19 February 2012


Amy Winehouse - Murdered by alcohol
What is your relationship with alcohol? Has it changed? I have just returned from the local pub where I consumed four pints of foaming Tetley's bitter and now I am sitting at the computer keyboard with a bottle of Marston's "Double Drop" before I stagger up to bed. Hell, it's Saturday night - surely I'm allowed to go as wild as that! 

Alcohol can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Sometimes both. Years ago, my relationship with alcohol was not as comfortable and controlled as it is today. I hesitate to recount in detail my worst memories of booze. But there was blood, fighting, the police, sex, vandalism and twice I slept in prison cells. I am not proud of those times. Another me often surfaced when I was fuelled by alcohol. Many's the morning when I opened my eyes and remembered with horror the night before. 

I was thinking about our lovely daughter. She is so level-headed, living a busy life which is usually guided by her innate intelligence. And yet she has been enchanted by Bacchus. Alcohol has made her fall asleep with a pan of pasta burning away, fall asleep with a pizza in the oven, walk in front of a taxi, fall off her high heels and end up bruised like a prizefighter. Quite simply, alcohol could have already killed her.

In supermarkets there are aisles filled with wines from across the world, whiskies and whiskeys, beers and lagers. Our high streets and suburbs welcome licensed restaurants, public houses and wine bars. Alcohol is all around us.

The majority of  alcohol tragedies are never touched  upon by the media. And then of course there are the related health issues - obesity, liver problems, renal failures, diabetes, depression, falling over. We seem to turn a blind eye to it all.

How many instances of football hooliganism have involved alcohol? How many robberies? How many rapes? How many acts of vandalism? How many fatal car accidents? How many street fights? How many deaths through jumping into rivers? How many divorces? How many beatings? How many friendships broken because of angry words pumped up by alcohol? These statistics have not been recorded.

So I ask you again - What is your relationship with alcohol? The good and the bad. Come. Spill the beans.


  1. I have a take-it or leave-it relationship with alcohol and so does Tony. As we have grown older we have learnt to enjoy it more but I doubt we will ever be real drinkers. We find that not drinking is almost socially unexceptable !
    I have yet to surrender control and get "drunk" (yuk!!) and I'm sure that experience is what turned Tony off when he was young.

    Our children on the other hand both enjoy a drink but I hope that moderation is the name of the game most of the time. I think my hard working sensible SINGLE daughter parties more than my son but as both live away from home I don't exactly have my finger on the pulse ( though Facebook helps a little there !!)

  2. It's not called "demon run" for nothing...

  3. I couldn't afford to drink much when I was at university, and also didn't like to look silly, so only got drunk once, and that was it.

    I'd rather buy a book than booze.

    But I do enjoy a tiny* glass of Green Ginger wine or Harvey's Bristol Cream on a cold winter's evening as I'm cooking dinner.

    * I use my favourite glass with a frog on it and I've just measured it: 50 mls. Hope I don't sound too priggish.

  4. HELEN So you use Facebook for detective work? Glad to hear that you appear to have always been fully in control of drinking and have a healthy "take it or leave it" attitude to alcohol.
    RHYMES WITH... I heard the cops brought you home from "Hooters" bar again last week. And of course you have been barred from "The Cactus Rose Saloon". Ellie deserves a medal.
    KATHERINE I saw that frog glass in your kitchen and it actually measures 500ml! Seriously though, I admire your abstinence. Are your children equally as abstemious? I'm getting a whole new impression of Aussies and Kiwis now!

  5. A medium glass of vin rouge in the evening is my tipple. Alcohol was a major factor leading to divorce from first husband (his consumption, not mine!)Sadly, it was a major factor in Hugh's problems but the girls are pretty sensible.

  6. JENNY Thank you for sharing that. I hesitate to imagine the alcohol related troubles you had to deal with during your first marriage. Doesn't Kathy realise that doctors are meant to be the biggest lushes of all?

  7. Make mine a small one ....
    Seriously, I suppose my relationship while in England, was the usual one - often getting drunk during 6th form and university years, sometimes quite seriously so - i.e. waking up on someone's settee with no recollection of the previous night.
    But I now have a Mediterranean mind-set!! Seriously, the image and acceptance of over-usage of alcohol is quite different socially over here in Catalonia. In general. Obviously many young Catalan kids get drunk, or drugged, out of their minds , and there are alcoholics at all ages as everywhere, but something is different ... it would not be seen as "acceptable" for someone past their mid-20s to get drunk, nor is it necessary to drink when you go out. Many's the night friends have sat in a bar for hours on end sipping their glass of water, while yours truly slowly disappeared under the table ....
    ... may seem too civilised but most "adults" do seem to believe wine is only to be drunk with a meal, and a glass or so at most. Have actually seen people leaving un-finished bottles in a restaurant!

    Two more anecdotes; 1. my Catalan wife was bemused at a South Yorkshire barbecue to see my 14/15 year old cousins getting drunk and their parents accepting it (and getting tipsy themselves, of course!). Obviously 15 year old Catalans sneak a drink too, but wouldn't do it blatantly in front of their parents. And many's the teenager who would go out all night (Med timetables, till 6am) and still come home sober!

    2. Over here at a wedding reception it is quite traditional to have a "free bar" i.e. guests can drink anything, and as much as they like, for free, all night. Can you imagine anyone doing that in England without needing a hefty bank loan and a constant arrival of beer, and whisky, lorries?!!

  8. Pud...
    my mother was an alcoholic....it was by virtue of treating herself...self medicating for a long term anxiety condition....
    i drink.... sometimes to excess but am mindful of what could run in a family!

  9. Ok, back again. This time with the aim of answering the question! My relationship:-
    Nowadays, I do as many Catalans do and have one glass of red wine with lunch and dinner/supper (or tea for Yorkshire folk) most days. Or sometimes just a drop of wine, watered down with soda water.
    On a weekend we will often have a "vermouth" with soda before lunch.
    If Barça are on TV, the match will usually be accompanied with a tin of beer.
    And if I'm having a late night stuck at the computer screen, there may be the occasional whiskey for company:)
    Cheers :)

  10. Well, I was just never very good at drinking. Mostly I drove my friends around when they were tipsy. My two tries at getting drunk resulted in: 1st time, threw up in my very long hair. Yuck. 2nd time, ended up with my son (at 40). That turned out OK, but wasn't what I planned for my life. Luckily I have always been able to get silly without alcohol. I'm probably one of the very few people who grew up in my time who never took any kind of drugs either. I also never smoked, and I don't put slippery things (skis, skates) on my feet.

  11. No, YP, my kids are regular social drinkers. More so when they were under 23 - the boys seem to have learnt to put the brakes on these days. Nat's 21 next month: Hey ho, only two years to go...

  12. I don't drink much - it's not good for my diabetes and since I have found it easy not to drink, then I generally don't. My husband doesn't drink because he doesn't like the taste! - - so there's not booze in the house. I have a couple of glasses at Christmas and on holiday but I think I don't have that craving-booze gene, and I'm grateful for it! I have always been ridiculously sensible and sometimes I am not pleased with myself for this.

  13. A case of once poisoned, twice shy. Alcohol destabilises me and makes me extremely irritable, so I avoid it in order to stay married. Mr Pudding? From the first post of yours I read (about Barbara Hepworth), I asumed you were female. That is meant as a compliment - the sensitive and artistic nature of the post.


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