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Thursday, 10 November 2016

First FLIM NITE

That's first as in FIRST, got it?

I just wanted to say a few words about my first taste of FLIM NITE, a [performance] poetry/comedy/spoken word/music-based meditation on a chosen popular film. Last Monday, it was the turn of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away to be poured through the conceptual sieve of an eclectic mix of artists. It was really good fun.

It made me feel excited about life. Other poetry events have made me feel this way before, but FLIM NITE's extra charm comes from a sense of fearless confidence, honest experimentalism and refreshing changes of style. It wasn't all poetry by any means, however I did approach things from a poetic perspective.

I'm not a big user of technology in my work - Microsoft Word is usually as hi-tech as I get - but I enjoyed the artists' use of powerpoint presentations, music, recordings etc. There was only one instance where I'd say it was gratuitous. Also, as someone who's not generally a proponent of 'performance poetry' [as distinct from what I understand as 'slam poetry', which I think is more language-based with an emphasis on the spoken delivery, rather than delivery in general] I was still impressed with the uses of props, drama and different methods of delivery on the night. If you'd described this to me as I just have to you, I'd probably cringe, but it did work.

I was going to go into the specifics of each act, but it's really hard because there was a lot that went on, so to give you context would just take too long. There were some bits I felt didn't work so well, too, but overall I enjoyed the evening a lot. Plus, I think that right now it's more important to focus on the many positives we can, rather than try and get bogged down in much else.

This was the set list etc [minus open mic-ers]: https://www.facebook.com/events/1096035567117716/

The next one's Die Hard, in honour of Jesus being born, and if I can make it I'd love to go. I'd recommend you do too.

Peace, love and light x

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Thanks :D

A huge thank you to everyone who has donated to my 'Sober for October' page, to everyone who has supported me with kind words and to everyone who has read this blog and followed what I've been up to. The £500 target I set my sights on was hit yesterday evening, and then I added up all the money I'd saved buying non-alcoholic drinks [not as much as you'd think! The alternatives aren't very cheap, unless you're happy with water] and donated that, so it's a decent amount.

I've said elsewhere that apparently it costs about £25 to provide an hour of a Macmillan nurse's time, so there's nearly a day of help that your money has bought. The JustGiving site also says that some money rolls in after the event is over, so hopefully there's even more to come.


What next, then? Well 'tis the time for novel writing for many, as NaNoWriMo kicks off again. I tried it for the first time last year and haven't really looked at it since (think about it regularly, but ain't done nuffink), so I think I'll try doing NaNoWoMo (National Novel Working Month), where the aim is to work hard at making those 50,000 words into something more novel-like (that should involve a lot more writing first, before I even get to the stage of editing), so we'll see how that goes.


I've many other projects and blogs that are queuing up for attention too, so hopefully I'll crack on with them in good time. Also; just found out I've not had work published at one place, but have recently submitted to another, I have other opportunities to pursue, other readings to attend, other things to read, other quizzes to take part in blah blah... There's plenty to think about, none of it necessarily involving sobriety, so, yeah... Hopefully some productive times ahead [he says, as the fates throw their dice].

This has turned into a thoroughly self-indulgent post, so I'd like to bring it back to its original message and end by saying, once again:


THANK YOU!


That link again, for any straggling donations [all welcome!]: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Monday, 31 October 2016

Ending on an END

Yum...
Ok, that acronym bit is old now... What isn't old is donating money, which you can do via this link [thanks to all my donors by the way!]: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Anyhoo... Today I went out on a walk and found a bottle of Eisberg Alcohol Free Cabernet Sauvignon in one of my local shops. We used to stock it ages ago in The Wineyard, and I always wondered what it'd be like. I assumed it'd be something similar to fruit juice. At £3.49, I had to give it a go, and there I was, cracking open a bottle of wine in the mid-afternoon.

On first smell it seemed a bit sour, and on first taste it was a muted fruity affair with a bitterness akin to apple seeds, and a sort of chalky-velvet mouthfeel. Whereas the smell put me off a bit, I was reasonably happy with how it tasted. It took a while for the flavours to build up and for me to appreciate what they were - basic cherry, raspberry and maybe some blackcurrants. It's decent, but quite shallow.

Maybe all the wine needed was a bit of a breathing, and the aroma grew on me. Still a weak smell, but at least not off-putting. Yeah, bottom line, I enjoyed it. Without the body of the booze, it just isn't complex enough for me. It's not just like fruit juice, but then it kind of is too. I've paid more for 'actual wine' that has been disgusting and disappointing. This was neither. Presumably it's lower in sugar than grape juice from concentrate, and it's only 28kcal per 125ml glass, so, hey, it's got more positives on top of the taste.

Boo!
In other news, the main reason I went to the shops was to get a pumpkin. Since going sober, I've been surprised just what fills my time... It was a good little laugh, getting a bit mucky and cutting out a menacing face, a nice nostalgia journey. I even roasted the pumpkin seeds and I'm enjoying eating them right now. The only thing I would say is that, even totally sober, I shouldn't be trusted with a knife...
Ow!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

I Know Nothing Good Ever Comes of Thinking, But...

I'm so close to my target now! Just another push or two, please! https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

I was just thinking back to Friday and how much I really really really wanted a drink [I'm fine now, by the way. Feel ok, and yesterday I happily watched a frantic Liverpool game with only my Beck's Blue [and a pie... But no-one needs to know about that...]]. I had even considered, for a semi-second, buying a Golden Ticket. For those of you that don't want to click on the link I've just provided, Macmillan's Golden Ticket involves buying time off being off the booze for a minimum donation of £15. Isn't that a great idea? What a great way to raise that little bit extra! How innovative, proactive and flexible!

Guess what. I don't like it.

I was going to write a different post [posts, in fact] on why I was opposed to the 'Sober for October' campaign, but this is a good opportunity to hopefully do it more succinctly. I only decided [a couple of days before the event] to do it purely because I wanted to do something in memory of mum, but even that didn't erase the rankling annoyances that had built up.

