Being an ex matelot, it goes without saying that I enjoy a drink. Not so much these days but certainly in my younger.
I remember once, long after I had left the Andrew and was doing some work in Salisbury for UK Provident/Friends Provident(during the takeover) and was getting ready to travel home for the weekend when something strange happened in the off license.
I was just about to order a six pack to drink on the train when suddenly I thought, "do you really want to drink on the train?" and my mental reply was "No".
Up until that moment in time, I had always associated trains with going home on leave (never thought about going BACK off leave) and so had become mentally conditioned to starting off with a six pack.
And as the train traveled through Wiltshire towards the Severn Tunnel, I was amazed had what I had done. I had got onto a train without a drink! Incredible. I was obviously changing.
Well where is this train of thought going now you are asking? Well it was supposed to have gone to this story here about the revolting Jacqui Smith's husband being unmasked as the author of a letter-writing campaign in support of her. I must confess I did wonder who could still support her after all her failings.
And looking at the above image, I also wondered if he supported her so vehemently because he loved her or because of the £40,000 she pays him each year out of our tax money.
Clearly he had been drinking on the day the photo was taken. In fact he was probably drunk when he met her and continues to drink to this day.
Boy is he in for a shock when he sobers up and realises to just what it is he is married. Father Jack sobering up and realising he is still on that "Fecking Island" springs to mind.
But back on the train, now going through the tunnel, I was thinking of all the scrapes drinking to excess had gotten me into all over the world and Our Country.
Gibraltar, Aden (thanks to Mad Mitch's boys I am still here to tell the tale), French Senegal, Singapore, Hong Kong and many more overseas places. No matter where in the world I was, drink always played a big part in my life or in some cases almost ending it.
Then after leaving the Navy and somehow making a success as an IT/Project Manager I continued to drink to excess. In the City with JP Morgan and SG Warburg it was work hard and play hard. And boy could the members of the Arbitrager play hard.
People that drink in here are free thinkers, loose cannons, rebels,...they don't fly straight, do things their way,..and they deffo don't follow the crowd,...they're a bit whooa,..a bit wheey,..geezers,..philosophers,..sharpshooters and go-getters Where better on a glorious summers day then, than downstairs at the Arbitrager,..where it looks like a cellar undergoing some extensive refurbishment. Get a Magners and a sweat on, admire the upended table and the impotent ceiling fans, and allow yourself to feel quietly satified.......Satisfied that you are in good company with like minded social retards,..and at least not outside the Smug and Lettuce or in a "Jamies", with the rest of the city lemming set.From John O'Groats to Lands End, there are not many towns or cities I have not worked and played in. And in all of them, drank to excess and done stupid things that I cannot write about. Well just one story that is not too bad.
In Cascais, Portugal where I lived in a rather Grand House paid for by mega expenses, I once took all the village dogs(about a dozen) that lived on the streets home with me at 0430 in the morning. Now these dogs were fed by the villagers and were they were very concerned the next morning when there was not a dog to be seen until late Sunday afternoon when I finally surfaced and gave them lunch before freeing them. I confess it was me.
And I regretted none of it until now. Now I think of how lucky I was to escape intact or almost intact. Half a dozen younger male friends dead because of drink, a dozen younger female friends dead because of drink.
But back in time, the train pulled into Newport Station and there were my friends with a car to pick me up as usual and a heavy weekend of drinking in front of us. Nothing bad would happen to us. We were immortal but where are they now?
So am I trying to say something? Well I am in around about way. Do not overindulge and let drink spoil your Christmas for you or your families.
Now for a nice hot whiskey to ease my throat and bugger the time. It's Christmas.