Beer and wine are extremely easy things to make. Stuff the 'units', just brew it to extinction and then freeze-distil it and you can produce something in your kitchen that will make your eyes melt.
You can even start with a bread yeast, if the Controllers ever ban the sale of beer yeast. The first batch will be crap but it'll adapt. Just keep using the sedimented yeast for successive batches. It's the same species of yeast, all you'll be doing is selecting the individual cells that grow best in a beer/wine situation rather than a flour/water one.
So all this concern over Government plans to tell us we can't drink when we're old is misplaced. When I get old, assuming I get that far, I plan to spend the last years of my time permanently and entirely pissed. If I die at home, nobody will notice because this corpse won't start to decay for months. If that means brewing my own, so be it. Just think of the duty and VAT I'll save. In fact, sod it, I'll start now. Rose left a recipe for mead somewhere back in the comments. I have plenty of fruit growing and all of it can be fermented.
I'll also insure myself against being sent to Hell. They won't let me in because I'll be an explosion hazard. Hell is bound to be stuffed full of health and safety inspectors and risk assessors. As for the other place, well I'll never make it up all those steps. I'll just have to find myself a Puritan to haunt.
Picture the scene. There I am, older and wrinklier and utterly guttered when the caped skeleton with a scythe shows up.
"Mr. Leg-iron. It Is Time."
"Aye, time for another drink, ya bas."
"No, it is Time to Go."
"Whit? Ah went ten minutes ago. Ma bladder's barely trickling."
Death's shoulders will slump at this point. "No, you don't understand. It Is Time. You must leave this body and come with me."
"Where to? The pub? They winnae let me smoke in there so ye can go alone, loon. And ye cannae have ma body. I have a few more bottles to pour in here yet."
"You can drink no more. It is over for you."
"Aye? I'll drink you under the bloody table any time you like, bone boy. Sit you down and we'll have a little wager. My soul, such as it is, against your stick with a sword on the end of it. First to fall off their chair loses."
"It's a scythe. I do not wager. I collect."
"Oh, a bloody taxman, aye? So whit's in it fae me?"
"Eternity and peace."
"Not much of a deal then, is it? You want my soul, you'll drink for it or you'll feck off before I ram that stick right up your pelvic bone, sharp end first."
In the years following, I will tell the tale of the scythe hanging on the wall...
Tobacco plants are coming along nicely. I have some to post if I can move my body clock around to being awake when the post office is open. Those lazy buggers don't work at night.
Some of those plants are now in twenty litres of compost in buckets. The garden ones are slow because the weather is, once more, cold and horrible. A few years back I'd be sitting in the garden now because it would have been too hot in the house. Now I have the heating on at midsummer, when it used to be entirely off between May and September. If someone were to beat Chris Huhne to a bloody pulp using a large potato masher, I will be first to provide them with an alibi. Bring photos.
The slugs managed to mince one garden plant by chewing through the stem. I rewarded them with some nice blue sweeties. The slug named Blair tried to tell the others it would take me 45 minutes to mobilise chemical weapons and they'd all be yards away by then. He was wrong. I did it in five. The Brown slug tried to take 50% of the pellets because it was the right thing to do for hard-sliming molluscs. I generously provided extra. Mandelslug insisted they provide a levy of pellets to the garden next door, which has promised him access to lettuce, but that's no problem. I have plenty. If only I could stop that Milislug waving a pellet like a banana.
The Health Slugs are warning of the dangers of salt. I have a lot of that. If the rain stops, I'll provide them with some. Next I think I'll set up a pub for them, but they won't be allowed in if they've been chewing tobacco.
There are those who said there was no point growing tobacco because it'll be at least a year before it produces anything smokeable. Well, by that logic, there's no point buying a house because it'll be 25 years before it's yours, right? I have fourteen years to go on this mortgage and I have paid extra into it to bring the monthly payments right down. I'm almost halfway to owning this house in time and well over halfway in cost.
I'm also, now, halfway to having home-made tobacco. The first batch won't produce much and might not work at all. In which case I will apply the lessons from this year's batch to next year's. Even if this crop fails completely, I'll be one year closer to getting it right. Waste of time? It's my time, and if I can get it right, the return on that invested time is incalculable because the rate of increase of tobacco prices is insane. If I only make enough for say, five two-ounce packs of baccy, what's that at shop prices now? It was over a tenner a pack last time I looked. What will it be by the time that baccy is ready? Man with a Van is not a charity. He pitches his prices below shop prices but as shop prices rise, so do his. I might well find I've saved myself a hundred quid or more just by letting some plants grow.
A tip on the slug problem - they can't swim. The buckets I'm using are cheap, a quid each. Drill a few holes in the bottom, get down to the pound shop and buy cat litter trays for a pound each. Drill a couple of holes in the sides of those, a couple of inches up from the bottom. They're too deep otherwise and too much water will swamp the plant.
Stand the bucket in the litter tray, fill the litter tray with water and keep it topped up. You now have a continuous supply of water for the plant and it's surrounded by a slugproof moat. It has cost two quid per plant, and you can use it all again next year. A circle of copper tape around the bucket also works but the moat approach is cheaper.
Booze and tobacco aren't my biggest expense. Heating wins that by a long way, but in a house with no chimney it will take a big initial investment to install a wood-burning heating system. I'm working on it because I live near tradesmen who are always throwing away wooden pallettes and just down the back is a wooded area where fallen branches are left alone. Nobody around here has a chimney.
However, I can seriously cut my costs on booze and tobacco, and hence the amount of money the government steal from me, without very much effort and with trivial initial investment. The reality of both these things is that they are cheap, and the high price is due to tax. Plus, of course, tax on the tax. As the prices of booze and tobacco escalate - and they will keep escalating - so the savings grow.
Every penny saved is a penny I don't have to replace by earning. Every penny not earned is a penny not taxed. Tax is generated by the transfer of money so the less I rely on money, the less tax I pay.
I cannot eradicate cash completely from my life. Not until the council accepts their taxes in plums, the electricity and gas companies accept payment in gooseberries and the butcher is willing to trade meat for rhubarb. There are wild rabbits nearby, so that's always a possibility. What I can do for now is minimise my use of tax-heavy transactions.
Of course, the minimalist approach could be buggered up if someone turns one of my stories into a film, but I'll worry about that if it ever looks like happening. So far, no danger. Anyway, the point is to stop paying the tobacco and booze lobbies to torment me and that looks like it can be done without much effort.
With cheap buckets and dirt. Next, I'll need a big plastic bin for fermenting purposes. Those are cheap too. Insulation? Ha, the local charity shops are full of tatty clothes. Come to think of it, so is my wardrobe.
For every penny I don't pay to the government, an antismoker gets cancer. Well, I like to think that's true and it has as much scientific backing as anything the health loonies come out with. Every penny of duty I keep gives me a warm glow. It doesn't matter which party is in government, they have all stated they hate smokers so sod them all. Now they are working on drink in the same way. I am not paying for my own denormalisation.