Friday, July 04, 2008


Day 9

"I can recommend a nice little Israeli wine from the Golan Heights" says our waiter in the old Jewish quarter of Krakow. Does he mean the same Golan Heights that used to be in Syria we wonder? Wow, so faith really can move mountains. Is that what the wine buffs mean when they talk about a cheeky little wine? We settle on a nice bottle of South African, but we do go with his recommendation for Jewish dumplings as a starter, which turns out to be a very good one.

Talking of alcohol, which is all I'm allowed to do with it now on weekdays, it's Day 9 of The Plan and it's going something like this:

I've kept to the rules and drunk only the amount allowed on the days allowed.

My loved one is dead impressed and has cut down his own drinking, which is also good for him (we stopped off at our local bar last night and had a coffee).

I've lost three pounds.

Only 1, but it's a big one. The you will have no desire for a drink goal that seemed so easy at the start is now swaying hazily in the distance. When the hypnotist told me to savour my wine, I think she had in mind the glass in my hand that I'm allowed, rather than the imagined one in my head that I'm not, but, like forbidden fruit, is always tantalisingly near.

And still on our recent trip to Krakow, we were in a restaurant with a large party of Portuguese at one end of the room who'd hired a group of folk dancers to entertain them, so we got a free floor show. Why is it that no matter what instruments the group's playing, what they're wearing or how high or fast girls and sticks are twirled, from black waistcoated gypsy girls and pink-striped pyjama bottomed men in Poland to bell-kneed Morris dancers in England, after five minutes they all look and sound exactly the same and the fleeting delight you experience from such merriment quickly turns into a sincere desire for it to stop - right now?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Look into my eyes, look into my eyes.......

“……and now I’m going to count up from 10. When I say three you will open your eyes. When I reach one, you will be wide awake. You will wake with a feeling of well-being. You will wake with confidence that you will have no desire to drink to excess. Nor will you have any desire to drink during the week. At the weekend, you will enjoy a few glasses of wine. You will savour them, but you will have no desire to drink more.”

Listening to the hypnotist intone the days of the week on which I've vowed not to drink - enunciating Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday slowly and precisely - is quite giggle-inducing, but once I get control of that, stop thinking about the itch behind my left shoulder and how many bottles of wine l'll need to give up to cover the cost of the £60 an hour fee, I relax and feel myself floating off and totally receptive to her words.

And you know what, it might just work! It's been less than a week since my session, but I've had just one tiny slip and that was a few glasses of wine yesterday (a Monday) to celebrate the reunion with my loved one in Villefranche after a week apart, but as that comes under the heading of special occasions, it doesn't count. So, until Friday, not a drop will pass my lips, although my loved one, who so far has only my word that I felt no desire for a drink, is worried that we may still be in for a few whine filled evenings.

A somewhat drastic course of action you may think, but when you put out your empties and the neighbours congratulate you on holding such a quiet party, it’s time to re-think your drinking habits, which isn’t easy when all your associations with alcohol have been nice ones. When I was growing up, the fun times in our house came only a few times a year, when my rather serious parents became mellow after a few drinks and as an unconfident teenager, I loved the feeling of liberation it gave me. It didn't figure much in my life whilst bringing up the children, but since I’ve been free of those responsibilities, it’s become a very enjoyable, but increasing, habit – there's nothing nicer than good company and a nice bottle of wine. Except it isn’t a bottle any more – there’s the six o’clock aperitif, followed by a bottle over dinner and then a couple more glasses over a game of Scrabble or Match of the Day and at the weekend, a few more glasses over lunch.

The hypnotist assures me she’s had a lot of success with drinking and eating excesses, but then she would say that wouldn't she? I'll keep you posted on whether she's still my new best friend in a while. In the meantime, I'm thinking of any other bad habits we could get rid of - my loved one mentioned chocolate, but I don't think he's remotely serious, but I wonder if she could do anything about an obssessive compulsive desire to abolish the monarchy every time I hear Prince Charles speak.

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