Would you like a cup of tea Withnail?

I learnt a very simple maths equation during an intimate supper for four a month ago; two bottles of champagne plus eight bottles of claret plus two bottles of port three fish-like friends minus a large steak and a cheese board equals a wobbly splendidred.

Now, it doesn’t take the brains of a professor to work out that particular equation – nor the next piece of elementary algebra;

One wobbly splendidred plus over exuberant dancing on a table equals a buggered ankle.

The morning after the night before arrived like an unruly fast train in a tunnel. The regular throbbing head and stinging eyes were joined by a foot that somehow felt like it had spent the night in the freezer whilst simultaneously being sadistically raked by the Devil’s hot claws. 

With the previous evenings alcohol still coursing through me, mixed with a side helping of bravado, I had a swift breakfast of paracetamol and water and sprang to my feet.  

The leap was easy but the landing was like a WWII spitfire pilot’s after an afternoon with David Niven on pink gins in the mess, then an energy sapping fight with the bosch, and back to Dover to land in a damaged plane. 

Like yesterday’s jumper, I lay crumpled on the floor. 

My ankle had swollen to the size of a grapefruit and deep bruising had started to appear. A chorus of people implored me to visit the quack but with an insouciant shrug I booked a squash court for a week’s time. 

The game of squash was swiftly cancelled when I discovered that walking down the stairs caused a searing pain. 

Drunken injuries are nothing to be proud of and they are all too common at university or on a heavy skiing trip. But now I am at the irreversible age of v-neck jumpers they tend to lose their humour. My bulbous ankle became an absolute hindrance, stopping all sporting activities for over a month and rendering me dance-less when music decided to grab my soul.

My injury, when in its nascent period of inflammation, also bestowed a creepy limp onto my gait. To the bystander I aged markedly – no sport meant more time dragging my clubbed foot to the boozer and to tell the truth I looked permanently drunk and sleazy.

The susceptibility to injury and a higher pain threshold of an inebriated chap are increased and one does tend to arise after a dinner party, even the tamest Tuesday feasts, covered in bruises, snicks, and the odd graze.

I do accept that dancing on a table and doing serious damage to oneself deserves no sympathy, but even the most Puritanical amongst us has tripped over and split a saliva gland – leading to its removal – on a night out…again perhaps just me.

No dear reader, I am a mere speck in the ocean, that we shall call The Reed, of sheer stupid inebriated injuries. 

The most dangerous malady known of, stared my dear old friend and glorious soak Bob. Bob was visiting chums in sunny Salcome Bay – at this point I must add that Bob has the erratic character of Basil Fawlty trapped in the body of Boris Johnson, and was stood on the sumptuous cliff-tops of Salcome at a barbecue. The barbecue raged into the night and Bob, ever the raconteur, was apparently mid way through a story when he suddenly fell silent. His exuberant ramblings replaced by a loud thud in the distance.

It eventually became clear that the old queen had, in the pitch black, walked over the fenceless cliff-tops and dropped onto the beach at least ten feet below. He was a lucky boy as he impossibly managed to land in between two spiky rocks but unlucky because he broke his back, punctured his liver, and cracked numerous ribs.

Bob walks pain free nowadays and is actually running the London marathon this year. He often tells his tale of failed flight, with a glass in hand, but more often than not well away from ledges! Bob’s girlfriend is equally accident prone, breaking her leg this summer when attempting to ride a child’s tricycle after a particularly rigorous supper. 

But neither is as stupid as my friend Dan, who, after one of my long birthday parties, managed to cut an artery in his hand with a knife. No, he wasn’t warding off a burglar or carving a lovers name into a tree – Dan was attempting to juggle with kitchen knives and managed to catch the sharp end!

Fools we are, survivors we are, and live to tell the tale we did (and note not ever in a car). 


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