Ah, ah, ah, ah stayin' alive

The last time I went out for a night on the town I was back home with a cup of cocoa by 10.30pm - about an hour before the town got lively.

The last time I went out for a night on the town I was back home with a cup of cocoa by 10.30pm - about an hour before the town got lively.

A couple of weeks ago, I was persuaded by a number of younger work colleagues to stay out after my bedtime. We ate garlic bread and pasta at an Italian restaurant and then went to a bar which, I assumed would be a place of quiet contemplation as it is in the TV series Cheers.

There would be a couple of guys sitting on bar stools, nursing their fourth or fifth beer, talking about football and how their wives don't understand them (which usually means their wives understand them very well indeed).

The bartender would be drying glasses, offering sympathy and making the background music was below the decibel level required to make your ears bleed.

There would be a youngish chap, whose girlfriend has just dumped him by text, on his tenth Jack Daniels.

At the tables a few young couples would be earnestly talking about themselves; a group of friends would be telling jokes and laughing.

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But that only happens on telly.

This place was heaving. It looked as if the only way to get up to the bar was either get very friendly with someone already standing there or frighten them off. As the oldest person on the premises the former wasn't an option but the latter was simple.

All you have to do is pick a nice-looking young man, put on your sexiest voice, flutter your eyelashes and say: “Hi, there, I'm Lynne.”

“Hi there… I'm off,” tends to be the reaction as he flees through the body jam and leaves a nice little space at the bar.

I watched as the barman compiled a non-alcoholic cocktail. The layer of mint leaves on top of the raspberry juice was, he said, supposed to keep the two liquids apart. He began to pour the crucial orange juice on top.

“It never works,” he says glumly as the mint leaves collapse under the strain.

The music is so loud it feels as if I have two hearts thumping with different rhythms. I can't hear what anyone is saying and I'm beginning to understand why no one wears a coat. A heat haze quivers over the seething mass of revellers.

The girls propel me safely to a staircase and, at the top there is a quantum of solace. It is quiet and comfy chairs are available. So why, I wonder, is everyone crammed together downstairs?

We decide to move on to another bar. It must be getting on for 11 o'clock at night and I am feeling reckless. “Yes, let's move on to another bar… or even two,” I declare, feeling warm and sociable despite only drinking lime and soda.

There is a problem, however, our way out has been cut off by two pie-eyed young women who have accumulated (if that's the right word) at the top of the stairs. They are both crouched and facing west - as if in supplication to some unknown deity. While we were hoping to descend the stairs, the girls' male companions had clearly been hoping to get to the top of the flight.

"Move away from the stairs," they entreated but the girls appeared bereft of speech and movement.

Eventually the lads managed through persuasion and a bit of shoving, to move their dates' bottoms out of the way, thereby clearing the route and conforming to health and safety requirements.

They all seemed to be having a lovely time.

We make it out on to the street after performing a complicated "excuse me" operation. AS I forced my way through, my constant “excuse me” was met with smiles and nod. “You can't hear what I'm saying, can you?” I get another smile and a nod. “That shirt was a big mistake.” Smile and nod.

After negotiating the throng we head for the town's most lively night spots.

Picking our way around Pollock-like splatters of vomit, we find a bar where large TV screens are showing sport, a cohort of plastered girls in vodka overcoats are doing lord knows what and a woman wearing denim micro-shorts, high-heeled boots and a strappy top turns round to reveal her face is a decades older than her wardrobe.

It is an education… Where do you get those shorts, I wonder?

It was like the Biblical plague of locusts.

Son and girlfriend and daughter and boyfriend descended for Saturday lunch. To be fair, my daughter had called ahead: “Hi mum, have you got any food?” she asked lovingly.

Our answer would determine whether she joined us for lunch, of course. So we said yes, there was food.

In these times of economic uncertainty it is clear young people are constantly worried about where the next meal is coming from and I can exclusively reveal the answer is “mum's fridge”.

My correspondent Ron Longland from Clare read my list of hates and writes : “Hi, Lynne… I read your first 50 moans… Reading them I concluded that I must be coming out in sympathy since I agreed with so many of them. I even seem to experience hot flushes, or is that hot under the collar. Certainly they come on when I hear or read about bankers, chancellors and the loss of my savings. Perhaps a nice island in the Pacific will suffice, far away from political influences, at least until global warming floods it!”

And I was thrilled to get a letter from Jean Dickson, in Cardiff, Wales, about peas. “My husband worked as a sales agent… When he was working in Lancashire he stayed with a colleague who lived in Southport . They decided to get fish and chips and were horrified when the man in front of them in the queue was given a dripping ladle of mushy peas. The poor man said he had not asked for mushy peas and they reply was: “Don't worry, we will not charge for them.”

Thank you, Jean. Let that be a warning. It doesn't do to head north without a mushy pea policy.