Hot Lists Friday, September 29th Words by: Adam Knight

Stoptober Guide for Herefordians: 8 ways to avoid the booze/cigs without going crazy

Hot Lists Friday, September 29th

Stoptober Guide for Herefordians: 8 ways to avoid the booze/cigs without going crazy

Days are not just days anymore. They are Days.

Yesterday, for example, was Drink Beer Day. Sunday is World Vegetarian Day and the start of Walk Your Dog Week - an act you'd hope dog owners wouldn't need a themed week to remind them about. Basically the calendar has become a land grab. And not content with days, weeks, or making us dump ice cold water on our heads, charities have begun laying claim to entire months in pursuit of awareness and funds for the their various, worthy causes.

November was one of the first to fall. It is now Men Who Can Grow A Moustache, Grow A Moustache Month, For Prostate Cancer. It’s become Mo-vember.

Soon after, Cancer Research UK commandeered January for its Dryathlon – a smart move seeing as it’s pretty much already a thing, as the excesses of December leave livers up and down the country looking like losing heavyweight boxers, and bank account strictly in I’m-not-checking-it-for-a-few-weeks territory. Even if no part of the name rhymed with January, Dryathlon worked.

Now it gets tricky.

The NHS stuck their flag in October, with Stoptober gaining some real momentum last year for those giving up smoking, but now Macmillan are muscling in.

The cancer support charity have launched a very jazzy Sober For October campaign, complete with Soberheroes, Instagram ads and radio spots on TalkSport that feature an impassioned plea usually reserved for Alan Brazil diatribes on the merits of the 4-4-2.

The reality of this is that we’re potentially we’re facing 31 days of nicotine-starved Herefordians unable to take the edge off with a drink.

In the name of public safety, we thought we better come up with a Sober for Stoptober hotlist to keep you entertained,  or at least distracted,  for those abstaining (and for those enduring them).  


#1 Octoberfeast it up


What: Do some serious meat-eating, without having to worry about a hangover or booking a cab. I mean, unless you susceptible to heavy meat sweats.

When: Oct 14

Where: Longtown

The Skinny: If you’re giving your liver the night off, you might as well let your stomach pick up the slack, right? Stoked Feasts hold these rustic, family-style banquets every few months at the foot of the Black Mountains,  where the chefs cook up carnivorous catnip minutes from where the animals are raised. And this time, you can even wash it down, guilt-free, with a non-alcoholic G&T from Seedlip Gin.

More here (inc a beef, brats and pork knuckle menu).

If you can’t make that, why not learn how a Sunday Roast tastes without a hangover. Try one of the best in the country at The Bookshop in Hereford.


#2 Sweat out those toxins

What: Run a long-but-not-too long-distance with a whole crowd of other people at the Hereford 10K.

When: October 28

Where: Hereford

The Skinny: The best thing about this 10k? It’s at the end of the month, which means three things. One, you can use a few of those hours you’d otherwise be spending down the pub to do a bit of training for it. Two, if you’re a regular smoker, 28 days off them will mean your lungs are in as good a shape as they’ve been since you were 15. And, most importantly three, you’re only a few days from the end of the month – so if you do feel like celebrating your run with a few bevs, then well, you deserve it.


#3 Try namastaying sober


What: A guided mindfulness and meditation session that might help you stop thinking ‘I need a fag’ every two minutes.

When: October 2

Where: Hereford

The Skinny: Mindfulness is the thing these days, whether you’re facing a stretch without your favourite intoxicant or not. This 90-minute session’s not going to turn you in to the Dalai Lama overnight, but it might just help you get a little bit of perspective for the month(s) ahead.


#4 Spend quality time with smaller humans 

What: The Courtyard Hereford Family Festival. Bring a child. Bring someone else’s child. As long as you ask their parents first.

When: October 25

Where: The Courtyard, Hereford

The Skinny: Generally heavy drinking is frowned upon at family fun-days, so you should have no problem abstaining as you settle in for a whole day of witches, wizards, workshops and performances at the Courtyard. Or as long as you can last.


#5 Indulge your eyeballs. And sense of nostalgia


What: Classic 80s vampire flick The Lost Boys on an outdoor screen (or a classic 80s remake - the Blade Runner remake - on an indoor one)

Where: Ross-on-Wye/Hereford Odeon

When: LB – Sept 29, yes we know we’re cheating, BR – Oct 5

The Skinny: The archetypal vampire/party movie Joel Schumacher’s Lost Boys turned 25 a few years ago. Now it’s coming to a big outdoor screen on Ross’ sports ground. Go see it if you liked It. Also in October we get the release of the hotly-anticipated Blade Runner 2049 with Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. 80s classics have had an interesting history when it comes to remakes – let’s hope this is more Mad Max than Miami Vice. (We forgive you, Jamie).


#6 Go natural


What: Get out and about with your special someone and watch the leaves turn. Try and dodge the country pub after.

When: Anytime

Where: Anywhere, pretty much.

The Skinny: Make the most of your hangover-less Sunday and your recovering lungs. There’s something about the freshness of the Autumn this time of year that makes it perfect for a romantic stroll on a muddy path. We got the people behind Kington Walking Festival to draw up lovely little routes for us – keep an eye on the site for them over the next few days.


#7 Take in a little culture. In 3-Dimensions.


What: Yes, they give out free bubbly at art shows. No, it doesn’t make your comments sound any more deep and meaningful. Check out these three local showcases.

When: Various (see links)

Where: Various (see links)

The Skinny: Going sober or quitting cigs likely has you feeling pretty smug. You’re probably going to tell all your friends about it. Why not double-down on the smugness, and throw in that you’ve also gone to an art show.

On the 6th, there’s going to be this visually incredible digital art experience going on in Hereford - organised by Rural Media - which is suitably mysterious, and slightly psychedlic but think an immersive evening of virtual reality, projection and live music. You won't even need a drink to feel it.

- The city’s also hosting a showcase of world-renowned metal work from Oct 20, in conjunction with the celebrated HCA course, while if you haven’t been out to Canwood Gallery yet, you should pick a dry day and check out the sculpture park.


#8 Double-down on your health kicks

What: Don’t feel like hitting the roads for the 10k? Try pumping iron. Or the StairMaster. Or whatever you fancy.

Where: Everywhere. (Literally everywhere in Hereford at the moment.)

When: 24 hours in some places.

The Skinny: The January gym-rush is notorious for the same reason. People want to channel all of their new energy in to something positive, and for many that means getting a good sweat on and shifting a few pounds.

Well, you’re not short of options at the moment, especially if you live in Hereford. There are now TWO 24-hour gyms that have opened up in the last year, the city’s biggest free weights gym is moving to an even bigger site, Halo's many centres still have a whole range of cool classes to check out and there are two CrossFit gyms – with CrossFit Hereford launching new individual programming next month for anyone who wants to push themselves even further.

All of these places have a different vibe – so do your research, head down for a tour and get involved.

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