Hilary Fannin: Phew, I can finally stop pretending I’m on the dry

Great news: ‘Moderate consumption of Champagne has the potential to influence cognitive functioning, such as memory’

Photograph: Thinkstock

Photograph: Thinkstock

 

Holy cow, January was bleak, wasn’t it? Hard cold rain, biting winds, endless inducements from the media to clean up one’s act, to shape up, shed pounds, get the bit between our yellowing teeth and gallop into a new dawn like frothy yearlings.

I was exhausted just watching the weigh-ins on the telly. The issuers of the “let’s all lose our love handles and share a chai and pumpkin pie smoothie” message weren’t shy about instructing the nation to go on the dry for the month of January, either.

I did think about it, I swear. However, an old mate had a Moroccan-ish-themed 60th birthday party, which, despite the geographical anomaly, included a seemingly endless supply of mojitos and, well, Bob’s your Cuban uncle, let’s just say that I slipped daintily off that scaly cliff face of resolve that I was clinging to with my chipped fingernails and woke up in the back of a taxi at 2am thinking I was already in bed.

There was a point, late on during that evening, when a handful of us were dancing to David Bowie on a handkerchief of floor space. (Sorry, I should admit here that “dancing” might be pushing it a little; “energetically looming” might be a more accurate description.)

Anyway, there we were, scrunching and grinding and locking our kneecaps and singing along to Bowie’s lyrics, the Hunky Dory generation, who probably once believed that when the homework brought you down you could actually throw it on the fire and take the car downtown.

I felt terribly sad for a moment. Mojito sad. The past felt so long ago. I remembered babysitting with my two best friends when I was about 17, the three of us diligently trying to smoke Lyons tea rolled up in cigarette papers, Hunky Dory on the turntable. We knew every line, every beat of that “godawful small affair for the girl with the mousy hair”.

Knew her? We were her. We were so full of yearning, hope and grit, our futures pulsing in our palms like speckled eggs. Like all teenagers, we were going to be someone, really going to make our mark.

One of us is dead now, one of us is still beautiful, and the other one is me.

The following day, feeling a little tender and emotional, I was thinking about this new year drive to have us all as clean as whistles and fragrant as potted hyacinths, this nationwide effort to achieve fitness and fabulousness.

I haven’t encountered such compliance since we bailed out the bankers. You can no longer comfortably drive at speed around my housing estate on a stormy, dark evening for fear of ploughing into shoals of women in Lycra and high-viz vests, pounding the rain-soaked pavements, fizzing with zeal and forbearance while merrily engaging in communal walks and jogs. And what’s more, they look happy.

The cheeky chemist

The lovely girl from the chemist had the cheek to wave at me while I sat behind my rain-splotched windshield, engine growling, waiting for about 30 of my neighbours to trip across the road so that I could drive home and put my feet up.

Later, rooting around for a sweet potato (potassium, dietary fibre, pretty colour), I was wondering how much longer I would have to endure the pitter-patter of various-sized trainers passing me out as I shuffled along the public pavements, how long before the backlash started.

That’s when I opened my laptop and there, screaming at me from my junk box, was the following: “Now you don’t have to feel guilt-ridden over staying in from the gym. Experts say a compound in red wine provides equal heart rate benefits as what people get from exercise.”

Forget the lousy grammar – this was exactly what I had predicted: the red wine backlash. A quick scroll through social-media sites yielded even better news: “Moderate consumption of Champagne has the potential to influence cognitive functioning, such as memory . . . Those who conducted the study now hope to move on to trials involving pensioners.”

According to this, three glasses of Champagne a day and you will never again forget where you left your glasses, let alone put the cat in the fridge and the milk carton out for the night.

The article didn’t mention the deleterious effects of the Champagne habit on your liver and purse, but then why spoil a good-news story when beyond the window panes rough winds doth blow?

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