Here’s my article in today’s Irish Examiner’s Feelgood. Like many here in Ireland I’m feeling a little thirsty!
Welcome to Good Friday. Forgive me if I am sounding a little raspy, but I’ve woken up with the most dreadful thirst. Don’t be a bit concerned as it’s a condition I suffer from this time of year every year, which thankfully lasts no more than twenty four hours. I usually do my best to keep the discomfort to myself, for at least a half an hour, but sometimes that just isn’t possible.
As I shuffle towards the kettle I can only nod and bravely croak a morning greeting to Himself and any gathered children. The mere thought of the day ahead has my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth and my lips parched. Maybe the tea I’m off for Lent will help my thirst? I reach for a cup and as I do I see it sitting on the top shelf; my favourite, ‘it’s no loss if it’s broken’ wine glass. Seeing it is normally a reminder of the great joy and happiness that is Friday night. But not today. Today it’s an instrument of sin. This is an alcohol free day.
“It’s not as if I’m an alcoholic,” I said to Himself last week, as I poured myself a glass of wine mid week for no reason whatsoever. “It’s just so unfair that Good Friday is on a Friday. I’d have no thirst at all if it were on a Monday.”
Unfortunately Himself is a rather rare breed, never having discovered the joy a drink or two can bring, so he was less than sympathetic to my distress, leaving my whining conversation with a mumbled and rather uncaring, “I’m sure one day won’t kill you.”
Well of course it wont, but I confess I love alcohol and I don’t see why I’m not allowed to enjoy it, guilt free?
There is a time each year when a few weeks in advance of Good Friday I live in hope that this year might be different. I awake to headlines demanding a change in the law governing the ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday. I pretend the whole debate bores me, for fear anyone would misinterpret my interest as someone with a drink problem, but every chance I get I click the link on my phone with a headline about it.
‘Minister X said it is a ridiculous law’…Great what was his name, I might vote for him next time?
‘Ban is seriously damaging to tourism’…yes I couldn’t agree more, and tourism is so important to me.
‘No alcohol is killing our restaurant trade on Good Friday’…The poor restaurant trade, what a disgrace. I am outraged.
I champion every cause and hope that this is the year common sense prevails. For a time it looks like the reformers are winning, there is lots of support out there and the headlines keep coming. I begin to hope. But every year, without fail, approximately one week before Good Friday the dreaded announcement comes, and I paraphrase here,
Crushed, with a week to go I must prepare for dry Friday. I’m sure some will wonder why I bother, but I do so in order to prove to Mr ‘I don’t need alcohol’, that I don’t need it either.
Unfortunately, by the time the evening comes my symptoms of thirst have usually escalated. Even though I am as determined and resolved as ever to maintain my fast, for health and safety reasons in the past I have had little choice but to reach for my favourite glass and administer the cure after which I must suffer yer man’s ‘I told you so’ look. As I mumble…
‘A day without meat wouldn’t kill you either.’