In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Christina Georgina Rossetti’s 19th century romantic verse still sends a shiver through my bones. Yet one more reason why January seems the strangest month for a purge. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter. It’s the ying for the Summer yang. There’s a sense of perseverance, of wrapping up for long country walks to cozy pubs with roaring fires and warm beer. I have genuinely fond memories of playing rugby in the snow. For me, the initial joy of hot weather all year round on Necker Island would soon grate, as evidenced by Richard Branson’s French chef (6th Jan, BBC2). Right now the body needs spicy sausage casserole with a glass of Châteauneuf’, not kale juice and a Ryvita cracker. Save that for the Summer, when the heat suppresses the appetite anyway and you can absorb energy from the sun’s rays.


Harlequins - rugby in the snow

Harlequins RFC.


There have been a number of good articles recently on the subject of Dry January. Victoria Moore (Telegraph, 1 Jan) suggests taking it easy through Christmas and ‘drinking smarter’ (Telegraph, 2 Jan) in 2015. Lucy Hunter Johnston (The Independent, 31st Dec) lays into the ‘absurdity’ of Dry January in very entertaining manner.

Like Victoria and, I believe, much of the wine trade (exhausted by a manic pre-Christmas rush), I take it easy over Christmas and New Year – a grossly over-rated evening with once-a-year drinkers clogging up bar service and entry charges to pubs (surely a breach of our Constitutional rights?). January, when the days are already getting longer with a promise of hope, is there to be enjoyed. Here are good reasons why I will be drinking (in moderation, as ever) this month:

  1. It’s my birthday on the 14th.
  2. It’s the Yapp Brothers’ Christmas party on the 17th.
  3. I’m yomping across Hampstead Heath with friends to the excellent Wells pub this weekend.
  4. I’ve got to do my tax return one evening.
  5. Nigel Farage is doing ‘Dry January’ this year to be ‘unpredictable’.


Tom's birthday stash

Tom's birthday stash