Christmas is finally over. You can now put those days of over indulging behind you, especially Christmas Day when we all seem to eat twice our body weight in turkey, mince pies and selection boxes.
I knew I would be so stuffed on Christmas day that I put wheels on the dining room chair so I could just push myself into the living room to watch Doctor Who!
Trouble is, one week later and we are at it again as we all see in the New Year. The only difference is that on top of all that food we tend to drink a little too much. Well we are Scottish after all!
I sometimes think that if Christmas time is all about giving then surely New Years’ Day is all about taking? Taking a drink that is! Yes Hogmanay and New Year are the only two days of the year when we are positively encouraged to get drunk.
“You’ll be having drink won’t you?”; “Go on, take a drink”; “C’mon just a wee dram”.
There is no avoiding the demon drink this time of year as it is part of our Scottish culture. Despite the recent clampdown on drink driving and cheap booze, Hogmanay and New Year is the time when all of Scotland has to live up to its global image and boy do we succeed.
But it’s a far cry from days gone by. I always remember sitting at my Granny’s window waiting for my Uncle, who lived with them, to come home from the pub on Hogmanay afternoon. Along with my brother we would sit there waiting to see just how drunk he would be.
There were three stages of drunkenness back then. Plain drunk, steaming and stocious!
Plain drunk was the first stage. This would involve a bit of a stagger but he would make it home quite safely before smothering my Granny in kisses and cuddles.
This was the loveable drunk Scotsman recognised and loved the whole world over, the one that would sing on the bus and tell all the women how beautiful they were.
The next stage was steaming. It took longer to get home and there would be no kisses and cuddles this time. The tell-tale signs that my Uncle was steaming was the continual use of the phrase “I’m awright”. He would say this before my Auntie even opened the door to let him in the house and then he would repeat it every few minutes as she ushered him into the bedroom and out of the sight of all the nieces and nephews who want to see their steaming Uncle.
Stocious was the worst state he could be in. It only took my Uncle one drink to get drunk, unfortunately it was number 10! After he lost count he became stocious. He would inevitably be late home because he could hardly walk.
He walked like someone who suddenly needed three legs to stay upright. He had become a human shopping trolley, the one with the dodgy wheel that couldn’t go in a straight line so getting home could take a very, very long time.
One image that is burned in my mind and makes me laugh every time I think of it is my stocious Uncle standing in the close trying to get his key in the door. It doesn’t sound funny until you see my Auntie standing at the other door waiting for him to realise he is trying to get into the wrong house!
When he finally got in the right house he probably wished his neighbour had let him in as my Auntie whacked him around the head with a dish towel and chucked him in the bedroom.
Later that night he would recover and along with my Auntie he would revert back to his loveable self and would regale all the children with funny stories before launching into a drunken sing-song with all my other Aunties and Uncles.
Drinking back then was more acceptable. Now you have to keep an eye on how drunk you are so that you don’t make a fool of yourself. With this in mind I have devised five tell tales signs that you are too drunk.
1. Drying your hands under a paper towel dispenser and wondering why there is no hot air coming out of it?
2. Trying to work out why you have a cigarette in your hand when you don’t smoke?
3. Struggling to get the door open even though people are telling you that it is a window and you are three floors up?
4. Talking to yourself when everyone at your table has long gone.
5. You take two steps backward for every three forward.
So take care this New Year and just remember this little saying if you are out partying. Beauty lies in the hands of the of the beer holder.