London summer is a coming. Glorious days (maybe three if we’re lucky this year) of afternoon picnics and general tomfoolery lie ahead.
Unless you live under a rock or…I don’t know…like have your life together or something you’ll no doubt be called to line up with your peers to take part in the oldest national tradition: getting shit faced in a park on a Saturday afternoon.
It’s something about the heady combination of sunshine and shops stocking those itty bitty cutsie tins of alcohol that look oh-so-cute but actually make you slur after two of them* that inevitably leads to a creation of a whatsapp group called “Bank Holiday picnic” where lofty plans are made to eat cous cous salad and maybe even barbecue some halloumi skewers when really you all know the only food you’ll be eating will be handfuls of crisps shoved into your mouth with a flat palm in between disposable pint cups filled to the brim with wine until you all inevitably wee in a public park and at least one of you sobs uncontrollably about nothing.
It’s a good day out.So if you’re planning to make the most of the London summer – here’s a guide to indulging without making an absolute prat of yourself.
Let me tell you a tale of woe from my early twenties when my boyfriend at the time had invited me and my two friends B and I to his mates 30th birthday party.
He was meeting us there so we decided to have some pre-party day drinks. Unfortunately we had only just opened the second bottle of wine when he texted us to say he was on his way and we needed to head to the party also.
Did we leave the untouched bottle of wine and head to the party?
No of course not. We downed it.
One bus ride and a gin in a tin each later and we barrelled into the party like a group of insane drunken buffalo to a sea of scathing 30 year old women wearing dresses from Karen Millen, sporting tasteful bob cuts and heels.
Having entirely misjudged the dress code, we were wearing scruffy all black ensembles complete with matching biker boots and looked vaguely homeless. Which we might have got away with if one of us, who shall remain nameless, had not started trying to make snow angels on the extremely non-snowy balcony whilst the other tried to herd her home.
Another of us (aka me) kept aggressively insisting she was sober to her nice kind boyfriend and called him ‘a boring bastard’ before falling asleep in the loo.
Choose your beverages wisely
The wine industry are a sneaky bunch. Somehow they’ve managed to convince an entire population of women that this drink that has an ABV of anywhere between 11.5 – 15% (compared to beer’s modest 5% ish) is not a potent concoction designed to be enjoyed slowly with food but something to crack open at a picnic circa 11.55 am.
Combine this with the fact that wine of the pale pink variety tastes pretty much like a refreshing juice and is dangerously drinkable and you’ve got a disaster waiting to happen.
Hey guys, quick question for ya: what happens when you take three girls, five bottles of pink wine and a handful of shit sausage rolls from M&S?
Five cracking hangovers, four (thousand) drunk texts sent, three avoidable injuries, two passed out idiots and a sobbing girl in a kebab shop. (To the tune of 12 days of Christmas).
I’ve said it once and I’ve said it again: Don’t.drink.the.pink.wine. It tastes delicious like juice and it makes you mad, bad and slutty.
After one too many of the aforementioned incidents I hit upon the genius technique of adding fizzy water to my wine to slow down the degenerative process somewhat. That or having a soft drink between each alcoholic drink is quite honestly a genius move and is not ‘boring’. What’s boring is you having to go home at 6:30pm because you’ve been sick in the park and face planted into the cous cous salad no one wanted.
Line your stomach
Day drinking is tricky because, if you’re anything like me, once you’re on the booze bus you’re not too bothered about food until you suddenly find yourself hunting the nearest chip shop like a fucking predator.
Never mind that I started the day with a smug yoga class and an acai protein smoothie bowl. If wine is involved i’m ending the day with hot, buttery and potentially breaded carbohydrates and god help the person that tries to stand in my way.
Unless you’ve scheduled lunch into your day drinking plans, try and make sure you’ve lined your stomach. When it comes to day time boozing food is your friend and you’d be surprised just how much ordering in a few portions of chips can be the difference between a merry afternoon pub session and a day that goes down in history as “the incident” or “that time Janet went nuts”.
Know when to go home
The danger with day drinking is that you can completely lose track of time. There’s also a lot more hours to drink away which means that there’s a very real possibility that you could clock up circa 8 hours in the pub if you’re not careful.
Pacing yourself should help with this however if you fall in the ‘no willpower’ camp that so many of us do, knowing when to go home could be your saving grace.
If you’re struggling to pinpoint the exact moment you should call it a day here’s some handy guidelines.
You should call an uber if you’ve:
- Cried about an ex that dumped you five years ago
- Cried because you think your friend doesn’t like your other friend
- Cried and been unable to provide a reason for your crying
- Have fallen over your own foot
- Have missed the chair and fallen over thin air
- Have knocked over a drink
- Have drunk someone else’s drink and then been rude about it
- Have drunk someone else’s drink and then cried about it
- Have sat on the loo and muttered to yourself under your breath ‘come on…you’re alllllright’
- Have lost your bag/phone/wallet and loudly shouted about it only to find it in your pocket
- Have to shut one eye to look at your phone
- Have used said phone to a send a nonsensical text to whichever boy last pissed you off that you think makes you sound cool and aloof but actually just makes you sound like you have learning difficulties.
Make sure you don’t have any plans for that evening
Take it from my friend G (one of the aforementioned five girls at the ill-fated picnic) who drank all the pink wine and then had to go and interview a very posh rose company at a nearby food festival, trying to do anything serious when you’re a bottle of pink wine deep is impossible.
Just about the only thing you are capable of is face planting onto your bed only to awake with a start at 10pm with a cracking hangover to realise you’ve used a packet of quorn veggie sausages as a pillow.
Why oh, why does it always seem like the best idea to follow a day drinking session with social events that require you to be a nice, normal human.
Repeat after me: Do NOT go for a boozy afternoon picnic if you have evening plans that include:
- Dinner with your Christian godparents
- Dinner parties with your friends who don’t drink/are pregnant
- Dinner parties with your friends who just had a baby
- Dinner parties with grown up sensible friends and their friends called things like Jeremy and Joanna who work in consulting and have just bought a house
- First dates with scowling men in cable knitted jumpers
- Family dinners that require you to not shout ‘oh shut up, BORIS” at your conservative uncle
- Parties that your ex will be in attendance at
- Parties your ex will be in attendance at saying annoying things like ‘oh yah well my start up has actually taken off in quite a big way’ or ‘Pip and I have actually just put a down payment on a two bed in Wapping’
- Parties your ex will be in attendance at with his new girlfriend who looks like Kate Upton and says unacceptable things to you like ‘Oh dear would you like a glass of water’?
You know stuff like that. Stuff like that should be reserved for when you’re on your very best form. Not when you’re desperately stuffing in a gross cheese and onion Sainsbury’s pasty down your throat on the walk from the tube hoping it will somehow sober you up before you arrive. Despite the fact that it’s the equivalent of spitting on a forest fire.
The only thing to do after day drinking is to go home to your living room and watch love island with a pizza. Put nothing else on your agenda but this.