Hope all of you who like them had their tummies filled with pancakes last night in preparation for today's start of Lent, a period of abstinence. Like last year, I've decided to give up alcohol so there's no sneaky trips to Mr Lovelygrey's kegerator for a jar of his gorgeous homemade beer, that sometimes knocks the spots off of pub pints, and that's even before you consider that it works at about 30p a pint. Or indeed emergency visits to the local Co-op for self medicative wine after a particularly hard day at work. However, unlike the rest of the world who've got their forty odd days of self denial ahead of them, I got a headstart! I'm on day eleven and already survived a weekend away with the girls without a drop of my own particular brand of poison passing my lips. So why the early getaway and even more fundamentally why, if I'm not a strict follower of the Christian faith give up anything at all?
Well, the answer to the first part of my question is that I'm copping out a wee bit. We're off to France in the motorhome just before Easter and I know my willpower is not sustainable in the land of lovely wine. The answer to the second bit is a little more multi-factorial. Firstly, I found that giving up the 'evil tipple' gave my health a real boost in that I slept better, lost half a stone and felt perkier. But I've also got a sense that it's good to deny myself as it helps me get into the practice of controlling impulsive behaviour generally.
My birthday falls within Lent this year and the question of how to get around this tricky hurdle without a glass of bubbly has perplexed me. But I think I've come up with a simple solution that guarantees that I will be safely out of temptation's way. I'm confining myself to a barracks of sorts and am denying myself even the pleasure of moaning about the lack of a celebratory toast. For I, the extremely talkative Lovelygrey have booked myself onto a silent meditation retreat!