Friday 20 March 2009

Lent, alcohol, and an update

I met a friend for lunch the other day – I was about to say an old friend, but he is about the same age as me, so I’ll give that one a miss. It was a radiantly sunny day and we found a pretty pub that was new to both of us.

At the bar we ordered – wait for it - a diet coke and an orange juice. Admittedly it was lunchtime, but in days gone by there might have been a glass of beer on the table. For a variety of reasons, lent included, alcohol was off the menu.

I don’t need to say that it didn’t in any way spoil what was a great catch up. Of course it didn’t - it had been a while and there was loads of news. It’s amazing how people don’t change – and despite quite a few years’ gap it was we were back putting IT systems to rights in no time.

I have to admit I have hardly missed the wine at all. I say hardly at all because there have been occasions when a glass (or two) would have been nice. But it’s honestly been no big deal.

So from the perspective of doing what I said I was going to do – it has been a success.

From a performance point of view, however, it hasn’t been quite the silver bullet I had hoped for. I still have days when I am totally turbo-charged, but also days when it’s a bit of a struggle to get out of bed (much less frequent, but they do happen).

So, what can I conclude? I certainly think it helps. But then a glass or so occasionally helps too. After the fabulous bottle of red Burgundy I am planning with some Roquefort over Easter, I will be sticking to weekends only for the vino.

Somehow, though, I think that might be more difficult than abstaining completely. I’ve never exactly been the moderate type. As the wonderful
Gretchen Rubin pointed out recently:

“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”

Leonardo da Vinci himself said that – it’s an odd thought that he might also have struggled with such banal matters.


  1. Does this mean , dare I say that the target was not stretching enough, would you consider extending lent for another 40 days? now that would be a challenge.

    What has this taught you about yourself, have you any welcome advice for those of us that try to moderate our lives but still find it hard unless well motivated, whether the temptation is alcohol, evening out when one could/should be working...

    I think ones head has a large part to play in the choices we make, if you are feeling good in yourself, you can climb mountains and see stars.

    A positive outlook has a lot to answer for, and its all good.


  2. Are you kidding? That Burgundy and Roquefort is mine come Easter!!!

    As for discipline thing, gosh I am in no place to counsel anyone. I think we all just do the best we can. Trying to work hard during work time, and relax and enjoy life during playtime seems like a good way to live. If only it always worked out like that!

    Thanks for the comment - it makes me think, as always!

  3. I understand your desire to resume normal activities, however just thinking aloud guess 80 days would have unrealistic goal even for someone so pure.

    However is achieveable now you are half way there almost? Something about attainable goals, small steps, appreciating success and ones mind set?

    Whereas I cannot agree the red wine and roquefort will also give you head ache ! sancerre and goats cheese is only sensible choice. Bonne chance

  4. Happily I don't have the power to extend lent. Sancerre and chevre isn't a bad idea, though.

  5. Red wine -- the perfect elixir to soothe the troubled mind or even the untroubled mind which makes it more of a prophylactic than a therapeutic aid, if aid or intervention is appropriate at all....those nice people at NICE will undoubtedly have a view on this.

    Good company stimulates good conversation irrespective of the circumstance, location or the quality of wine at hand. Does this explain the proliferation of cyberspace soliloquies or blocks as they are called in common parlance? Not at all, it's just an unhappy blend of reflective practice and textbased messaging enabling us to share our thoughts with those we cannot meet over a good bottle of Rioja.

    I read about a series of evening meals that were assessed in different settings and perhaps surprisingly the best was rated as a meal in the canteen at an army barracks. The conclusion was that people were relaxed and at ease with one another and the food was somewhat secondary. Hardly a scientific experiment with appropriate statistical analysis but it does provide food for thought that we seldom take time out of our fuel injected, turbocharged but soon to be low carbon footprint existence to chew the fat (omega-3 only please) and shoot the breeze (no carbon dioxide here) with others whose company we enjoy.

    Then again there's always the opportunity for the odd cynical snipe or quip on a blog to share one's opinion and hear or rather read those of others.

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