A new dawn? Not really. Well, not at all. Same old stuff if truth be known, but I wasn’t expecting anything different. I hope that doesn’t sound negative. It isn’t. I’m very happy with my lot. The good weather continues and I’m making as much of it as I can with as many short trips on the bike as I can fit in – mostly with a pub in mind. If that makes it sound like I drink a lot, I don’t. About seven units a week at last count – now that I’ve discovered Adnam’s virtually alcohol free version of Ghost Ship, my consumption will reduce even more. Ghost Ship isn’t my favourite beer, not even close, but it’s tasty enough and the alcohol free stuff is pretty similar.
I’ve never been a big drinker but before I took redundancy I’d fallen into the habit of having a drink most nights because it helped me to relax. Since leaving work I’ve reduced my intake considerably to the point where I hardly drink wine at all and I only drink beer at weekends. I still look forward to a drink but now it’s one pint rather than two and weekends only – mostly.
I found the Adrian Chiles programme, Alcohol and Me, quite chilling. Although he doesn’t categorise himself as an alcoholic, he drinks a scary amount of alcohol each week. Even if he isn’t alcoholic, it seems to me that he’s dependent on drink, although I don’t know what the distinction is. The programme had quite an effect on me. Although I don’t drink much now, I can easily imagine how I might slip into dependency given the right (or wrong) circumstances. I keep asking myself why I don’t give up drinking altogether and I’m not sure I have a valid answer.
On a brighter note I’ve been ploughing my way through Bleak House by Charles Dickens – on second thoughts, that doesn’t sound much brighter, does it. Anyway, I enjoy Dickens’ writing but I’m struggling with Bleak House. So many characters and an elusive plot. Barnes and Noble’s SparkNotes [http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/bleakhouse] is helping. I read a couple of chapters and then use SparkNotes to check that I haven’t missed anything. So far, I haven’t missed much, which emphasises that the joy of the book is in the writing and not in the story. The point of Bleak House, as far as I can tell, is to have a dig at the deliberate inefficiency and expense of the legal profession. Nothing changes, does it.
A friend of mine, who also worked in IT, once told me that he thought we were only in the business because we weren’t smart enough to be lawyers. It was an odd comment, especially as he was a bright bloke who could have chosen any career. Perhaps what he really meant was that being a lawyer would have been a smarter choice because we would (possibly) have earned more and had a higher social standing. If that was his point, he was probably right.
As I can’t read one book at a time, I’ve also been looking at Michael Mosley’s book, The Clever Guts Diet [https://cleverguts.com/clever-guts-diet/]. The book isn’t about weight loss, it’s about eating more healthily – something else I’ve been do since leaving work. The book contains recipes and a fairly detailed explanation of how the gut works and why gut health is important. The overall message is to stop eating crap, which isn’t that easy when shops are packed to rafters with processed food.
Sadly for Michael, there is no need to buy the book because all the information you need, including recipes, is on the Clever Guts web site [https://cleverguts.com] and there’s an app, too.
I try to eat healthily and it requires a bit of effort but nothing that most people couldn’t manage if they really wanted to. One of the revelations of the last year has been that I don’t need butter on bread. Although I love the taste of butter, I don’t miss it one bit – on sourdough bread even the humble cheese sandwich takes on a new dimension.
I’ve also cut down on the amount of sweet stuff I eat. Now, I only have the occasional pudding and more often than not it’s Greek-style yogurt. Oh, and I still chocolate but only 70% cocoa. But that’s alright because it’s part of the Mediterranean diet and it’s good for you – allegedly.