Golden Tickets are obviously a bit of a cop-out. If you've decided to do a challenge, then surely you want to be honourable and complete it, I mean, if you've decided to embark on this process, what exactly would be the situation where you have to have that drink? A friend's birthday party? If they're a friend, I'm sure they'll understand what you're doing and why, so I think you can manage. A funeral? Well, yes, grief obviously affects us all differently, and if someone wanted to reach for a drink in a tough time I'd empathise, but it would be hoped that the participant would be able to see that this month is an opportunity to not do that, to see how you fare on rough seas without the rum tot. I've been reading a few articles about the links between sleep, depression and drink, and I'm finding it intriguing how I feel I'm doing in this sober month [given that I have a problem with depression and sleeping at the best of times]. First date nerves? Nah, use the campaign as a point of conversation, maybe big up your resilience and maturity, if that's your bag. So, admittedly without thinking too deeply, I can't come up with a good excuse for using the Golden Ticket. I'm not judging individual choices here, by the way, just remarking that the inclusion of a Golden Ticket could be an enabling/will-power eroding possibility dangled in front of innocent people who want to do some good shiz.

It's the charity itself I accuse of hypocrisy. So much was said in the TV campaigns of the health benefits, and of the idea of 'superheroism' - which I would argue [no scholarly opinions here] includes a pure idealism, something beyond reproach [not saying it's realistic, just that's my interpretation]. But, in sanctioning a frivolous short-term dismissal of the responsibilities of the challenge, Macmillan cannot be taken seriously regarding their concern over your health. I feel they guilt-tripped the public in their TV adverts, focussing on hangovers, as if one can't drink in moderation, saying that they are so unhealthy and childishly exaggerating their effects, how you can't be a functioning human being when you have one. All this chatter, but then an option to indulge again - for a price.

The ads and relating material [take this 'tick off planner' that I've been using, along with some of the blurb in the online shop] also try to encourage people's arrogance. There was a lot of "show your pride" sentiment which, quite frankly, baffles me. It goes against the ideals of heroism because a hero does good things because it is a good thing to do, not for reward, be it financial or otherwise. Pride, and especially the bragging that may come with it, go against this sentiment because they muddy the pure motives that are what heroism is all about.

Even without such an over the top elevation of participants, I think the whole idea of "showing off" that you're trying to help charity is distasteful. Why didn't they phrase it a different way, you know, 'raise awareness' rather than 'be an obnoxious nob'. The whole campaign reeked of tweeness, and, ugh, only by concentrating on my motives can I think about getting through it. I did like the focus on a brighter future in the longer TV ad, but it's silly to think that a month off the sauce is going to solve your life's problems. If alcohol was getting in the way that much, then you need to think about giving it up for good, not just a month.


Anyway, I'm going to stop this. I shouldn't take their advert so seriously, and should focus on the fact it's helped them make more money. I will just point out, though, that this isn't the first time their methods have been called into question: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2016/09/04/macmillan-s-brave-shave-campaign-comes-under-fire


Bye!

Edited 31.10.2016 to not sound as s**t.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Clocks Going Backwards

I've just seen a Marie Curie video explaining how their Nurses are going to be working through the 'extra hour' that we're going to have when the clocks go back tomorrow. Watching it, and one of their adverts that was just played on TV, it took me back to what they'd done for my mum.

They came to verify her death. They were very nice. They took off her rings and stuff, and prepared her to be taken away, then they came into the front room and sat with us. There was a lot of silence. I was in the role of brew maker, something I was almost doing on auto pilot in the later days. They sat on the couch and I can't really remember what we talked about.  One of things I was thinking then, and still do, is how it must be to witness all this death.

I thought it was unfair that they'd have to keep going through all that loss, and all the reactions of loved ones [a wide variety of emotions from deep sadness to anger, I'd imagine], but now I think it's much like a surgeon's job in some ways. Death's a part of it [obviously more so in the Marie Curie nurses' case, as their work deals with the terminally ill], and when that's 'accepted' before the event, then maybe you can focus more on the positives that are the job. For the surgeon you know you're trying to prolong life/improve quality of life, and for the Marie Curie nurses you know you're providing dignity and comfort to the dying and their close ones.

And I'm not saying that all those deaths become light like feathers and are no longer felt. I'm sure some of them are just as heavy as the first loss they ever felt. Every one is different, and I'm sure the range of responses reflect that. Actually, I don't know what I'm saying really. Just that this advert made me think. This whole changing of the clocks for most people I talk to revolves mainly around whether they get an extra hour in bed, or whether they're having one cruelly wrent from them, but for people working jobs like this, bearing it so well, it's quite amazing really.

Anyhoo... It's a couple of day left til October's over, whether sober or not. Macmillan are going to get quite a bit of money from my supporters, which is great, and I just thought I'd draw a bit of attention to another charity that did a lot for mum and the family. Maybe if they start doing kooky month-long fundraisers I'll do one of them...

Peace out x

Friday, 28 October 2016

It's just another END post today, I'm afraid. I've just published a post over at All Hail the Ale [which you can view here], so I guess I'm all blogged out. Nah, I'm not really, it's just that it's been one of those days. I'm both really grateful for the good things, and sick of everything. As much as I love you all, dear readery brethren and sistren, I haven't got the fight in me to form anything more cogent than a picture and some trite explication. Speaking of which:

Here is a Peter Spanton mixer [available from the Wineyard and Deli, by the way...] of flavour grapefruit. I'm surrounded by amazing beer, wine, cider and spirits all day long at work, and on days like today it's been hell not being able to unwind with one at the end of the shift. My next best thing [more like 'really far away from what I want thing'] is this alcohol free fizzy fruit-based drink which I don't have to walk far to get [handy, since I don't exactly get breaks...].

I like how bitter it is. It's nice, yeah.

I know it wasn't worth all the effort to read this post, but it's always worth the effort to give to charity [isn't it?]: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Some of the Songs I Like What Are About or Mention or Make Me Think of Drinking And That I'm Listening To Now With A Melancholy Ear Because I Cannot No Longer Empathise With The Narrator

I haven't checked any of the links in this post. They could, frankly, be anything, so watch out. I have, however, checked this link [https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5], so click on it please!

