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Fat Tuesday

  • Kim Lenaghan
  • 5 Feb 08, 12:51 PM

Kim Lenaghan“Today I have finally and fully emerged from hibernation, which is the only way I can ever get through the hideous month that is January. I’ve been living in a little ‘Groundhog Day’ cocoon with a recipe that goes something like this: work – home - eat stodgy food – do not venture out of doors – do not exercise brain or body – do not socialise – sleep a great deal. Repeat for 31 days.

In fairness, I have also had this cold/flu thing that’s been doing the rounds so that was another excuse for solitary confinement. Then, I had to pay my tax, my roof sprung a significant leak, and I’ve finally had to accept the fact that the condition of my ancient car is terminal. So if you think I’ve been avoiding you, honestly you were better off without me.

It’s amazing though how the world goes on without you. I logged on this morning to my computer for the first time in about three weeks and I had 96 messages, none of them of the slightest importance, and most of them trying to sell me something.

Of course comforting as the routine of sloth and self indulgence is, there comes a time when you get fed up even with that and you realise you just have to get up and get on with and rejoin the rest of humanity.

The turning point for me came yesterday. The first very strange occurance was when I got up and for once it wasn’t raining. I ventured gingerly outside into the garden and there, among the damp green foliage, with their brave little heads held high, were three perfect, pure white snowdrops, a sure sign of spring. I knew then it was time for me to cast off my weary, winter mantle and look forward. So, I went shopping. Horror!

The down side of human hibernation is that unlike squirrels and bears who live off their body fat while they sleep the winter away, we eat on – certainly that’s what I’ve been doing. So rather than living off my reserve inches I have been adding to them with sausages, stew, casseroles, crumbles and other such comforting dishes. I’ve also spent the month slouching round in my tracky bottoms and big jumpers and pretending not to notice that my bottom is now the size of a well filled space hopper – not to mention a similar shape. Nothing nice that I have fits! I have gone up a dress size since just before Christmas and so I vow, here and now, that I will be down two sizes by Easter. Which brings me on to my next point….

How come it’s Shrove Tuesday already? I know I said Spring is in the air, but this is ridiculous! It’s only just been haggis for Burns Night and now we’re gearing up for pancakes. I was in the supermarket earlier buying vegetables, salad and chicken (turning away from my traditional route down the sausage and bacon aisle) and it’s all Easter Eggs and chicks and bunnies and don’t forget your lemon juice for your pancakes. So how early is Easter this year? I got home, looked it up on the calendar and there are only a little over six weeks to Good Friday.
I think my hibernation may have lasted just a little longer than in should have done!

But if this is Shrove Tuesday, what that also means is that tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, the season of denial – and I am not talking about the river in Egypt. As it turns out that sits very well with my current mood of moderation and healthy living, it sort of legitimises my quest and makes me feel that I do not suffer alone. I wish I’d realised earlier though, because of course the whole point of today is the last big blow out until Easter. Hence the whole idea of Mardi Gras – ‘fat Tuesday’, the big party, the riot of excess before the penance of abstinence. I could have had one last apple crumble and custard!
Although perhaps if I had indulged myself in one or two less this wouldn’t already be a fat Tuesday in more ways than one.

Also, can anyone explain why in places like New Orleans and Rio they have riotous street parties, outrageous parades and general carousing for Mardi Gras…..while we have pancakes with butter, sugar and lemon….mmm. What does that say about us?

Mind you, I can talk! The only thing I’ll be having lemon juice on this year is my lettuce!

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