Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Take me back

Remember me?
I know, I've been away on an extended break, I said I'd be right back but I got caught up. It was quite mad actually, I just decided that while I was out anyway that I might as well not bother going down the pub and while I wasn't at the pub I decided not to have a pint. You know the story, not having one pint leads to not having another pint and then not another and before you know it, it's Christmas and your not getting pissed all over the show, not waking up with less than perfect liver function and definitely not worrying about driving in the mornings.
But I'm back now, mainly due to my Mum, Paddy, Spank, Toby, Ryans and everyone else who's been commenting on the recent lack of posts. So thanks to you for encouraging me to reach for the quill again. And everyone else? What the jeff are you doing that's so important that your not checking this blog everyday? You want workin' on.
I would also like to thank everyone who has sponsored me too, so far the total is £616, there have been some very generous sponsors and I'm very grateful for every penny. Thank you all very much!
I also want to mention Ol' Spank at this point, in my last post (24th of August!) I mentioned that he had decided to join me for a month of abstinence in September. Well, he did join me and he raised £330! BRAVO!!! Well done cock!

So onto the topic of how this is actually going. Well... It's actually going pretty good! It's been 5 months now and I haven't once been tempted to have a drink, I have enjoyed the occasional smell of someones pint but that's pretty much it. I still sometimes buy wine for cooking and there are several bottles of spirits in the fridge but, surprisingly I've never been tempted. I'm quite astonished at how easy this actually is, it doesn't feel as though I've had to apply and great will power or summon some deep inner strength, just don't drink. Simple as that. Now if only I could apply the same logic to my habits of driving the wrong way down the motorway and setting fires in post box's I'd be a much better person.
As you can imagine I'm not particularly enthused about spending time down the pub at the moment, it's still quite alien to be ordering a brew or a lime and soda for George and for me. I often wonder what the barman or the other patrons think of me, sitting there with my non alcoholic beverage, I wonder if their judging me, do they think I'm on medication? An alcoholic on the wagon? Probably nothing, like I do if I see other people with a soft drink, who cares?
I did go on my works doo recently though, I dread the Christmas works doo. So much so I decided last year that I wouldn't go and probably wouldn't go on one again. The preparations for the Christmas doo kick off around September, with tales of how pissed everyone got last year, who shagged who, who fought who and who was fired as a result of their escapades. Once these anecdotes have been exaggerated and stretched and had every last drip of entertainment wrung from their limp humourless bodies, descisions are made in ernest about where we're going this year and "how we can top last year". Then after more than 3 months of planning the day of the doo arrives and everyone realises how shit it is going to be and how much they despises their colleagues. So, as alcohol is well know as a catalyst for having a good time everyone gets tre pissed. They argue, fight, disgrace themselves, get thrown out and so on. The morning of the return to work is particularly low on eye contact particularly high on rumours. Several people are absent from their posts, some never to return. As the days and weeks pass by and bruises heal, insults are forgotten and genital herpes clears up, everyone don's their rose tinted's and begins to reminisce about how wonderful a night they had and how great next year will be. FUCK OFF!!!

But at risk of making myself look like a tit who contradicts himself at every turn, I had a great time at my works doo this year! Mainly because my colleagues are my friends and I do choose to spend time with them outside work anyway, because I like them. We went for dinner at Jamie's Italian which was very nice, and very easy to enjoy without drink. Then......
We went to luck voice. If you haven't heard of that it's a Japanese style karaoke venue, not so easy to enjoy without drink. Or so I thought. In actual fact I had a great time, it maybe took me a little while longer to get up to the mic than it would have if I'd been drinking, but after half an hour I was loving it (if still a little self conscious) and to top it off I was absolutely sure when I woke up that I hadn't done anything sackable! Hurraahh!
Then came Christmas, my first dry Crimbo in? Probably 15 years. It was good though, we had a great time, I managed to stay awake all day Christmas day!

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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Comerade número dos

Hello again!