I Like Beer - Tom T Hall [again...]
Born Slippy - Underworld
Her Majesty - The Beatles
Whiskey Do My Talkin' - Brooks and Dunn

Red Red Wine - UB40
Chumbawamba - Tubthumping

Champagne Supernova - Oasis
Too Drunk to Fuck - Dead Kennedys
Little Old Wine Drinker Me - Dean Martin
Tequila - Bad Manners
Happy Hour - The Housemartins
Bourbon from Heaven - Dean Martin
Lego Beer Song
Jackson - Johnny and June Carter Cash
Cigarettes and Alcohol - Oasis
One Scotch One Bourbon One Beer - Amos Milburn
Champagne Taste - Univore
It Was a Very Good Year - Frank Sinatra
FairyTale of New York - The Pogues and Kirsty McColl
The Letter That Johnny Walker Read - Asleep at the Wheel
I am a Cider Drinker - The Wurzels
Escape [The Pina Colada Song] - Rupert Holmes
Drunken Sailor [What Shall we do With the -] - Traditional
Poison - Alice Cooper
Alabama Song - The Doors
Drunk - Ed Sheeran
Bedsitter - Soft Cell
Drunk in Love - Beyonce
Purple Rain - Guns 'n' Roses
Just One More - George Jones
Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer - Johnny Russell
Cold Turkey - John Lennon
Drunkard's Dream - Gene Parsons
Blue Suede Shoes - Elvis Presley
Who Shot Sam - George Jones
The Wild Side of Life - Hank Williams
There Stands the Glass - Webb Pierce
Song From the Bottom of a Well - Kevin Ayers
Dizzy Miss Lizzy - The Beatles
Doctor Robert - The Beatles
There is a Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths
Opium of the People - Slipknot
Lilac Wine - Jeff Buckley
Heard it Through the Grape Vine - Marvin Gaye

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Oh Dear...

I just told someone at one of my local pubs that I was doing Sober for October, and he said, "You guys are always at it with these months off, it's no good for the pubs."

That's always been something I worried I'd feel guilty about. Largely it's not been too bad because I've been going out and watching the football as usual [whether it's on telly or not] and, though not putting as much money through the till as I normally would, getting a few drinks and maybe snacks. It's a bit of a shame to be reminded that there are downsides to something, especially just as I was starting to feel like I was coasting to the finish line.

Ah well, it's no biggie, even in the minutely greater scheme of things. Another generous donor has given me a helping hand toward my target today, so I still feel like I'm ending the day on a high :)

Six days to go...

Want to be the next generous donor? Well, you can! https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Monday, 24 October 2016

The Plot Thickens

Did you know that, on average, it takes an hour to process one unit of alcohol? An hour of a Macmillan nurse's time could cost £25. If you help me reach my £500 target on JustGiving, you'll have helped pay for twenty hours of Macmillan help. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

What an exciting and informative introduction, eh? I like to spoil my readers, as I'm sure you've noticed, and today is no exception. It's not even over! Prepare yourself, for I am about to update you with two new ENDs. Woop woop, etc...

Erm so last night I was on this Innocent Smoothie. It was jaw-motoringly sweet and quite sharp, so it wasn't a great alternative to the ale, but hey. It's supposed to be 'energising' [or at least I assume so, based on what it's called...] but, oh lord, it didn't scratch the surface of my drowsiness. Meh. What are you gonna do?

Was in Sainsbo's today and they had a pretty decent non-alcoholic range. They got the Erdinger Alkoholfrei, Cobra Zero [I was surprised to see it, but the regular lager isn't up to much, so I don't think I'll give that a go] and the one I bought: Bavaria 0.0%.

It's really rather good. A bit lighter than the Erdinger, quite sweet-tasting - which is a downside - but pleasant and malty. I tell myself that I'm getting in touch with my Dutch roots, which is rubbish, really, and I mean who even cares? Imagine there's no countries, indeed.

Ok, tot ziens!

P.S. Only seven more days to go...


Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Wagon

Some more sadness in today's post, so maybe don't read it if you're feeling fragile. Here's the donation page anyway, though: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Don't worry. With regards to the title, I'm not trying to pull the same stunt as I did with 'Big News'. When I mention 'the wagon', it's not the booze wagon I've fallen from, but the blog wagon. Don't worry.

I just haven't been able to blog the last couple of days [don't cheer too loudly, please]. I've been busy [obviously...] and wanted to be present with someone special, rather than tell her to hang on for half an hour or so while I clatter away at the keyboard. There's not much else to it.

I was going to blog about mum, who is the reason I'm doing Sober for October in the first place. I had this giddy thought half way through my shift on Friday, that I'd soon be seeing her again, and I felt that swelling of the heart that you get when you're excited to tell someone something. Then, within a second, it was over, and I remembered I'd never be able to see her again. This contradiction gave me mental whiplash, and I was confused as to where the thought had come from, then annoyed that I'd tricked myself with such a beautiful dream, and then I thought, "What's the point in going over it?" I just think it's hard not having that someone around that you trusted to bounce ideas off, especially as this relationship was getting stronger the past couple of years. I hope you don't mind me just blurting all this out.

It's certainly not all been doom and gloom here, though. A visit from close family and friends through the week has, though momentarily, changed the character of this house again. The old cliche, perhaps, of 'home' over 'house'. It's not just strong female presences that make this place seem full of life again, and neither is it 'simply' a case of other people's love filling the space once more. Well, if anything can be gleaned here, it's probably that I'm the least likely person to be able to draw a meaningful conclusion from this situation, so I'll just remain happy with the facts.

Speaking of which, I was talking to someone down the pub yesterday [I was on coke, then lime and soda by the way...] about the importance of time with loved ones, and the gentle joy you find. This bloke had lost both his parents inside a ten-year period, and time hasn't made him miss them less. I was telling him that it's a shame we teach people the value of the present, the power they have to express love, to spend time and effort with/on special folk. Some people can't get it, though, until loss happens to them. With that, my friend walked off to the bar. Anecdote over.

Post over.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Missing the Point

My poor, poor toe...
 To the left to the left is a picture of my ill toe. It has nothing to do with this post, or my Sober For October journey, but I'm in such a lot of distress, and it really is such a shame, it's just awful... The only thing I think could possibly help me and my recovery would be you donating on my page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Last weekend I was at the Lancaster Music Festival. It was a lot of fun, but bloody busy. I was in one of the fine Luneside hostelries, which was so busy that they had to open up one of the back doors to let air circulate and keep things cool. I was sat near this open door and got a whiff of the old casks that must've been out back. As I was breathing in the smell of sour beer, all I could think of was how much I miss bar work. The dirt, the physicality and the camaraderie you get with your workfellows, and the customer interchange as well.

Obviously the times could be very hard. Too hard, in some ways. I remember a bank holiday shift once where the kitchen staff were rushed off their feet [I think one out of three of them was ill, so they were down to two anyway] and one of the remaining guys walked out. I had to go around and tell anyone who'd ordered that they wouldn't be getting their food, and telling anyone who wanted food that they couldn't get it, all the while having to contort my body to squeeze myself through a solid maze of customers that at least doubled my journey between gantry and glasswash room. But you knew you'd done a good job by the end of it. And, dare I say it, I wasn't the worst bar person in the world.

