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Saturday, 5 March 2011

A step too far

"Dear Lord, that’s diabolical!" I thought to myself one morning. Trying not to laugh... at this ridiculous planFor us Catholics the Lent season is fast approaching and every year around this time, I decide to give something up, not just because it’s lent but as a reminder that I can live without the things I think I need and as a reminder that people elsewhere don’t have access to such things. Now anyone who knows me even remotely will know my passion for coffee. My body hasn’t been caffeine free since I was sixteen, back when I was in transition year (a gap year after finishing O levels but before starting the A level syllabus) and I had my first cup of (bluuwwkkk) Maxwell House instant coffee (oh how I’ve become the coffee snob). Anyway, since that day, I have had a regular intake of coffee and when I got to London six and a bit years ago, what used to be a regular intake became at least a daily intake.

Coffee in London is spectacular! Quality, variety and access are all there. I have my secret favourite places, in the middle of Soho, Covent Garden, London Bridge, Regents Canal, Holborn, Earls Court, Kensington, Hackney, Stoke Newington, Shoreditch; you name a place in Zone One and I probably know where to get good coffee! Espresso, macchiato, cappuccino, latte, stumpy, flat white, affogato, they are all wonderful depending upon the mood and occasion. I’m practically salivating at the very thought of hearing, smelling or drinking this liquid gold.

Coffee in Zambia hasn’t been quite as bad as I had feared. Living with an Italian has helped enormously! He had his own little two-cup (i.e. a double shot) mocha when I arrived. The priests have both a two-cup and six-cup (oh YES) mocha. Coffee, Zambian styleFinally, as a lovely gesture, Gian brought me back a three-cup mocha from Italy when he returned to Zambia last month. So I have still managed three and a half cups/shots of coffee a day. The Zambian coffee, as I think I have already mentioned is very good. And I recently found a premium quality outlet that I have yet to allow myself to sample.

Now, back to the opening line of this entry. I was sitting enjoying my morning coffee at home when into my head popped the idea that I could give up coffee for lent. Forty days of being caffeine free. No coffee, no (caffinated) tea, probably no work. This is the challenge my stupid brain has set me. Yes, I am giving up caffeine for lent…

I have obviously attempted to give up other difficult things Polish coffee, as addictive as smack before, alcohol, swearing and chocolate being some of the most recent. With alcohol, my four alcoholic friends (you know who you are!) suddenly had a big problem with it, continuously whining at me, “are you stilllllll off alcohol?" in the most sarcastic tone they could muster. It was a real eye opener to me, how other people needed me to drink in order to validate they’re drinking. I thought I would struggle but actually I really enjoyed being able to stay out until late and get up bright eyed in the morning, feeling only a little tired. Coffee though is different! Coffee isn’t just an addiction; it’s a necessity, like breathing oxygen! I’m doomed I tell you…

Your soon-to-be, caffeine-free Zombie,


  1. For the record we needed you to drink to be fun not to validate us. I don't have a drink problem! ;)

    Best of luck in a caffeine free world amigo! No sneaking it in with Coke or excess amounts of chocolate!

  2. Scary, that's exactly what they said!!