At this time of year, we are being bombarded with messages, not only to buy-buy-buy, but also to take it easy on the drink over the holiday, and next year to go on the wagon in "Dry January". Paul Bailey has covered this barrage of propaganda pretty thoroughly here, thus saving me the bother.
A bit of personal history: I last took my car to the pub without any regard to the limit on Friday 13 February 1981, when I was stopped by a foot bobby who gave me a stern warning and let me off, providing I left the car where it was until next morning. So much for Friday the Thirteenth being unlucky. I wrote more about drink-driving, including my own, in May 2013.
Considering how long ago that was, it was strange to have a dream last night about me drinking and driving. I got into the car and remember nothing more until I came to, finding the car had moved. I arrived at the gathering I was going to, and afterwards everyone began cracking jokes about all the things I couldn't remember doing.
I do wonder whether this dream had been provoked by the anti-drink messages that gladden the hearts of alcohol campaigners at this time of year. While the rest of us are proposing toasts and wishing each other a happy and peaceful new year, they are tut-tutting that there's no reason why you can't have perfectly a good time on a half of shandy.
Fortunately no one was injured in my dream, just as - through sheer luck rather than skill - they weren't in my real life drink-driving days. But seeing that for nearly 35 years, I have walked or travelled by bus, train or taxi when drink is involved, I sometimes just wish the killjoys would put a sock in it. But I suppose that for some people, this is the season to be Scrooge.
Watering the Mild and Other Wheezes, 1955
3 hours ago