Also, as I've been in work at The Wineyard, I've been evaluating things. I've been asking myself the ol' question of whether I should give it up altogether. But, as pointless as it sounds, I like the chat with people about flavours, about appreciation of the products, about facilitating people having fun.

The point is, I'm a part of the alcohol trade. I have been almost all my working life so far, and though it has its downsides [which I will wisely not mention here...] there are many good facets to it. And many of them don't require you to necessarily partake in the drinking.

Well my original intention for this post was to write a hard line on how much fun there is on the world, even within the industry, that doesn't need booze consumption, and how I, or even we, could be very happy without it. But I've written a worm in there, the whole thing about being able to talk about tastes, which usually involves me drinking. And really, it's obvious that all one needs to do is spit out the drink afterwards and avoid getting drunk, but I have to say I can't see myself spitting out pints [especially not in the pub - could you imagine?]. But then, to be honest, I couldn't imagine myself doing this Sober For October thing a few weeks ago either.

Haha, how typical of me. I had a good idea, a simple one, and I was all ready to just put it down and maybe make you think. Instead, I've made myself think - too much - again, and now I'm not sure. Can I work in this trade without drinking alcohol? Sure. Reasonably easily, in fact. Can I work in this trade and enjoy not drinking alcohol? Much harder. For me at least...

Again, it's a terrible argument, but I always come back to 'humanity'. Yes it's more than probable that because of the decadent country I live in, it's rather easy to push this idea, but life's full of things we don't need, but more than keep us living, they make us feel alive. Passions in any area, you know, they're all a part of us. Beer especially just happens to be mine. I know it doesn't have to be as I can derive joy from many other areas of my life, but I do get something out of it. Right now this just feels like me trying to justify going back on the sauce to me, so I'll just stop...

I tried to make a positive case for abstinence, I really did. Right now, though, the positive case is your donations. They're keeping me sober throughout this month, so if you can and want to chuck a bit of money towards Macmillan's work, you can either do it on my page or just in a can somewhere...

Peace out.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Just As Well

You know the drill: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Sorry blog friends, I'm ill again and not up to producing my usual high standard of blogcraft. I just got over a cold earlier in the month, and had hoped that I had at least enough antibodies to keep me healthy for, oh, I don't know, maybe a bloody fortnight at least... And to top it all [or 'bottom', really], I've just had another session of surgery on my toe nail. It's been pretty painful this last couple of weeks, and I'm sure you'll thank me for not sharing a picture of all the discharge I've been dealing with. Anyway, now that I've completely annoyed and sickened you all with my moaning and disgusting truths, I'd like to take the time to assure that, despite the current situation breeding a 'f*** it' kind of atmosphere - one in which I'd really rather like to crack open a bottle of something strong and unwind in front of an action film - I am still sober. I was even offered a taste of two new beers from Tiny Rebel that came into the shop yesterday, but I turned down even the possibility of spitting it out after tasting, just in case I accidentally swallowed any. 

There was another great opportunity to sling a couple of beers down my neck on Monday, during the Liverpool game against Man U, but I didn't take it. It's interesting, especially since I've talked before about how I perceive alcohol to change the passage of time, that I think the pace of a game [even a big one like that] seemed the same, despite being on Beck's Blue shandy [I had a bottle of the stuff recently that tasted like vomit - yes it was in date - and I wanted to try it with lemonade to try and avoid that awfulness]. The first half seems to go quite slowly. Especially in a game where you are waiting for someone to burst the dam and let the flood waters free, I think. But then the second half rockets by, until about seventy minutes in, then eighty minutes crawls as you're checking the clock to see how likely a goal could be at this stage, to see how long a substitute has to change the game [giving Origi four minutes wasn't inspired. He's a decent enough player to be given longer, but hey, it is what it is now], and whatever else.

I suppose the biggest difference between the drunk and the sober game-watching is probably emotion. You get more vocal when drinking, usually, and of course you can 'forget yourself' a little bit and can get even more absorbed in the game because you're not conscious of so much of the stuff you're usually worrying about. The big thing with the drink is the fact that it's a depressant and, come win, lose or draw, you can find your mood dip after leaving the social circle you've just been enjoying. But I don't want to get too far into this, being as though I find the same thing happens when I'm sober after playing sport [I always assumed it was as the endorphins wore of], or even just on a quiet day one can go up and then very down. That's depression for ya.

It was a tense affair [though some have said 'turgid'], one where efforts by either side to be more proactive in attack could've left spaces in the defense that might've proven a weakness. Had it been a six-goal thriller, I could easily have, without thinking, had big gulps of a beer and ended up drinking lots, so it's just as well the result was goalless. Had Liverpool won, I would've been tempted to celebrate, had it been a loss I might've wanted to drown my sorrows.

Now, if you were to ask me if the result was fair, I'd probably say it was justice. Well...

Monday, 17 October 2016

Over Half Way

Ticking off the days.
You say you want a revolution we-ell you know, this link isn't going to help you achieve one. It will give you the chance to do some good, though: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Wellity wellity wellity [stop that], I'm over half way through the Sober For October challenge. Apart from a lot of complaining, some persistent withdrawal symptoms and a boredom issue, it's gone alright so far. I would almost say I'm enjoying it, but not quite.

I'm in a weird situation with my daily blogging ritual. There's a tension between trying to update you with things that [I think] are noteworthy about my personal experience of the month and also trying to make it not about me with more general musings on the concept of it, then even more removed information about alcohol and the culture of drinking. I find it hard to avoid making reference to such a milestone, though, and I'd like the chance to gather some thoughts [such as they are].

I was about to be downbeat, because donations reached such a sudden standstill. Since this is the first time I've done an online donation thing, I don't know what's 'normal', really, though this slackening of pace definitely doesn't feel promising. Anyway, as I said, that was before. Yesterday I had a couple of mateys of mine who wanted to make offline donations [which I've added to my JustGiving page already], and one of them gave me a really nice card to say well done and keep strong, so now this is a happy post.

I know in some ways what I'm doing isn't a massive thing, you know. It's not doing an ultra-marathon in a hot air balloon bunjee jump over a shark infested pond [or whatever the kids are into these days], but I can't deny that it means something to many people, and will do some good when Macmillan get the moolah. In that sense, it means a lot to me too. I've got the memory of my mum, the strength of my friends and family and the knowledge of a charity receiving help to drag me out of my usual cynicism surrounding the efficacy of things and into a positive frame of mind.

