Sunday, 3 February 2013

Bottled Out Of TV Appearance


So I completely messed up Dry January. Right at the end. I was within hours of the arrival of February but I blew it.

I survived Dry January
Oh, I didn’t fall off the wagon. No, no, no. I’m talking about a chance to open my heart to a nosey nation and be truly famous for five minutes. I took a call from breakfast TV. They’d heard I’d shunned booze for a whole month and wanted me to catch the night train down south so I could appear on their sofa looking fresh faced, regaling the audience with hilarious anecdotes and raw emotion. An ex-journalist going more than twenty minutes without a swig from a hip flask is apparently newsworthy.

I had to let them down. You see, Dry January was a bit of doddle for me. (Wife-features made some whiney noises about wanting wine a couple of times. I pointed out she didn’t have to show solidarity but she’s a girl of principle and stamina. She has for example watched the entire box set of Murder, She Wrote - even the flimsy episodes towards the end where Angela Lansbury merely introduces someone else's criminal teleplay.)

Given that a month without drink had not been a rollercoaster ride I couldn’t really see me making great TV. Also, the last minute nature of their call meant I was committed to cooking that night’s tea and reading bedtime stories.

Plus, I’m Green Dad. I like to think I occasionally help correct misconceptions about Greens. Going on national daytime telly to bare my soul about how peppermint tea really helped me through the past four weeks, and how I was looking forward to breaking my fast with a craft brewed organic ale probably wouldn’t have busted any stereotypes.

Will I go dry next January? Probably not. I definitely saved a pile of cash not buying alcohol for a whole month, and I feel a bit healthier, but I think a better tactic for keeping my consumption in check is to view it as an occasional treat. The bottle of Red Kite Wife-features and I split on the evening of 1 February to celebrate our achievement reminded us of those great Friday nights we used to have in Hootananny in Inverness, after work with loads of friends. Or sometimes it would just be me and a bespectacled bookseller buddy. A few jars of the Black Isle Brewery’s finest, a Thai curry (that I would invariably forget to pay for) and a mad dash for the ridiculously early last train home to Nairn. Good times.

But instead of wanting more once the bottle was finished I was happy with the rush of memories. Anyway, drinking less is the least of my challenges. For the past couple of weeks I’ve mostly been off coffee. My old nemesis the caffeine-induced migraine made a spectacular return so I’ve ditched the java (apart from a birthday treat with cake yesterday) and I’m looking for ways to limit the wheat I eat. A fortnight ago I would have had a panic attack at the thought of no pot of black coffee and marmalade on toast for breakfast but I definitely feel better without them.

Given the rate at which I used to go through decent ground coffee and the rising cost of a loaf I’ll probably save a few bob by switching to porridge and mugs of tea. Local oats and Fairtrade tea, of course. I have no problems conforming to some stereotypes.

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