Drinks Night: St Benedict and Moist January

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When St Benedict of Nursia founded his Order around AD 500, he did so in an intensely practicable way As Professor Davis[1] tells us, before Benedict had his way monasticism was more like a reckless competition for feats of endurance among lonely ascetics, with little regard for the practical aspects of life , or how it might benefit the wider community. But by reducing the severity of the rules, and making community life more agreeable, Benedict founded an order which became the guardian of learning, and a considerable refuge of economic know-how, throughout the Middle Ages.

There was in fact a spirit of humanity in St Benedicts Rule: it did not attempt to make the monastic life more difficult than was necessary (p71)

Now all of us know we must cut back from the excesses of the recent holiday period. And there has been much discussion of the so-called “dry January” whose acolytes are enjoined to eschew the demon booze for the whole calendar month. But-is it feasible? Is it practicable? What would St Benedict have said? It is in his spirit therefore that we avow the institution of a moist January, when drinks are modest and restraint at a premium. And we instituted a survey of friends and readers to see what they thought and suggested.

A number of Christian readers opined that there was no need for a dry January at all, citing the Miracle at Cana (John 1:32) as proof that wine may be enjoyed in moderation at all seasons. Those of other faiths, or none, had thoughts as well. Bill from Kent recommended Schonhoffer wheat Beer at a modest 2%. Lindsay, who also hails from England’s garden, offers the whole Majestic Wines website https://www.majestic.co.uk. They seem to have a whole range of low alcohol stuff. Jill of Fulham points us to the free newspaper put out by the Waitrose chain of supermarkets, tps://www.waitrose.com/ecom/shop/browse/groceries/beer_wine_and_spirits/low_alcohol_and_alcohol_free_drinks A view at least partially endorsed by Morag of West Sussex. Margaret of Dorset liked Beck’s Blue lager. If you must “Go Total” then Gaynor of London suggests Badoit water, while Nigel of Sutton Coldfield suggested Gordon’s Alcohol free Gin. Alcohol free Gin and Tonic ? To us it’s like the Himalayas with no Yeti. Something rather special is missing, however good the other parts might be. Finally Karen of Sussex chimes in the two beers: Erdinger and Bud Light.

Well ,that is just a cut-down version of our vast international intercontinental survey. Whichever Rule you decide to follow, Dry, Moist or Standard, we wish you a happy weekend and welcome to the First Friday Night of this New Year.

[1] RHC Davis A History of Medieval Europe Longman 1989

#dry january

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