Ah ha the mixed blessing of the redundancy axe falling- like many others it's a life changing event that slashed our income not once but twice when both Mr GBT and I lost our jobs at different times. It's not an experience I would rush to go through again nor would I wish it upon my worst enemy [well maybe one or two, naughty Aril] but with the wonderful benefit of hindsight, it did bring in many changes, some surprisingly positive, as we adapted our lifestyle to meet the challenges it hurled at us.
Ahem I might enjoy the odd glass of vino now and again [and the odd glass of cider and the odd glass of ale and the odd glass of.....] but, despite the persistent rumours, I am only a part time old soak! In the good old days one of my treats was a weekly bottle of wine and to be honest, it was one of the things I really resented giving up as we had to learn to survive and thrive on a very modest budget. We talked vaguely about maybe having another crack at wine making [embarrassingly we had bought all the kit brand new years ago, tried it once before sending it to a jumble sale] but nothing happened until we saw some cheap equipment at a bootsale. Having made the purchase, we put out a successful plea for demijohns on freecycle and Mr GBT made his first batch from a kit. That first Christmas I kitted him out with the C J Berry tomes [the bible of the homebrew world] and he branched out into more daring combos. Some of have been a pleasant surprise like parsnip and some frankly I wouldn't wash my feet in....the best thing to do with the rowanberry is to spit it straight out if you have been unfortunate enough to take a mouthful. From memory we currently have in our cellar [call that the small person's old cupboard in the garage] elderflower, sloe, blackberry, strawberry, parsnip, ginger and oh yes lemon balm- another experience once tasted never to be repeated! As a little aside the Wilkinson shops are a very good source of brewing paraphenalia at a reasonable cost for those just starting out.