I've always asserted that the best thing about food and drink is its ability to offer such an honest window into the many different cultures you experience on your travels. Whenever I visit somewhere new (or familiar!), I insist on trying the local foods, beers and spirits - sometimes you end up with something questionable, but it's always fascinating and inspiring.
I woke up this morning to the nice newsreader lad on the telly informing me that you'd decided we should all stop drinking for two days a week, due to new guidelines you'd had a go at making. I waited eagerly for the second part of your plan. I waited and waited. But that was it. That was your idea. Just don't drink.
Years ago we had a cocktail party which one friend still refers to as The Lost Weekend. Our errors were threefold. First, we had forgotten that in our parents' generation, such parties lasted only a couple of hours and then people would sensibly go out for dinner. We made our guests drink cocktails all night.
London has been a great place to drink for many a year. This year, for me, it seemed even better than before. My favourite watering holes continued to please while a handful of bars and pubs new or otherwise previously unknown to me caught my attention with great service, comfy digs and - most importantly - quality quaffs.
Let's be clear. The worst thing about this time of year isn't sh*t gifts, it's not the midnight-on-New-Years texting your ex from the disabled bog you used to shag in, sobbing as Auld Lang Syne roars through two inches of wooden door you've locked to hide behind... It's the insufferable Facebook statuses that follow in the days between.
The general expectation is that you will drink every night from now until 1 January. Forget weight loss, your health, or waking up with a clear head. You are going to enjoy yourself whether you like it or not. But instead of diving headfirst into a vat of mulled wine, emerging only to unforgivably insult your boss at the Christmas party, why not get started on the New Year's resolutions?
In 1950, Brits drank an average of 3.9 litres of pure alcohol per person. Then, in 1960, it begins to creep upward. The upward trajectory ends in 1980, but that turns out to be temporary. By the late 1990s consumption is rising rapidly again. Come Peak Booze, in 2004, we were drinking 9.5 litres of alcohol per person - the equivalent of more than 100 bottles of wine.
When the British Fashion Council announced London Fashion Week would be moving to Brewer Street, I have to confess I was secretly chuffed. Although Somerset House is iconic - far more attractive than an old, converted car park - it never provided the most palatable offering of eateries and brew houses to see me through the five-day stint...