It's been a very dry January. After the excesses of 2015, Peter and I decided to bin the booze this month. You can't ignore the horror stories about red wine's calorie content for ever. I'm not reaching for the calculator but I reckon we'd been regularly consuming the equivalent of a moderately busy branch of Burger King.
The results were plain to see. In an Edinburgh changing room in November, I distinctly heard the mirror tutting with an incisive Scottish brogue. By December, the annual outing of my dress shirt saw the top button literally shooting through the bathroom door in disgust.
Not one to do things by halves, Peter also suggested that we should eat more 'healthily'. So, in our alcohol-free quest, we took no solace in takeaways, pasties, chips and any number of other things that make life worth living. Instead I sought inspiration from unusual ingredients and hoped the creative juices would flow. Generally, it's been successful - I've discovered that baby kale is very tasty, blueberries, red cabbage and dill make a winning coleslaw, and skyr (Iceland's take on yogurt) makes a dreamily creamy low fat dressing. The jury's still out on buckwheat as a salad grain but you can't win 'em all.
My mum says I look 'gaunt' (which means I've lost weight) and 'sad', which is not surprising having been forcibly separated from my dear friend Tempranillo. But abstinence has been rewarded with some unexpected culinary delights. Come February, I'll drink to that.