As some of you may remember, the husband and I have the habit of giving up alcohol for Lent (here is last year's Lenten bulletin). I caught this from my much missed old editor, Peter Carson (I've linked you to Rodric Braithwaite's wonderful obituary), and this is only the second Lent I have faced without him.
There isn't anything religious in this abstinence for us. It is proof that we can do it, a chance to give the livers a break, and generally an exercise in latter day "moral improvement".
Each year, there is a rather dispiriting round of attempts to find a nice soft drink (is it to be a ginger beer year or a tomato juice one?), and a series of reflections about what our links with the fermented grape (for apart from some signature cocktails, wine is our tipple of choice) actually depend on. It is I have to say, as I have observed before, something of a relief to discover that a desire for a drink is almost overwhelming at 6.30/7.00pm, but has pretty much disappeared by 9.00pm (so this is SOCIAL addiction, right?).
The other question is what exceptions we are to be allowed. On my understanding, the observant Catholic would have a free alcohol pass every Sunday, so reducing the rather more than 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Do do we get some days off too?