I was also talking the other day about how the mind reacts to sums of money in these instances. When £250 was all but reached in a few days, I was amazed. It's more than my weekly wage, and raised in much less time. After upping the target, though, it raised the anxiety that I wouldn't reach it. It became less about the reality of what the money 'means' and more about the process of pushing to reach the goal. I don't know if I'm explaining it very well, but there was a shift between the early overwhelming gratitude toward a sort of voracious attitude. I suppose it's more understandable considering I'm not going to see any of the money myself, so therefore I feel like it's a more qualitative attachment.

Well that's about as much sense as I'm going to make, I suppose...

Wine's what I've really been craving lately but, as always, you guys keep me ploughing the sober furrow. Thank you!

Peace, love and light x

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Rolling Along.

As a great man once said, you're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on. But that's got nothing to do with anything. Click this link and donate some of yer readies, please: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

I'm sure you're already thirsty for another Exciting New Drinks post, so fear not, as this is one. You know, there's going to come a time in the not-too-distant future, when the world's infrastructure collapses, that blog posts will replace food and water. Humans will evolve to take digitally disseminated data as sustenance, you mark my words. But anyway, this post isn't going to be about that... This post is about Erdinger Alkoholfrei.

First, though, I must talk about Beck's Blue. This is, as I have said before, the most common alcohol-free lager that I've seen on my travels. It's okay if you want to get a bit of a bitter tang, but it has a bit of an overly-metallic aftertaste that stops me from really enjoying it, and in general reminds me that it's not proper beer. It is common with some European lagers to get a bit of a metallic taste [I think some of the Alsatian hops tend to have it. At least, cheap French lagers are generally the ones I taste this in], but not to this extent. In short, it's an ok drink, not more compelling than that.

Second, I must talk about Rothaus Alkoholfrei. This is, in my opinion, better than Beck's Blue. It has less of the metallic aftertaste, which would already make it a winner, but the roundedness of the lager flavour is there as well. The bitterness and the malty notes balance well, and there's even a decent mouthfeel. Good stuff, but still not quite there.

NOW is the time to talk about Erdinger Alkoholfrei. Or should I waste another paragraph talking about something else? No, I suppose I'll put you out of your misery... This beer is so nice, I think that if I can get another bottle to take home with me, I might review it on All Hail the Ale, a site which reviews and revels in beer in all shapes and sizes. The strap-line for this beer is that it's the closest non-alcoholic beverage to beer that I've had. They are very keen to highlight its health properties [it's isotonic [apparently all alcohol-free stuff naturally is, according to the Rothaus website, but I digress] and full of vitamins, so they say], but I'm just focussed on the taste. One site I looked at described its genuine wheat beer taste. I'd say it was heavily malty, and a bit bready, but not much like wheat beers I've had. They're usually sharper/crisper and with a sort-of fresh wheat, dryish mouthfeel [yes I realise that sounds stupid. I'm having trouble saying what I mean [as usual]]. Regardless of my differing of opinion with respect to how to describe it, all I want to say is that the flavour was great, I enjoyed it, and I'll definitely seek it out in future.

Now I'll really put you out of your misery by signing off. Byeee!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Highlight

I've been getting a decent amount of traffic on this site recently (thank you to everyone who visits and reads :) ), so it seems like a good time to draw attention to another worthwhile cause. I'd like to highlight a family friend's page. You can read their story if you click on the link, and it really is educational. I was getting some updates in person from one of the family members, but I didn't have any conception of how harrowing the whole process has been this far.

Anyway, they're great guys, doing a great thing for a great charity. Doing a marathon knocks going sober for a month into a cocked hat, really, so please be generous.


I just think about how much of a rich, fulfilling life another person can have now, thanks to the intervention of the experts this charity supports. Peace, love and light, everybody.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Paul-Rossall1

Friday, 14 October 2016

The Days Amble Away Like Tame Sheep Down the Street

"Donating is like art, you know. It requires supreme efforts, and then the audience, y'know, completes the circuit... makes it whole." https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5
Photo take waaay before Sober for October started, dear readers.
The past few months have sped by, but I always suspected that this month would drag. I'm not blaming this phenomenon on lack of beer. It probably has more to do with the fact I'm dissecting everything on this blog :P If einmal ist keinmal, then blogging [perhaps all writing?] is surely everything, having been re-lived and [further] re-formed. Anyway, that's enough of that. What I originally wanted to talk about was the pace of life this October. It seems very slow. Not quite at the interminable point - yet - but worryingly draggy.

I remember how it often used to be. Drink sort of lubricated time. I don't want you to think I'm wishing my life away or anything, but at work, for example, the day used to go quicker after a couple of drinks the night before. Well, in general. Sometimes, if in pain, it could feel even longer, but that's mainly down to how busy you are. There's a chance I'm completely wrong, of course, but I feel it's true.

Without this liquid change of pace, the days feel like squares, rather than irregular chunks stretched this way and that by your perception. I'm sure for most people the squares are a good thing. And I'm not saying I think it's a bad thing for me, I'm just saying it's different. I can tell you that I'd like it a lot more if I had certain of my ducks in certain other rows [apologies for the ambiguity, but I'll leave it in]. I think this frustration I have is at the root of all of this introspection and, occasionally, the urge to crack open a great-tasting, momentarily refreshing beverage and feel its warming proof help release me a little. Ah what the hell am I on about... This amount of sobriety just feels a bit weird, is all.

I realise that some of the allure of alcohol's [perceived] time-bending powers is down to the lack of control I have in life. I don't mean that in a whiny, 'I Me Mine' way. As humans, none of us have that much control, and if we think we do, we're probably deluded. It's best to embrace this, but as a weak person, I still sometimes fall for cheap tricks. I used to think that my choice, and the results, were all factored in and fine, but didn't realise that a) wanting control is always going to lead to suffering [indeed, wanting to avoid the inevitable or change the impossible in general], especially since, as I pointed out before, this 'method' didn't always work for me, b) there are other effects to regular consumption [the risk of cancer, the general time and work it takes to get rid of toxins from the body, the money blah blah] and c) you can be more powerful if you use yourself, rather than a crutch, to get where you want. It's in this spirit that I've actually wondered if I ever might give up booze altogether.

I doubt it. You never know though. All things must pass, after all...

