When I rule the world... hic

There is a time of night – it’s earlier than it used to be – when the conversation turns philosophical.

You have some friends over; have a couple of drinks, a bit of supper, a couple more drinks and suddenly, ruling the world seems ridiculously simple.

These days none of us (that’s me, my husband and a cabal of significant bottle bank investors) drink the way we used to. My current alcohol intake amounts to between two and three units a week –and before you ask, that is not industrial units.

It isn’t choice – I like red wine and then, in order, champagne, pink wine, white wine, ale, Italian beer, dessert wine, Southern Comfort, Calvados and Armagnac. Not all on the same night, of course.

But menopause, which has already wrought havoc with my waistline, memory, sex life, knees and sleep patterns has also ruined the pleasure of drinking.


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What used to be a mild hangover is now more of a near-death experience – dehydration so bad your tongue has to be prised off the roof of your mouth with WD40; acid indigestion that burns a hole in your cardigan and a head-ache that competes with the end of the 1812 Overture for percussive intensity.

But the knock-on effect of not getting a bit tipsy is that you rarely get those perspicacious late-night exchanges when everyone has an idea that will save the planet. They usually begin: “I know, I know, why don’t they…” and are received with total awe by all those present and a bit plastered.

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There are attempts to shake one’s head in admiration but this usually brings on a bout of dizziness and so a care-fully slurred valedictory is pronounced.

“You are so right. I don’t know why the Government hasn’t thought of that. I’s brill-yant.” Optional hic.

And even the morning after, the idea of creating new penal colonies in orbiting space stations seems sensible. Hav-ing them policed by Klingons is, maybe, a bit silly but nonetheless…

These days another cup of coffee (decaff to prevent hyperactivity) and a collective attempt at the Saturday quiz in the newspaper is about as flighty as we get after supper and a small glass of sherry.

On Easter Saturday our best friends came for supper and, rather than dozing off at about 10pm, we decided to wait up until after midnight so that Jane could eat chocolate. She gave it up for Lent and I had unkindly waved a post-prandial Green & Blacks mint inside her 12-metre exclusion zone. We thought it better to talk her through the withdrawal pangs until 12.01am.

And so we spent a happy hour or two remembering the old days – the icy weekend in Amsterdam when we were so amazed by the red light district we had to go back and have another look at it; the unforgettable discovery that the Dutch word for whipped cream is slagroom, and the temporary deafness brought on by the firecracker explo-sion at Chinese New Year.

We decided we simply must do it again.

Only this time with added ibuprofen, moisturiser, comfy shoes, HRT, sweeteners and extra slagroom.

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