What bright spark thought up the idea of dry January? To go off booze at the most miserable grey month of the year? It’s madness. Perhaps it was the same person that came up with Movember – the idea that men should grow weird moustaches in order to raise money for charity? Surely we could raise money without this spectacle? But how can we survive dismal, chilly January without the odd gin and tonic or glass of wine? What worse time of the year to decide to keep off the odd tipple or two?
So far I have managed 18 days without alcohol – probably the first time for some forty years (other than pregnancies and hospitalisations) that I have not had a glass of wine with my dinner. Some people say they feel marvellous without alcohol – fitter, happier, sleeping like a baby – and that they take off weight miraculously quickly. Not me! I can’t claim to feel happier nor fitter, nor am I sleeping better. Worse still, despite jumping around to an aerobic video every day I haven’t taken off a single ounce of weight … so what’s the point I ask myself?
On top of this every Sunday magazine covers the topic of post-Christmas detox – we can’t even eat the chocolates everyone gave us for Christmas. So all we can eat is quinoa and brown rice … oh how dull do we have to be in such a dull month? Apparently we should be going vegan. Ouch. I wish I could feel as virtuous as others seem to feel about all this.
But it did get me thinking about the idea of a cleansing of the body and soul. We went to a church service at St Luke’s, Chelsea, last Sunday and there was a baptism service within the Eucharist. The church was full of children running up and down the aisle, the boys clambering over pews as if they were on a climbing frame, the little girls sitting pretty in their pink bows on their Daddy’s knee, a Just-William style boy balancing a fidget-spinner on his nose like a seal. It was fascinating to watch as parents attempted a losing battle at discipline and yet, at the same time, I felt that the Christian words of celebration and love would be seeping into those small souls, sewing memories of values and sacred music into their young minds that might last a lifetime.
And all the while the priest rose above the mêlée to speak of baptism, of a dramatic immersion of renewal and reminded us that we can, at any time of life, choose to begin again in faith, in newness of purpose.
And so perhaps I can see this painful detox as just such a cleansing. I am determined to keep going until February lst. More than that I have actually booked myself in for a ‘health regime’ at a spa where maybe I shall only be able to eat gruel but my goodness I shall feel pleased with myself at the end of it all. Even if I am pale with desperation and haven’t taken off any weight, what a heroine I shall be to myself!
So to all of you endeavouring to plough through the same miserable no-alcohol no-naughty-treats January, good luck! I empathise with you and haven’t enough energy to write a longer blog … too exhausted from the effort of being good. Roll on Foodie February … and a Happy New Year to you all.