Read an Excerpt
I’m still in Suffolk, where it’s a typical August afternoon, cold and
damp, with England losing a test match in Birmingham, and things
can’t go on like this. I say that, but how can they change? Well, I can
make them change by stating categorically –That intend to give up smoking.
I’ve left out the ‘I’. Do it again, with the ‘I’ in it. I intend to give up smoking.
There. I’ve put it down. It’s legible, in firm, blue ballpoint. There’s
no getting away from it because it’s plonk in the middle of the page,
and to tear it out would be cheating.
This diary is going to be about my attempt to give up smoking.
It is also going to be my main help in giving up smoking. By the
time I’ve finished it I will be a free man, able to leave the house
without my two packets of cigarettes, and my two lighters, able to
sit down and read without compulsively checking that I’ve got
these four articles in place on the desk in front of me or on the
little table beside me. I shall never again have to grope for a
cigarette while watching television, fly into a panic when I can’t
put my hand straight on the package – is that an unintended
double entendre, ‘put my hand straight on the package’? I have an
idea that ‘package’ has a salacious meaning, or am I thinking of
Nor worry that I might fall asleep with a cigarette burning on the
brink of the ashtray, or while hanging from my lips.
There will be no cigarette burns – at least of my making – on my
trousers and my shirt fronts.
The cuffs of my cardigans will no longer be singed. No, that’s not
right. I am devoted to my two cardigans, which are identical in
every respect, including the location and the extent of the singes, so
to put it accurately, there will be no further singes on my two
cardigans. In the unlikely event that I ever have a new cardigan, and
that I wear it, it will never be singed at the cuffs. At least not by me.