Below is a tiny taster from my new book ‘I should have left the Whiskey‘.
Slowing the pace of cycling in India, I found myself stuck in the sand and with little reason to push forward.
It doesn’t matter where I am or how I try to escape it. This will be my seventh consecutive Christmas out of England and still it looks like desperation, an unavoidable acknowledgement: put my head in the sand and that holiday will come up from behind. You should be playing happy families, turkey stains on ya once-a-year jumper, Queen’s speech and port. I’ve never bought into the belief behind the holiday, least of all that just for today everything – family unity, food, future and world predicament – will be better than yesterday. So it is not a time of year I celebrate, but…
…I have found a compromise.
The solstice is undeniable, and the more extreme your latitude the more significant it is. I have a devotion to planetary change because it’s real and sometimes, with the right awareness, I can physically feel it. The peak of the axis, the crossover of a timeline – today things change, beyond human beliefs, beyond a calendar. This is rotation, this is orbital, this is momentous and like a heretic in a place of worship I may not voice it, but I know it, I sense it, I count down to it and I happen to love it.
Whether it’s witnessing the daily increase in light as we leave the darkest of days, or a slight sadness that the pinnacle of summer has passed as we are falling back to earlier shadows and shivering shade. It is all remarkable and always worthy of recognition, it keeps me in line with the planets, keeps me aware that something is greater than anything and everything I do. Be it stoned on the couch or driven to goal scoring and growth, the rock we exist on has just completed a rotation that is beyond any means, ability, agenda or manipulation of the numbers we choose to put on time. Whether we divide and orbit by 24 units and that by 60, times it all by 365 and subdivide it by 52 and then 7. The numerals are irrelevant, the fractions unimportant, the counting conditioned, the names superficial and superfluous. But every six of our man-made months, give or take a night or two, something happens that represents the repetition of seasons, the revolution of our existence.
Something has ended, something is beginning, and be you flat-earther, pagan, Hindu, Muslim, Jew or any other ethnic colour, creed or race, you can deny all you like but today something changes and it’s bigger than all of us. So I silently worship it because this will bring irrigation to the parched, crops to fruition, food to tummy, sustenance of life, and while it works in that fashion I’m indebted to it, reliant on it, conditioned because of it. Seasons, man, they blow my fuckin’ mind.
My neighbour has scored some smoke, the second-easiest thing to get here after sunburn. I don’t want either and she doesn’t want to get high alone. If she only knew what spaced-out thoughts I’d already had this morning she wouldn’t press me. I’ll tell ya what, I’ll order a beer and we can share a buzz and chips on our balcony. Oh wait, cocktails are two for one today, oh, OK, I’ll drink the other one for you.