Thursday, 13 October 2016

This is an END, My Only Friend an END

Yes, it's that time again! An Exciting New Drinks [END] post! Bet you've all been champing at the bit since the last one.
"When's our next END?"
"I want another END!"
"END now!" are probably some of the things what you've been shouting into your computer screens. But that's not an effective way to communicate.

Anyway... Here's some delicious root beer. It continues to be a mystery to me why root beer is not at least as popular as Irn Bru in this country. I would say 'as popular as coke', but those big hitters in the soft-drink league are way out ahead because of all their disgusting, inhuman and evil practices which have led to them to make a ton of money and become one of those 'non-monopoly monopolies'.
 
I wish I had some root beer right now...
Taken by the fabbest photographer I know.
Surely it's worth checking to see if my JustGiving page is less boring than this post? https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

'Good for You'

I've been reading this IFL Science! article that shows there are health benefits to drinking hoppy ales. In case you didn't know [and why would you, unless you've been reading All Hail the Ale?], hoppy ales tend to be my favourites. The hoppier the better. Stupidly hopped beers, ones that put people off with their lack of balance and uber-bitterness, are my bag, baby.

You'd possibly expect me, therefore, to be jumping for joy, and maybe even giving up on Sober For October, just so I can help reduce liver fat by slurping away at a cask of 'Hoptimum'. But no. I realise that 'one benefit' doesn't equal 'completely beneficial'. It might just be me reading this into headlines [i.e. inference, rather than implication], but I'm sick of all these twee and buzzy titles and comments on the internet, not least when it concerns something that has to be treated with respect, which is the kind of thing this article summons.

The IFL page that I follow on Facebook was by no means guilty of the worst of this flippancy with regards to the comment they put when they shared the article, which was something like, "I know what I'm having tonight..." If I was to come down hard on this, it would just confirm that I'm nothing but a humourless curmudgeon. My problem is more with the 'culture' [if that's an apt term] of saying deflectory [deflectory because they avoid talking seriously or meaningfully about a topic] things like this. A few of my friends sharing the above piece made the same reference I made before, about drinking irresponsible amounts of it to 'load up' on the one positive that the article describes, knowingly [at least, I hope they know] leaving out the negatives. I know they're not being serious, but repeating these ideas of dangerous excess is just odd. Why do so many people [in my experience] feel the need to say these things?

I was speaking to someone today who'd bought a bottle of wine and had also been given a glass as a promotional freebie. As she was leaving, she said something about 'going off to drink this on the street'. As a 'joke', I believe. Drinking alone is one of the red flags for alcoholism, and I'm sure cracking open a bottle of booze as soon as you leave a shop, then consuming it all on the cold concrete outside is probably an indicator too. Again, I know she wasn't being serious, but why is this attitude so pervasive? As I work in an off-licence I get these comments multiple times a day. It strikes me as an out-of-date joke that a no-longer relevant comedian might make, one that's ingrained in our recent-past popular culture to the point where it becomes an automatic reply to a prompt. An example [from the 80s film Airplane] would be if you tell someone "Surely that can't be right," and they say "Don't call be Shirley!" That example is harmless, but the ones I'm talking about surrounding booze aren't, really. They're sort of like using the word 'bossy' to predominantly describe girls. If you can't see that the issue is pervasive and rooted in our language behaviours, be it sexism or attitudes to alcohol and its abuse, then you might be using language in a way that reinforces and normalises dangerous habits, especially when impressionable minds are within earshot.

And before you accuse me of being a terrible duffer, attacking comedy for the aims of destroying all joy in the world, just ask yourself if you even find these references funny? If you are ill, but decide to drag yourself into work anyway, would/do you find it flattering that a string of strangers ask you "Was it a good night last night?" as if you must be 'on it' every night, and that's the only possible reason for you feeling under the weather.

Again, I can't comment on the culture in other countries, but I think this country is still odd and backward in some of its ways. Sure, there are moves to become more enlightened but there's an institutionalised stain on people's thinking. And, you know, that's very human of course. These things have built up over a lot of time and they are hard to phase out. I understand that, and also that expecting to completely eradicate anything is surely a path to suffering, but this is at least my stand and my attempt to try and influence thought for the better.

We all know exaggeration is a lazy way to get a point across, and I'm sure as readers of this estimable blog you all have the intelligence to be impervious to such cheap tricks, but this blog has been scientifically proven to make your life awesome, so you should read a thousand posts. Go on. It'll be good for you.

If every word in this post was worth a penny, it'd be worth £8.09 [£8.12, including title]. Speaking of pennies, if you have any spare that you'd like to give to charity, you can do by clicking on this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Funny Story

Tonight I watched England play Slovenia in a pub. I was in the pub, the players were on a pitch in Ljubljana... Anyway, I know what you're thinking, 'With no limiting effects on your concentration and memory, you must really have enjoyed that game tonight.' Well you're wrong. So horrendously wrong...

Watching the England men's team crawl to a draw tonight was like living through a hangover induced by consuming a Trump-sized [and shaped] vessel of cheap lager. If anything, it has done more damage to my well-being than any chemicals could. My non-dampened senses only served to make me perceive the horror of a game where all our best periods of play were assisting the opposition attack even more keenly.

I'm not saying that Gareth Southgate's England are as woeful as Theresa May's England, far from it. All I'm saying is that they become less and less inspiring to me, and it's becoming an effort to watch them. On paper they're great individuals, with who knows how much potential, but then it seems they lack a plan, basic errors abound [tonight it seemed all the members of the team were trying to win a game of football chicken with Joe Hart] and I can't see us beating anyone. I'm quite miserable now, but at least come November when I'm back drinking [and when Scotland beat us] I'll be miserable and drunk.

Oh come on, would you really deny me pain relief while I sit through this stuff? That would be cruel.

If you're waiting for the punchline to this 'funny story', it is this: if I'd had my drinks tonight, I wouldn't be in any shape to write such a long and lifeless post, and you wouldn't have had to have read it. So is beer really all that bad?

Monday, 10 October 2016

I Like Beer

Oh my god I want a beer...

I've been thinking about writing a post over at the other blog I write for, All Hail the Ale, but worried it would be too much torture reliving the experience of a lovely drink when I'm not able to consume any. Since then, I've been thinking about drinking quite a lot.