I have some good news. As of the first of September my good buddy Anthony Houlihan will be joining me and committing to his very own month of abstinence! Well done Spanko! Although Spank is the the second volunteer he will be the first person undertake the challenge. I'm thinking of making him a General. I'll keep you posted on that! If you would like to help us raise money for the brain tumour research campaign you can sponsor Spank at

And my link should be at the top if this page
Thanks a lot to you Spank for getting involved, it's really appreciated mate. And a massive thanks again to everyone who's reading the blog and giving up their hard earned cash. The more I talk to people about this the more I here of others who's life's have been affected by brain tumours in similar ways, so please spread the word as I'm sure there are plenty more people out there who would be willing to donate.

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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

And the grovelling little bastard who wanted to be my mate

The devil on my shoulder at Toby and Debbie's wedding

Guilt free

16 days in and all is going well. I haven't faced any considerable challenges since the wedding. I've been to the pub a few times and had mates round but it seems to have sunk in that booze is off the menu. Occasionally I find myself walking home when a sudden thought pops into my head " It's been a while since I've had a drink, I'll just bob into mully's and grab a few bottles" and then as suddenly as it bobs in, it bobs right out again when I remember I'm nay drinking.
Due to the constant lack of money in my account buying beer always leads me into a battle with my conscience.
"Ooh, think I'm gonna get mi sen a few beers"
"you shouldn't do that mate, thought you were trying to get out yer overdraft?"
" only a few, a fiver at most"
" a fiver! Think of that ten times over + going out, it all adds up"
These thoughts last until the first sip is taken when they are instantly drowned. It's quite refreshing not to be battling conscience in that way for a change.

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Saturday, 13 August 2011


I've had a bit of time to mull it over now and you know what? It was absolutely fine, I still had a great night with all my mates, I didn't do anything I had to be worried about in the morning and I could remember that myself. I saved a tenner on the taxi by driving home and I felt great the next day, even had a swim and a sauna before breakfast! Don't get me wrong I'm not saying that this is preferable to a nice cold pint or a glass of red because to me it isn't, but I suppose it is preferable to being absolutely monstered and making a tit of myself.

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Friday, 12 August 2011

Post par-tay

I still don't know exactly how I felt watching everyone revelling in all the free booze. There moments when I felt quite envious, I don't ever remember dying for a drink though, I don't think that I missed it that much on a moment to moment basis, I was certainly getting pretty sick of drinking tonic water but that was all. I found that rather than battling not to have a drink the real challenge was the mental struggle of thinking that I was missing out on something, although I knew I wasn't really. I was at the same party as everyone else, having roughly the same experiences, I just wasn't drinking. I wasn't the only one either, there were a few people who weren't and they seemed to be doing fine. I also noticed that I came away having spoken to less of the people I didn't already know than I would if I'd have been drinking. Perhaps that's a good thing though, I can never remember what I've said. I can Imagine conversations the morning after several weddings I've been to.
"Who was that twat with the beard?"
"God knows, he kept going on about inventing a pie that just had cheese and a fried egg in it though".

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Thursday, 11 August 2011

Debbie's Limoncello

1 Down

So I've completed my first week, not that long I know, but I have been to a wedding with free alcohol.
We drove over to Newbury on Thursday night so we could be there to help out on Friday morning. I spoke to Toby as we were setting off and felt a slight pang of jealousy when he told me that they were off out for a few drinks to celebrate his last night of "freedom". My ears pricked up for a moment until I remembered that I am 4 days in to my yearsans. Fortunately I was able to rationalise the feeling of jealousy and process it quickly.
" You can still have a good time without drinking Gaz. Your having a break, it's not forever!" and so on.
It was late by the time we arrived and almost last orders so we didn't make it to the pub anyway.
The temptation started early on Friday, we bobbed round to drop of some speakers at the marquee first thing and the tables were strewn with bottles of homemade limoncello. Then prior to the service we all met up in the pub, my first visit since I've stopped. Whilst everyone else had a nice pint I had a sparkling water and a tomato juice (which I quite enjoyed). I wasn't feeling to hard done to by this point but it was fosters on Tap so nothing to get to green about. It was when we arrived at the reception that I started to feel a bit sorry for myself. The champagne was out straight away, a nice glass of bubbles to get warmed up. After that it was pretty much a free for all, there were box's and box's of ale and lager and cider. There was red and white on the tables along with the lemoncello. Later on some bottles of sloe gin got passed around and a huge box of spirits that had been sitting on the floor all day suddenly made it's way onto the bar to become the star attraction. Thankfully The temptation wasn't so strong as to leave me champing at the bit or where there ever any thoughts of throwing in the towel, but it was a strange new experience for me. One which will take some getting used to....

