Imagine the pain – the pain of writing about so many lovely pubs, knowing that they are forbidden territory.
In this week’s What’s On, we gave you the definitive list of Kent's winter-warming ale houses.
You know the type: beamed ceilings; hops hanging around the bar; four or five real ales on tap; a range of single malt whiskeys; landlord’s cuddly dog snoozing in the corner.
When the idea popped in our heads to round up the county’s 20 finest drinking holes, it was a brief I could not wait to get started on. All the best pubs we have visited in Kent – truly one of the nation’s best county’s for the quaint, traditional tavern – all described in their glory.
Yet with every word typed, a little knife stabbed me in the heart. Pubs are not the sort of place one visits when refusing alcohol for a month.
I only have myself to blame. Excess over Christmas and New Year made me think it was a cracking idea to kick start a more sensible, healthy new year.
Yet as we went to press and colleagues decided to rediscover their local boozer, so my self-imposed abstinence felt all the more bitter a pint to refuse to swallow.
Before you all scoff and say “can’t you just have a coke,” I know myself. I know I cannot resist a thirst quenching Late Red at the Joiner’s Arms in West Malling or a “session ale” like the Charles Dickens Ale at the Leather Bottle in Cobham.
It feels like a travesty to take a pew in such homely surroundings and taint the rustic flavour with a glass of Fanta.
It feels like more of a travesty to break my vow of alcoholic chastity over an article I’ve written in the paper.
So for now I’ll resist, with my heart set on a new me. Surely the free house exile will make the first pint of 2013 taste all the more divine.
There is nothing stopping you though. So have one on me.