Tip for giving up wine

As the price of wine rose past the two, three, nine pounds mark last year, I realised that the obsessive-compulsive character (it isn’t alcoholism, honestly), that demanded I  consume exactly (at least) one bottle of Merlot every night of the week was costing up to £300 a month, that I was no longer going to be earning.

But how to give up such a jolly companion? I honestly have not pulled a cork or screwed a cap (or encountered any other method of contraception) for two months now, and the way I did it was thuswise:

I simultaneously stopped buying the newspaper every day.

It worked a charm. My insight was that to give up one dependency requires one, if possible, to give up two. (The paper bank is next to the bottle bank, it was a reinforcement thing.) I’m told this is cognitive behavioural therapy in action. Plus, I’ve saved another fifty pounds a month on depressing newsprint and, to be honest, I miss neither.

In the process, I ‘ve undergone an interesting personality change: I no longer perceive  myself to be the smug, urbane, wine-glugging, Guardian-reading type that went so well with my wine addiction. It’s a part I’ve stopped playing, a Simon Hoggart or Alex Chancellor mask I don’t need to hide behind any longer.

Not owning an agreeable little villa in Tuscany, in other words, makes it easier to bear living dry in Wales.


You’re allowed to congratulate me, not the merest sniff of a bouquet has passed my nostrils now for three whole months. I could get addicted to coffee.

School’s out

I’ve just learned in a letter from The State Pension Forecasting Team that I am entitled to a full state pension, plus additional benefit, on retirement, hurrah! I have done my thirty years’ bird, plus three, and need no longer work or pay National Insurance stamps ever again. I claim my pension on 3 October, 2014. School is out, for ever!

Just as well, as I was made redundant last month, for the fifth time in 20 years.

So that’s a tick for the false teeth (no, they don’t clack and hiss, or sit stewing in a glass overnight, they’re permanent, haha!), a tick for the sports car, a tick for the grizzled old man beard, a tick for the mortgage-free house (where I am sitting staring out of the window), a tick for the Oxfam sweater and a tick for the Railcard… Now for my bus pass and a job as a lollipop man.