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Wednesday, 3 August 2011


It's Wednesday the 3rd of August and it's going well. Chris was round ours for tea on Monday night, testing my will with a bottle if red and my jilted bottle of Tyskie. I think the Tyskie knew what was going on, it just sat there on the table, condensing the warm air until it beaded down it's frigid Polish neck. Bitch.
Everything is going well on a personal level but everything is going absolutely fantastic on a raising money for way ahead level! It's only day 3 and we've already reached 10% of the overall goal! How fantastic is that! So I would like to say a


You have all been very generous and it really means a lot. If you haven't sponsored then I do appreciate you taking the time to read the blog, it's getting more hits than I expected it would. Get us a pint in when you get paid though eh!
Thanks you'ns

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


Bye for now

We got a taxi back from the Grand about half ten, only an hour and a half to go until my self imposed year of prohibition begins and there's no beer in the house, I should have thought it through. The taxi driver was happy to stop at the offie but unfortunately the offie wasn't that well stocked. I came away with a bottle of Tyskie and a Westons organic cider, I cracked the cider about 11 o'clock and nursed it. I was so full it took me the next hour to drink the bloody thing and consequently I didn't make it to the Tyskie. So my last beer for a year was a cider! A decent cider but a cider all the same, I did enjoy it though. So that's it my yearsansbeer starts now.
So long, old friend


After that George returned from work and we got dolled up for our meal at the Grand. We arrived and headed to the bar for an apéritif. After our drink we were shown to our table in the conservatory, it's a bonny restaurant that looks out across the road to the sea. The food was good, George had rabbit spring rolls, black pudding stuffed chicken in parma ham and sticky toffee pudding for dessert and I had wild boar ham with pickled veg, lobster in garlic butter and a cheese board to finish. This was accompanied by a nice bottle of Gavi and a port with my cheese. So all in all it was an excellent meal to end the year. Thanks to all of you who made it a proper Bo thirtieth, you know who you are x

I was just sittin out on the step...


So I left Al and Tim and headed back home for my last beer on the step. Ben, my neighbour and I frequent the step like a couple of old boys on sunny evenings, supping and bringing down the look of the whole street.
Tonight I plumped for a bottle of Erdinger, another white-beer, this time from Germany. I think white-beers also rate amongst my top beers, my favourite being one I first tried in Austria about 10 years ago called Franziskaner. That's a great beer to drink on a hot day. So I sat in the sun with Ben and drank my last drink with him. It was a pleasure as always


Duke's balcony


So onto my last day, I'm still trying to catch up with myself as I didn't get a chance to post much over the weekend. Sunday was a really good day. I woke up feeling reasonably well considering. Unfortunately George had to work so I got up with her and opened my cards n pressies before she went off. Thank you everyone!
As it was my birthday I decided to go to the cinema where I was joined by the afore mentioned AliT. We have an excellent art house cinema in Brighton called the Duke of York's Picture House. It's a lovely old fashioned pictures with a varied schedule of films you would rarely get a chance to see at a multiplex style cinema. We went to watch a documentary called "cave of forgotten dreams" by German auteur Werner Herzog. Did I mention there is a bar?...
Needless to say we had a pint whilst watching the film (which is excellent by the way). Then another on the balcony once it was over (see photo).
Afterwards we went to meet another friend of ours and AliT's partner in the shop where I work, Tim. I had a few pints of Harveys best, its become one of my favourite drinks since I've been down here, along with their seasonal old ale it's a piggin cracker! We had a proper good roast and a nice bottle of white too before heading up the road to sample a bit of blue moon. That's another excellent drink, completely different to Harveys, it's an American craft beer not dissimilar to Hoegarden, well worth a try if you spot it.