I was out shopping in the centre of Morecambe today and visited a couple of discount shops. When it comes to libatables, they always have a new and eclectic mix of stock, presumably because they buy in what's cheap at the time, which will obviously change quite a bit. I just couldn't prepare myself for for what I was looking at. Row upon row of regional ales, international lagers, wines and sparklings, even some mini-liqueurs that looked interesting. All cheap too. I definitely recommend, for those of you who are comfortable with your drinking, Home Bargains and B&M Bargains. It's a go-to treasure trove whether you're looking for something familiar or want to give something new a try. Put it this way; it was tense as I walked down the aisle, two of my minds battling it out, one whispering "Pick up the bottle," and the other shouting "Don't let me down!"

The voice of reason [that is to say, the pro-sober voice!] won out, and I neither bought nor consumed any booze. But it stuck with me. All weekend I've been in some new pubs [due to a visiting Huddersfield and Manchester], and some of the selections have been astounding, notably Anarchy Brew Co beers on tap, and a load of more local ones I'd not seen before. All so close, yet so far...

I've been on the Beck's Blue [in fact, if you're looking for a non-alcoholic beer in this country, it seems you have beaten lottery-like odds if you come across anything other than Beck's Blue. But I digress...]. It sort of satisfies my palate's pleasure-hunt for hops, which is what I thought I was missing, but it doesn't hit the spot fully at all. It makes me wonder, in fact, whether there's something deeper in my love of the taste of beer. Maybe the alcohol is a big part of it?

Nah, that's too much of a stretch. It's impossible to say what it'd be like if other beers were non-alcoholic, because I just don't see them. I've seen three non-alcoholic beers for sale in this country - Beck's, Erdinger and Warsteiner. I've only tried one, because I've only found one while I've not been drinking. They're all lighter, lagery type beers, nowhere near the selection at all that there is in the 'full fat' versions. I know why, of course: there won't be the demand. It's the same at the Wineyard. About one person every six months will ask if you have any alcohol-free drinks. So I'm not complaining about the availability, I'm just saying that it's practically impossible to be satisfied in the way that I was.

But it's not my right be satisfied. Suffering comes from expecting such things.

Just promise me one thing. If you're having a beer tonight, please enjoy it...

You know the deal. Click the link, give the money, feel the good: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Sunday, 9 October 2016

New Sensations

Other brands are available. But they're not as good...
Here marks the beginning of a new series for Blogtastic: the Exciting New Drinks [END] series. In this series of posts, I will share with you some of the exciting new drinks [clue's in the name] I encounter on my Sober journey. Calm down now, don't get over-excited. Oh okay, get over-excited, because I'm kicking it off with a double header!

On the left was the J2O Spritz what I tried, apple and watermelon and flavour, and, on the right, a spiced tomato juice. As you can see in the picture, I didn't mix them. The former was a nice change from the overly-sugary regular J20s and cokes, had a pleasant flavour, and the latter was a nice change from drinks that don't involve tomatoes. Actually, after drinking the tomato one I felt very weird and had an out-of-body experience.

I won't tell you how I felt after the next five bottles...

Have a click. You know you want to! https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Don't Make Me Laugh

Linky link to givey givey pagey page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

I've just been reading this article on eight things that are supposed to happen when you give up drinking.
Since it's day eight, I figured I really should be feeling every single benefit there is, right? Wrong. What I write next will blow your mind.

1. You'll sleep more soundly: Absolutely not! This has been one of the worst weeks of sleep in my whole life. Decrease in Alpha waves in the brain leading to less activity before bed? More like an increase in arsey waves in the brain leading to more activity before bed!

2. You'll consume less at dinner: No! It wasn't booze that made me a pig, that's just who I am. Still eating as if I'm trying to fill a hole.

3. You may also feel new sugar cravings: Finally, something this article got right! Aaand it turns out to be bad for you. Sugar is bad, man, that's why Coca Cola puts it in its drinks, 'cause it's evil, yeah?


4. Pounds will start to fall off: What, outta my wallet? 'Cause soft drinks are expensive in pubs! But no, in all seriousness, I've not started to lose any weight. What kind of a world do we live in where a week's abstinence from alcohol, an increase in eating and absolutely no change in activity doesn't make you slimmer?

5. Hello, clear complexion: Nein nein nein nein nein nein! Although, let's be real, I suffered from really bad acne as a child, so maybe this isn't a fair point.

6. You'll have more money: Oh, so the lack of drinking has cured my poetry-buying addiction has it? My need to top up my Stagecoach Smart Card every week? The various lawsuits I'm involved with and legal fees incurred [for never-you-mind what!]? Don't make me laugh, I'm practically a pauper!

7. Envy will overcome you when you're around others who are drinking: Oh don't be so soft. This just isn't true. I think it's nice that people are enjoying themselves, just like I used to. I think it's great, honestly. And I don't miss the stumbling about, the crying down a phone - standing on broken high-heels - to friends who've left you alone in a club. I respect other people's choice to have fun. Though if the opportunity arose to... No! No. It's fine, really.

8. Your risk of cancer falls, though your heart disease risk may creep up: Hooray, less risk of cancer! Job done, no worries, successssss!

By the way, next year I think I'll raise some money for the British Heart Foundation, the Stroke Association, and Diabetes UK...

There we go, all those myths debunked, and all before tea time. No need to thank me, I'm just being an awesome person.

Peace out.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Great Stuff

A non-alcoholic cheers :)
The link's not worn out just yet. You can still click it and give :) https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

I've just found out that we've gone over the halfway point toward my £500 target. That really is great stuff, and I just want to say thanks again to those that have donated, and, perhaps rather cheekily, urge those of you who are willing and able to donate not to forget :) £250 was my original target. JustGiving automatically set it to some random number like £798 - don't ask me why it wasn't a round number - and at the time I thought, 'I'll never get near that. I'll go for something a little more realistic.'

As you will know if you've managed to keep up with my many updates, I nearly hit £250 early on, hence my decision to up the amount. I know the rate of donations can't keep going as it did, but it's a good feeling to get over the half way point so early on. I think my next stop will be family and friends that I know will be interested in what I'm doing, and hopefully able to spare some money themselves [so watch out]. It really is great stuff, though. For me, £250 is over a week's wage, so it's genuinely humbling that so much has been raised at all, let alone with such startling rapidity. For this, I say thanks again.

