Shapeliness aside, the will not to drink has remained. I have not, as others have, gone for the Catholic option of Sunday lunch with wine. I do not find it difficult to say no, though there have been temptations. I returned to the restaurant I visited on Shrove Tuesday, where I drank with all the fatalism of a Titanic steerage passenger, and had the same blood-orange-and-pomegranate cocktail – minus the medicinal flavour of Campari.
Weekend evenings were what I dreaded, and it was truly difficult to resist sampling the magnum of red a friend produced at dinner one Saturday night. Half the problem is lack of a satisfactory alternative apart from water, though I have discovered, in my local trat, an Italian canned drink called Chino, which tastes a little like Cherry Coke and has enough body and bitterness to go down well with food.
One incident, though, made me wonder at the point of it all. Walking through Soho last Sunday afternoon, my heels slipped on a bit of sloping tarmac and both my legs went from underneath me. Sitting like a rag doll outside the Brewer Street car park, I looked up to see a family of four in a Volvo, staring, the sum “Soho + Sunday = Drunk” written all over their faces. Fatally, I tried to explain. “I haven’t been drinking, you know.” No dear, course you haven’t.