Final days

Went down the beach with George and some friends for my penultimate night on the pop. We were initially going to have a barbie but my back is still giving me jip so couldn't really be bothered messing around with all the gear. We ended up getting a chippy instead. Everyone was enjoying a drink, I never really considered it then but that was certainly the last time I would be down there with a beer for quite a while, but you know what, I don't think I'm even that bothered, I don't always have to be drinking, do I? I've had a little bit of ribbing about giving up, I have a diatribe of a text message from my friend and employer AliT which predicts my instant downward spiral into a world abject misery. I'm considering posting it.

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Monday, 1 August 2011

A comrade

Not only did we have a great night on Thursday, I also got my first volunteer to do a month! Meet Ryan "buzu" Busitille
Who has very kindly offered to join me in abstinence through the month of February next year! Good man Ryan! And don't think that I didn't realise that you chose feb because it's the shortest month! Good effort though, cheers cock. 

A comrade

Final week

This week is flying by, I feel like I'm on death row. Counting down the moments until my last drink. This week has been put to good use thus far though, on Wednesday I was duped into thinking we were going round our friends Helen and chris' for tea, only to arrive there and be told that we were off down the Regency for us scran. The regency is a famous fish restaurant on the seafront which, over the years has been frequented by many famous faces, such as chiko (chiko time) Lenny henry (there's only one thing that's small and that's the price time) and mc hammer...
It's a great restaurant that serves cracking unpretentious food and we had a great night. We supped a nice white but I can't remember what it was, a few beers and finished off with a wee whiskey. I don't take it very often but I do enjoy the occasional tot. Thanks a lot guys.
On Thursday we were round Gemma and Ryan's with Helen and Ryan for another great night. We had some WWF on't telly n some ale in us belly and we ate some decent Mexican food. We were treated again as the guys clubbed together and bought us dinner for two at the Grand hotel for our 30th's. We are really looking forward to going down there, cheers amigos!
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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Watch it

Gina at the helm


Just got back from a weekend cruising the Trent Mersey Canal. George and I were treated to a weekend on a narrow boat by my parents and our Vic n Paddy (thanks again x). It was a really good weekend and I finally got to spill the beans about my yearsansbeer. The general reaction was surprise when I told them what I was planning, although everyone was pleased for me and very supportive. So now my family know about it I can start telling my mates and making sure that I sup enough this week to see me through till August '12. The weekend was a great start to my final week on the pop. Plenty of ale was enjoyed, along with some red, some lagers and even a few white wine spritzers. Drank Ruddles for the first time in a while, it's a bonny drink from a can is that.
 I'm drinking some red wine while I write this, I will miss it. I've not been drinking it as much over the last few months, I tend to buy it more in winter, I'm going to make sure that I get a few nice bottles this week.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

I'm in the clear! I don't have to have my back off! The swelling in my disc is the same as last time and not likely to cause any nerve damage. A sigh of relief. He gave me a prescription for some new nerve focused painkillers which the pharmacist has told me this second that they can't prescribe. Don't know why. I'm going to have to wait for another script. Still, at least I'm not going under the blade.


Well, I didn't end up being in the waiting room for long, probably 20 minutes or something like that before being called through to the next room. There I waited for only about 2 more minutes before being called through to see one of the orthopaedic docs. He was a nice chap, or at
Least I thought so until he pulled the old "finger trick". He was flanked by a couple of students on work experience, thankfully they didn't get involved in the magic show. I think they might have got a butchers at my balls before they left though, they looked pleased about something. Once I'd been examined I was wheeled down to the radiology department to have an emergency MRI as there was some concern that the bulge in the disc may have been compressing the nerves which supply my bladder and bowels. Apparently this is an emergency situation if found to be the case and often requires emergency surgery
(#news flash#, they just brought someone in handcuffs in! I can hear what's going on but in the interest of his dignity I shan't print it here!)
So after another short wait I had my scan and got wheeled back to the ward, which is where I am now. Chris tells me that the spinal consultant is in charge today so will be looking at my scan, I really hope that I don't need an operation, I want to go on't barge.