I suppose this is all I want to say about the amount raised until I get [with blessings] nearer to £500. Who knows, I may even have to make the threshold even higher. Great stuff, great stuff. I'm so happy that there's so much positive energy out there and that so many of you are with me, and by extension mum, my family, our friends. We're all here, together, doing well, and it's great.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Day Six

 Got some spare old money lying around that you don't know what to do with? Why not give it to charity? This one seems as good as any: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Today's just been crap, really. I was emotional this morning because of a song I'd heard on the radio. It got me thinking about mum and other close friends and family that have passed over the years. Then I went out to work, and it wasn't the most fulfilling of days. It was very quiet, due to yet more local roadworks, and I was left alone with my thoughts for a long time. I found myself reverting to my habit [that word again...] of looking at all the beer bottles in the beer room and wondering which I'd like to have after my shift. Of course, that would have been a direct contravention of the my Sober October agreement, so was out of the question.

Mum is my motivation today. Yes, I've had some more generous folk donating to the page, but I needed more today. One of the last times I remember mum saying she was proud of me was when I'd graduated from university. Looking back, I'm actually prouder of her. As the picture shows, she has grey hair. Before chemotherapy made her lose her hair, she used to dye it, but after it grew back, she wanted it natural. The reason I'm saying this is so that you can see that, despite being in the middle of her fight with cancer, she still came out to support me at the graduation ceremony with a brave face. I think she enjoyed it, and she was proud, but as I say I'm proud of her too.

I've already said it, but the idea of not drinking for a month would've made mum raise an eyebrow. She would've asked why on earth I'd want to go and do something like that. But I think she'd've been happy in the knowledge I was doing something healthy [after all, she has seen me in some right states. Singing Elvis in the bathroom before falling asleep on the loo wasn't exactly a high point...], and touched as well, had she known that she was the inspiration behind the endeavour.

Never miss an opportunity to show you care for someone. And if you can lend a helping hand to those that could do with it, like Macmillan who helped her as she reached the end of her life, then it's great to do it.

Peace out.

Two Torn Halves: Against National Poetry Day

Two Torn Halves: Against National Poetry Day: The problem is life. Every time you think you are breathing you are fucking the dead. The problem is the midlands. Every time you read a boo...

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Day Five


All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy. All work and no alcohol makes Martin a dull boy.

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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Having a Habit Habit


I must say that I've been missing alcohol today. In the shop I work in, we offer tasters of some of our wares, which currently include three different vodka-based drinks flavoured with Kendal mint cake, gingerbread and toffee. Simply put, they are amazing, and I say that as someone without a sweet tooth. Anyway, my point is that today there was a customer who wanted a sample of these drinks, and they were obliged. After they'd left, I was alone with the pungent smells of these drinks as they lingered in the air. I noticed that there was a bit of the drink left in the bottom of the glass, and had a sudden urge to finish it off, before, like a whip, I snapped back to the reality of the situation.

Don't worry, though. I can confirm that I am still completely sober.

The thing I'm most concerned about is that I seem to be eating more. This normally happens when I decide to halt the alcohol consumption, so it doesn't come as a surprise, but it is disappointing. I don't seem to have too much a problem taking action, it's the side-effects that get me. I feel like I'm in some whack-a-mole cartoon where I'm trying to mallet a mole as it sticks its head up through holes in my lawn. Whenever I hit the mole that sticks its head through the alcohol hole [or 'alocohole'], it pops right back up the food hole. It sounds horrendous, I know. I'm so privileged that I can indulge myself in this way, and I carry guilt for it.

Basically, I have a habit habit. It's also known as 'greed'. I'm hoping that this period of adjustment is over soon, and I don't stop getting the cravings to have a drink or stuff scran down me throat. Either way, Sober October is a chance to show myself that have will power. That'd be nice, as I don't feel that I have any at the mo.

As for the general greed, that's something I'm working on too. We'll see - on both counts.


Give us yer money (pretty please)! https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Monday, 3 October 2016

Big News

Listen. I'm really sorry to tell you this, but I've got to come clean. I thought maybe I could sweep it under the rug and carry on as normal, but I can't. It's eating me up inside. I've got to tell tell you that I had a beer this evening. Don't worry, though, dear readers, it was only a ginger beer! HA HA HA! Don't say I didn't get you with that little hook, because I know I did!

Anyway, now we've had our little moment of hilarity, I'll get on with the normal stuff...

When I decided on a regular blogging schedule for my month off the booze, I thought I was mainly going to talk about the overall campaign, with a smattering of posts moaning about having clear heads, better sleep, more money left over and having less fun. So far, though (and yeah, I know it's only the third day...), I've focussed more on the experience of doing it. Since things are probably going to be the same in that respect until, I reckon, a couple of weeks in (where my thirst tends to get to me, based on previous times I've done this kind of thing), I want to move on from that. I hear there's only so much rubbish blog readers will put up with...

The actual big news today is that, thanks to donors' amazing generosity, my original target of £250 has been all but fulfilled already. Since I don't want anybody's feet being taken off any 'gases', I've doubled the aim. As I said in a recent update, to get near to £500 would probably make me speechless, so that's a good reason to give up some of your hard-earneds isn't it?

Anyway, that's it from me. I've just enjoyed a lovely reading at The Other Room, and, as soon as I can, I must go to bed before I fall over.
Want to donate? You can do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Day Two

I was working at a beer festival today. In some ways this is the same story as yesterday; I was in the prime location for maximum potential enjoyment of a beverage or ten, but I didn't partake. Again, a new raft of ultra-generous givers made this easier, and thinking of all the lovely people who've donated so far has been a great help, but there're still some odd new feelings milling around.


I wouldn't say I'm struggling (yet!). In fact, a soda and lime and, later, a coffee have been refreshing and energising options, if not the most stimulating to the inner mind and the experiential faculties. It just still feels different somehow, and the feeling is changing from day to day.


I'm not desperate to drink, and I'm conscious that I'm enjoying the alcohol-free alternatives but there's something else... I don't think it's an aversion to arbitrary constraints (some kind of revulsion at a self-imposed authority), because what I feel isn't exactly frustration, or any of the other things I've felt before. I sort of feel at a loose end. Ish. I sometimes feel that I can't 'get right' (and admittedly have used alcohol before to try and 'get my buzz back' or 'feel a bit more human'), but what I'm feeling now isn't owt like that either. So I don't know what I'm on about... Well that was worth reading wasn't it? Bet you're glad you visited Blogtastic today...


Anyway, soon I'll have an update that isn't absolutely meaningless twoddle, so hopefully you'll persevere and I'll catch you then. Tata!


Show 'em the link, Jimmy! https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5