tank-top wearers.
But they were missing the point. You don’t need flavourings. Nowadays we call this “sparkling water”. Since those happy days of flares and platforms, I have been a loud and proud Sodastream owner, challenging lightly-carbonated highly-priced spring water with home-fizzed cheap-as-chips Leith Tap. People mock when they spot my Sodastream in resplendent display in my kitchen, but I flinch not.
For one thing, it’s the only kitchen gadget I can actually use.
And it’s the only kitchen gadget I have a recipe for, heck, two. Forget the concentrates, here’s my bizzy with the fizzy.
Get a lemon or a lime, heck, go mad, get both, get one of those glass citrus juicers – another style icon.
Squeeze out the fruit, fizz your water, pour the juice into a great big glass then whoosh in your fizz and you’ve got yourself the sort of drink that would get a hefty charge on your bill in any George Street watering hole. And you have, in one swift step, outwitted scurvy.
My second recipe? Lidl chardonnay. Chill, then shove through the Sodastream. Instant prosecco. I discovered this trick back in the 80s when my flatmate made dreadful white wine. Red wine, not so good, and on no account fizz milk.
Miss Scarlett with the soda fountain
The glass Schweppes soda fountain was and remains insanely sophisticated. It evokes an autumn evening in an English country house after dinner.
On the table by a roaring fire, there stands a decanter of something amber. Firelight glints on crystal glasses and there is the soda fountain, all ready to splash that sparkling water into that fine malt to create perfect post-prandial relaxant, cossetted in the luxury of a book-lined library.
Oh, and there’s a body on the rug next to a bloodied candlestick, but we won’t talk about that now.
Get me off to a flyer
Well, welcome to the Fringe, yin’ an’ aw.
Have you been here before, keen little student from Wisconsin? No, I didn’t think so, because you’re not wearing rainwear.
Of course, it’s raining. This is August in Scotland. It will stop raining just as soon as you have put on your rainwear. Then it will turn into the Mekon Delta. A sudden rise in temperature will make the whole city sweat like a teen boy facing That Girl He Fancies. It’ll start to smell like that, too.
And, yes, you must take every flyer offered to you. That way there are fewer left for us Scots to carry. Oh, yes, that is my face on the flyer. And my pal Jojo Sutherland. Yes, we are on at Stand 2, 5.05 every day. Yes, that’s me, punting my show relentlessly. Take a flyer. It’s bad luck if you don’t.