I'm in the A&E waiting room, hopefully not for too long. I've suffered with a bad back on and off for several years now. The last time I had an episode I was working as a landscape gardener, the constant bending and lifting took it's toll and I suffered a prolapsed disc ( L5 on S1
if that means anything to you. Although it probably doesn't, unless your Paddy or Chris but then you already know about it don't you! Thanks for answering my many questions). This put me out of action for months and if my memory serves me correctly the pain wasn't as bad then as it is now. I don't know what i've done to aggravate it this time but it hurts like a bastard so I've come here to see if there's anything that they can do.
I don't know if having a bad back will make the yearsansbeer easier or more difficult. I did sleep better last night after having a few but if the back puts me out of action again I'm not going to be able to afford to get pissed anyway!

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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Montana in Wales

I've finally worked out how to update the blog from my phone!
So here are a few choice shots of the stags on their respective "doo's". All from earlier in the year.

Firstly we have Jon Montana trying to get his head down at 9 o'clock.
"I'm just going to phone Joanna"

Spank in Amsterdam

Still pissed from a bottle of Newcy Brown he drank (half of) in 2004.

Toby in Ibiza

I love his pose on this one, he favours a back-to-front Al Jolson.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

My drinking instructor

My Papa and drinking mentor, sorry I won't be able to have few when your down in October but we'll make a date for August 2012!

Time is ticking

As the day approaches I am finding myself quite looking forward to starting my yearsansbeer. I'm still quite apprehensive about what its going to be like, not bringing a pint to my lips for a whole year, not discovering a new ale or sipping a glass of red whilst eating a cheese, but overall I am exited to start. It's still quite strange at the moment because, nobody knows about it. I decided not to tell anyone at first because I wanted to be completely sure that I was going to go through with it. I have this habit of getting really exited about something that I'm going to do, telling everyone about it and then giving up on the idea before I even start. So at this stage nobody knows, well I did mention it to a mate at work so I could get some advice, he was really into the straight edge music scene and he didn't drink for 7 years. He loves Henry Rollins, he has his face tattooed on his arse. This weekend I'm going to be cruising the Trent Mersey canal with George, my Mum and Dad and our Vic n Paddy So I'm going to spill the beans about it then. I think they'll be surprised and probably won't believe me so I've had some business cards made up with the blog address and charity page address to make it look more authentic!
 I like knowing that I'm going to be embarking on something which is quite a big deal to me and nobody else knowing about it, but I'm trying to squeeze "last drinks" in with everyone without them knowing and I really want to tell everyone! Once I've told everyone this weekend then I think I'm going to start telling my mates next week. Unfortunately I won't be going back up to Chorley before I start this so I'm not going to be able to have a few with the boys back up there, maybe I'll arrange some kind of web link up session.
over and out

An easy descision

Whilst trying to choose a name for this blog I discovered that I wasn't the only one who has had this idea. There are several other blokes who have done the same thing and produced quite interesting blogs of the back of it. One thing which I picked up on which wasn't an idea I had initially is that they all seemed to be doing it for charity. So I decided that if I'm going to be doing it anyway then of course I should try to raise some money for a good cause too.
 I found a website called mycharitypage which collects donations for a designated charity on your behalf. On the site there is a list of charities to choose from, or you can decide to nominate one of your own. Deciding to support Way Ahead was a very simple decision for me to make as a very close friend of mine sadly passed away in 2009 after a long battle with brain tumours. Matt was a great guy, he was funny, intelligent, friendly, generous, moody and very easy to wind up! and loved by many for all those reasons and lots lots more. I want to be able to do him justice so I won't write anymore about him now, I'll write a full post about him soon.

I hadn't actually heard of Way Ahead until I began looking through the list but when as I read a little about it I knew it was eactly the type of charity I was hoping to find. 
It's full title is Way Ahead Brain Tumour Research Campaign and here is a short statement about what they do from there website
Our vision
To raise public awareness of the need for brain tumour research and the lack of funding that currently exists by a series of fundraising events and applications for research grants among corporate and medical bodies or trusts.

This seems like such a good cause to me and any cause which is trying help scientists and Doctors to understand tumours and possibly even prevent others from going through what Matt and his family had to go through, then I'm behind it 100%. Again, I don't want to do an injustice to Way Ahead by writing a few ill thought-out lines so I'm going  to read up a little more and write a full post in the near future, but if you would like to read up yourself in the meantime then you can find out more information here

And finally, onto how I intend to raise money for this worthy cause. 
Well, I want you to buy me a pint please! I would love it if everyone if everyone who reads this blog gets there hand in there pocket and buys me a pint, or rather donates the price of a pint  (or a few if you fancy a session!) to Way Ahead through my charity page. To do that all you need to do is go to
and follow the instructions on how to donate. I would be so grateful to you all for helping me raise as much money as possible by spreading the word about this blog. Tell your colleagues, tell your friends, tell your family and get people reading it, get people visiting the charitypage and get people getting me pissed! on donations!  

