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A Month on the Wagon with “Go Sober for October”

(This post originally appeared in the October edition of the Tetbury Advertiser)

Go Sober for October banner advertEarlier this year I reached that magical age when the NHS summons you for a personal MOT, to be repeated every five years, presumably until you’re no longer roadworthy.

I’m always grateful to the NHS for the wonderful care that my family receives. But any self-respecting woman of – ahem – a certain age, will understand my trepidation at the thought of a battery of questions and blood tests, an official weigh-in and a height check. The height test was not a problem: I was confident that I hadn’t gained height. My weight, on the other hand, is precisely 20% more than it was when I was 20.

Judgment Day

Photo of plastic heart with stethoscope checking itA week after the tests, you’re called in to review the results with a nurse. My husband despatched me to the surgery with a knowing look, as if expecting me to be sent home with a diet sheet and a registration form for Alcoholics Anonymous. To his surprise, the nurse had only good news to report. I apparently have only a 3.5% risk in the next ten years of a cardiovascular event, a euphemism that makes a heart attack sound like an agreeable trip to the seaside.

“What about my nightly two glasses of wine?” I enquired. “Isn’t that something I ought to change?”

“No, you’re borderline, no problem,” the nurse reassured me.

“And my BMI? I thought it was meant to be less than 25?”

“No, we only really worry if it’s over 30.”

Well, that news certainly lowered my blood pressure. (It’s a calm 100/60, if you’re wondering.)

Her prescription for my future well-being: “Go home and treat yourself to a cream cake!”

Turning Wine into Water

Actually, I’m not keen on cream cakes, which is probably just as well, but I don’t want my current state of health to make me complacent. Therefore shortly after my return from my appointment, I searched online for more information about a sponsored health-related campaign to which a friend of mine had alerted me earlier in the week. Raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, it’s succinctly called “Go Sober for October”. This isn’t the first time they’ve run it, but in previous years I’ve clearly missed the boat, or rather wagon.

Just as I was about to sign the pledge, into my email inbox dropped a message from the esteemed editor of this magazine: “This month we’ll be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Tetbury Advertiser!”

I’m hoping it won’t go amiss if the glass I raise in its honour will be filled with nothing more than elderflower fizz? Here’s to the good health of the Tetbury Advertiser!

Go Sober badgeTo join Macmillan’s Go Sober for October campaign:

To sponsor me to Go Sober for October:

To find out more about the invaluable work done by Macmillan Cancer Support, visit their website:



English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

2 thoughts on “A Month on the Wagon with “Go Sober for October”

  1. Good piece! Most people around here cd do with the Oct campaign – much wine drinking in North Oxford! I stand out like a loony – sadly alcohol sends me straight into nasty haze, so I’ve given it up. People think it’s judgmentalism when I say no to a lovely glass of red wine … esp. as I can’t digest milk-based anything except sheep’s milk feta … what a crank, they obviously think! But, you’re advertising Chorleywood on your blog – reminded me that I could do that too!

    1. Looking forward to seeing you at Chorleywood, Clare! Have you seen the catalogue? It’s beautiful! You and your book (under your pen-name) are on page 9 -and all the authors are on the cover!

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