Toby Young Toby Young

I’ve swapped booze for Pot Noodles


Along with many other people, I gave up drinking for the month of January and then resumed with gusto on 1 February. But my 13-year-old son Fred, the only Christian in my household, urged me to give it up again for Lent. ‘Why not keep me company?’ he asked, having decided to forego sugar. But he didn’t just demand I stop boozing. He’d spotted the fact that when I go through a teetotal phase I compensate by stuffing my face with nuts and chocolate, thereby piling on the pounds. So he insisted I give up all three for 40 days.

At least, he told me it was 40 days. In fact, the first day of Lent was 17 February and the last day is 3 April, which is 46 days. When I mentioned I’d embarked on this superhuman marathon on London Calling, my weekly podcast with James Delingpole, several listeners got in touch to say Sundays don’t count. And they had a point. If you take the Sundays out, then the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter is exactly 40 days.

‘How about it Fred?’ I asked. ‘Shall we give ourselves Sundays off?’

I miss the drama of being a boozer – the feeling of self-loathing when you wake up with a hangover

‘You can if you want,’ he said. ‘But I’m not going to cheat.’

I thought seriously about that, obviously. In the end, though, I concluded that showing Fred how to comply with the letter but not the spirit of a resolution probably wasn’t great parenting.

Caroline had no intention of joining me and that presented a problem. How could I stop her methodically working her way through all my favourite wines during my 46-day trial? When I stopped drinking in January I kept my spirits up by splurging on Gevrey-Chambertin and Meursault, but by 16 February I still had quite a bit left.

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