Monday, January 12, 2015

52 Weeks

It has been 52 weeks – an entire year – since I was last drunk. . . or hung-over the following day.

Yes, that’s how long my Moderate Drinking Regime (MDR) has continued and I see no reason why it should not last for the rest of my days.

I embarked on the MDR after a drunken night at a farmers’ shindig in Oxford last January, little knowing how it would change my life, nor what a stressful year I had in store.

Despite having been through some of my most difficult times, I have stuck to it religiously, even when I felt like binge-drinking like there was no tomorrow.

Obviously I hope 2015 is a better year. 
I have put bad things – and the bad people – of 2014 behind me.
I am focused on rebuilding my life and doing good work with good people.

My new sober life is so much better than the binge-drinking culture I once happily participated in.

Christmas went off well.

I cooked for my mum and dad on Christmas Day (turkey with all the trimmings) and we had duck at home on Boxing Day. My "biker bro" Nick, Django the Cat’s owner, joined us; I had invited him after he said he was spending Christmas on his own.

Over the festive period I gave myself some time off the endless search for work (it was hopeless anyway in December). 

There was a lot of good weather and Nick and I took to our motorbikes on several mornings for seafront excursions.

He complains a fair bit about my excessive caution and my slow speed (which, admittedly, is dangerous). The maximum I have reached so far is 32 miles per hour. There are certainly times when I should have been going faster.

Still, I enjoyed our outings, particularly the one to Shoreham, on a wonderfully sunny December morning.

Sad news. My old friend Dorothy Butler died shortly before Christmas.

I attended the funeral at Oxford Crematorium early in the New Year.

Dot was always careful not to reveal her age and I had not appreciated that she had served as a Wren in the Second World War, motoring out in a small boat to give intelligence dispatches to moving battleships.

I last saw Dot a couple of months ago at her home in Yarnton. As always she had been the epitome of intellect, culture, wisdom and kindness.
That’s about it for now. My secret assignment for the Government is almost at an end. 

I will probably never know why I was summoned to a clarty corner of Portslade to discuss life with a handler working for my old mucker IDS.

I hope I gave her some solace on her personal issues and with requested tips on growing garlic, but I guess no one will ever know the real thinking behind my mission.

Whatever it was, the assignment only took an hour a fortnight and came with a small payment, I suspect to cover lunches and drinks out.
Such was the secrecy of the role, even I never truly knew the reasons behind it. But I can say proudly, serving Queen and Country, that I did it better than most of my fellow agents who were frequently late to rendezvous with their handlers, making the most spurious excuses ("I 'ad to walk all the way from Hollingbury" et cetera). 

What would George Smiley have made of it?
On a more serious note, I am worried about my dad. He has taken a turn for the worse and is in hospital with pneumonia.
We went to see him yesterday. He seemed pretty weak. I hope and pray he makes a rapid recovery.

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