I thought I was a little kid again off on an adventure by train to the big city. Tin Tin maybe or even Christopher Robin or one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five.
Well, you get the idea. I almost feel like I was wearing little navy blue shorts, a sky blue airtex shirt and ankle socks and sandals. I wasn’t was I, please God? Answer: “No, my son, you looked quite cool actually.” Phew.
It was genuinely surprizing to me how big an event this was after my semi-retirement from the World due to my brain haemorrhage. That taxi ride past Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Trafalgar Square – amazing, even though I have been there so many times before.
The sun was smiling, Gay Pride was processing, and I was free – or so it felt.
I was going to stay at a friend’s house, a friend’s very big house, in the posh WC1 postal address in the nation’s capital. Staying over night meant that I could do all that recuperating napping that the doctors demand and still party: no more Christopher Robin or Tin Tin now I felt like one of the Bloomsbury Group, those well-healed Bohemians from early 20th. Century London who over-indulged in every imaginable way and still remembered to have a good laugh.
Having a laugh was exactly what I set out to do and, well napped like a good boy, I was ready for anything at the dinner party with old friends assembled in that beautiful house which had rooms enough for private conversations and space enough to party. It could have been the set of a Shaw play.
It was also time for that glass of wine. I can have three glasses a week according to my neurologist.
How big is a glass? How do you define wine glass? Does it matter?
When I said to my neurologist: “I forgot to ask you how big the wine glass should be,” she answered: “Very wise!”
I like her style.
So the wine glass moment arrived. I had skipped the champagne and the rather good white wine that had got everyone going. I was keeping my powder dry for the big event, that bottle of red wine that was airing on the middle of the table.
My glass was waiting too, a large and splendidly vase-like object which any polite diner would fill to roughly three-quarters of its height. This, of course, would have been a terrible waste. If I could only have one glass full then full it would be. Gasps at my wickedness followed when I filled it to the very brim. Sitting back I admired it ruby sheen, perfectly inviting as my companion for the rest of the evening.
Why is it that prohibition increases the desire? If no one had told me that I could only drink three glasses a week then, just maybe, some weeks, I would have drunk less but now that it had become a challenge, I was going to milk every sip.
So wicked maybe but it had its effect. Soon I was laughing and joking like an intoxicated man which, of course I was. Not by alcohol though, that really wasn’t enough to make me drunk over a long evening, no, on reflection, I was intoxicated by the sociability of it all.
Old friends talking into the night, inviting mockery, jousting with one-liners and leaping from hilarity to pathos and back with timely precision – that was what made me drunk that night. I had way more than a glass full of that – I could easily get addicted.