It seems we’re doing things a little bit backwards this year. In fact we do it every year. We’ve never been very successful at being good in January. It’s just not the kind of month when either of us want to be virtuous. It’s cold, there’s no Christmas to look forward to, spring seems such a long way away and suddenly you’re supposed to give up the booze and cake and eat leaves and drink water? Not our style I’m afraid.
I remember the year we decided to not only give up alcohol for January, but also become vegan. We had good intentions, a health boost and bit of a detox for both of us after a particularly winey cheesy festive break. It all seemed so achievable in principle. The reality was two grumpy, snappy, undernourished humans and one very confused cat! It all came to a head one evening around January 23rd when a snow storm cancelled our plans to see the ballet. For some reason that was the final straw and Mr L threw down the envelope with the tickets in them, and said “That’s IT! We’re going to walk round the corner to that Italian place, have a bottle of wine and the cheesiest dish I can find on the menu.” We did exactly that, and laughed the whole way home despite wet feet from the slush and cold noses.
As a result we long ago gave up all thoughts of “Detox January” and instead have embraced the warmth of a cup of red wine by the fire, a cheese plate after dinner and the odd dessert.
However, a funny thing almost always happens when we hit February. The citrus is in full swing, the bulbs begin to poke their leaves above the ground, it’s still light at half past four and the sun is beginning to be warming rather than wan. We cut back. Sometimes it’s conscious, but often it’s a natural mellowing. I think it’s an intuitive push by our bodies and minds towards spring and the lighter dishes we know will follow it.
As a result, this week, after a particularly indulgent dinner with friends, featuring the best beef wellington I’ve ever seen, let alone tasted, and more bottles of wine than should be admitted, we ordered 2kg of blood oranges, a tonne of spinach and set ourselves on the path to the new season. I know it’s still chilly outside, and that there is a long way to go until it’s properly spring, but sometimes you’ve got to invite it to come a little earlier.