As I write, dear reader, I find my mind turning to gin, which would be acceptable, were it not 10am on a wet Wednesday. No wonder they call it Mother’s Ruin.
I’ve found myself musing on the many health-giving properties of gin quite a lot recently; no doubt prompted by Dry January, which, because my body is a temple (and I still have a Christmas hangover), I have now extended into February. Mind, I was eating some particularly delicious gourmet gin and tonic popcorn last night, but I don’t think that counts.
You’d think Dry January were the ultimate torture meted out by the Marquis de Sade, the way people (me included) have gone on about it. Does this make us all proto-alcoholics or is our over-indulgence in alcohol during the rest of the year simply another symptom of the excessive consumption which permeates everything (says she, who’s devoted six pages to the delights of chocolate in this edition). There’s nothing more dull, in my opinion, than being told we shouldn’t have this or that or the other – we’re a long time dead, after all – but you can’t deny the fact that our drinking habits have changed for the worse since routine alcohol consumption was so frowned upon, women took their gin in a china teacup.
My parents, hardly paragons of virtue in the drinks department, wouldn’t have considered necking a bottle of wine with dinner every evening, in the same way that they wouldn’t crack open the Cinzano unless they had friends round. So how is it now the most normal thing in the world to down a few glasses every evening – thus necessitating an annual cleanse come January?
Mind, it’s not all bad. We don’t have to drink Cinzano anymore because we can buy an okay wine at Tesco, no-one bats an eyelid when I order a pint in the pub, and I can’t remember the last time I concealed my tipple in a teacup. Roll on spring…and the return of Mother’s Ruin.