The older I get the list of things I’ve already given up grows longer. Liquorice Allsorts, Bourbon biscuits, Schubert Lieder, Cognac, Father Ted. Can’t stand any of them. When my Orthodox husband was alive we’d give up meat, but nowadays, contrary to medical fashion, my body tells me I need it. Not an enormous rib-eye that hangs over the edge of the plate, but definitely a bit of red meat protein.
The idea in Lent of course, is to stop desiring things and to turn your mind to what is needful. I should probably try to give up sneering, but it’s part of my stock-in-trade and I do still need to work. I might just dial it down a bit. I could try giving up testiness and ingratitude. That’s a plan.
I have now embarked on an unlooked for career as an occasional tour guide at my new home in the London Charterhouse. We offer two types of tour: those conducted by professional guides who really, really know their stuff and Brothers’ Tours led by people like me, who simply live here and have made it our business to learn about the place. I make no particular recommendation. I just put it out there.
And yes, I am now Brother Laurie. No surgery has taken place, no hormones prescribed, no hair shirt added to my wardrobe. Although, perhaps for Lent…