Vauxhall in London is known for many things – the Oval cricket ground, a permanently traffic-snarled gyratory system, a disused gas works – but a pleasant afternoon drinking gin and tonics is not usually the first thing that springs to mind.
However last Tuesday I did just that, having just been exploring the brand new visitors’ centre at the Beefeater Distillery.
Beefeater – which lays claim to being the world’s biggest-selling premium gin (Gordon’s being just ‘standard’ gin, apparently – unsurprisingly Diageo disagrees) – has been made in Vauxhall since 1958 and has been a London-based spirit throughout its history.
Well – I did it. An entire January’s-worth of alcoholic abstinence.
And yes, it was a VERY long month.
But the surprising discovery for me is not only that I have far greater reserves of willpower than anyone, including myself, suspected, but that I actually like drinking – just because I like the taste.
I like the taste of it and the smell of it and I love the excitement and pleasure I feel when I find myself drinking a particularly lovely pint of ale or a fabulously tasty glass of wine.
My friends in the drinks industry won’t thank me, but I’ve joined the growing ranks of those who have sworn off booze for January.
Swearing seems to be the appropriate word too, as it’s what I’ve felt like doing every one of the 20 or so times during the last two – is it only two?! – days when I’ve remembered what it is I can’t have anymore.
There are many reasons not to do it, namely that drinking in moderation isn’t necessarily bad for you and can even be beneficial, or that it’s better to have a couple of alcohol-free days every week throughout the year rather than go cold turkey for a month and then go bonkers in bars for the rest of 2014.
What attracted me to the idea in the first place was, like with most people, the thought of the weight I’d lose and the money I’d save, both typical but perfectly laudable New Year’s resolutions.
Welcome to my leisure blog A Lady of Leisure! As a journalist covering the leisure sector for a national newspaper, I am lucky enough to spend a lot of my time having amazing experiences and meeting fascinating people. From visiting new restaurants, bar and breweries, sampling new types of food and drink, checking out new holiday concepts and resorts, visiting theme parks, watching sporting events and trying out the latest health and fitness trends, there is an lot to write about in the leisure sector.
However as I write for the financial section of the paper, all this tends to get sidelined in favour of writing about corporate activity such as AGMs and financial results rather than what their drinks or restaurants or films or holidays are actually like.