Thanks! Speak soon

A difficult descision

Hello there! And welcome to my shiny new blog!
  Blogging isn't something I've really done before so please bear with me while I find my proverbial feet.
Well, Ive done it. I've made the decision, the decision has been made, I've definitely decided.
At the end of July I will be turning 30, on the 31st to be precise and as a special treat to my body I won't be drinking any alcohol for a whole year. At this stage I haven't yet decided whether to start (or stop?) on the 31st of July or on the 1st of August so I can enjoy my last pint for a year on my birthday? I think I'll probably do that, in fact, yes, that's what I'm going to do, another decision decided!
I suppose I'd better start by explaining what led me to make this decision.
I love drinking, I love going to pubs with mates and having a sesh, I love sitting at home with George and enjoying a nice bottle of red, I love heading down the beach with a load of cans, I love going back home, sitting around the table with my family and getting stuck in, I love the seemingly endless number of ales that are available out there. And here lies the problem, do love it too much? I do have a little trouble pacing myself sometimes. If there is something going on which involves drinking then usually end up getting pissed. Prime example; I was at the wedding of some good friends of mine in June, Spank and Jen. It was a great day with loads of my mates there, people who I see far less than I would like and perfect opportunity to catch up with everyone but I can't remember anything past about 6 o'clock.The next morning was the all too familiar tale of  waking up thinking, oh shit, did I do something that I'll regret last night? Am I in trubs? At this point I usually lie awake and wait for George to wake up so I can gauge from her face whether I should be worried about my conduct or I'm if worrying unnecessarily. Luckily for me I have a wonderful girlfriend who is used to this by now and is never to hard on me. I'm sure there are plenty of other guys out there who would be in the dog house.
It was actually the morning after this wedding that I started pondering over the possibility of  modifying my drinking in someway. I was/am so fed up of having these thoughts the morning after a big sesh I just felt that it was time to do something about it.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to paint myself as a raving alco, I'm not talking about weekly or perhaps even monthly occurrences here. It's just when it does happen it's really started to get to me. I know that I'm not on my own here, nearly everyone I know drinks to some extent and lots of  you must feel like this occasionally, right? It cant just be me can it? Unless thae part of my brain which make me feel guilty for my drunken antics is abnormally large and none of you have any clue what I'm rambling on about.
So after asking myself some serious questions I decided that I am going to have a break for an entire year. Give myself a chance to see what social events are like when your not drinking. It's strange to think that most of my social life involves drinking. What if I can't function in normal society if  I'm drinking coke instead of landlord? What if nobody wants to hang out with me? What if I loose and stone and actually have some money left in my account at the end of the month? What if What if What if!!!
It is going to be an interesting experiment, I wonder if I'm going t to crave it? Am I still going to go to pubs with friends? I think, I hope that things won't change much at all. It would be quite surprising if  they did, then giving up drinking would definitely be the right thing to do. The though of ones character being defined by your drinking habits its quite sad and I'm sure that wont be the case.

I don't expect it all to be plane sailing though, after only a few days on the wagon George and I are off to Newbury for Toby and Debbie's wedding. Our third this year after Jon and Jo's and Spank and Jens, this one is going to be rather different. Weddings are always big piss ups and as Toby is someone who loves a drink as much as I do, we invariably end up getting pissed when we are together (and having a great time by the way), but this time will obviously be different, hopefully not in a negative way. At least I'm going to be able to remember everything the next day. And I won't have a hang over! That is a nice thought, wedding hang overs are the worst, in fact that's wrong. Stag doo hang overs are the worst, then wedding hang over's the hang over I had after Toby's stag doo in Ibiza was ridiculous, I think it lasted about 4 days. So I apologise to you in advance mate, I know it's bad timing.